The clothing store J. Crew released an ad this week that featured the company’s president and creative director Jenna Lyons painting the toenails of her son Beckett. The text read: "Saturday with Jenna: Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon."
Needless to say, the wingnuts went ballistic and attacked J. Crew for allegedly distorting gender roles – which presumably will turn kids gay or transgender. Erin Brown of the right-wing Media Research Center called the ad "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children."
FOX commentator Dr. Keith Albow chimed with this “brilliant” nugget of advice:
“Yeah, well, it may be fun and games now, Jenna, but at least put some money aside for psychotherapy for the kid—and maybe a little for others who’ll be affected by your ‘innocent’ pleasure."
Not only are Dr. Albow and Ms. Brown pandering to outmoded stereotypes about gender roles, gender identitiy, and sexual orientation, but the implication is that only heteronormative children deserve to be celebrated. This is ridiculous -- all children deserve to be celebrated, whatever color they choose to paint their toenails. Furthermore, Dr. Jack Drescher, a respected New York City psychiatrist, disputed claims that toenail painting will influence a child’s sexuality. He says that sexual orientation comes from deep inside a person, not from superficial outside influences like toenail polish.
Clearly, anti-gay forces are gearing up to exploit this situation and sexualize this innocent ad for political gain. In their zeal to recreate their mythical version of 1950’s America, they will no doubt savage J. Crew and flood the company with e-mails demanding that they dump the ad.
Let’s not let the voices of religious extremism and cultural rigidity be the only ones heard by J. Crew. Please sign our petition today thanking J. Crew for the company’s willingness to publish this fine ad. Let this company know that their real customer-base is not closed-minded bigots, but forward-thinking progressives who don’t agree with self-righteous scolds like Dr. Keith Albow.
Unfortunately, the voices of extremism and intolerance are attacking Jenna and Beckett in an effort to sexualize this innocent ad for political gain. Please do not give in to the demands of narrow-minded people who are likely not even part of your customer base.
I would like you to know that I, and thousands of other enlightened people across the globe, stand with Jenna and Beckett and offer our full support. All children deserve to be celebrated, whatever color they choose to paint their toenails. We simply cannot give into the loud demands and backward thinking of those who would exploit this ad for nefarious ends.
Thank you again for publishing this terrific ad. I hope this letter offers strength and support in this unfortunate time of irrational attacks and “conservative correctness.” While extremists are taking the opportunity to dress you down, please know that I, and many others, are more likely to dress up in J. Crew clothes as a result of this ad.