By: Dani Langevin, Lesbian Columnist – May, 2011
Paint a boy’s toenails pink and the whole world as we know it is going to implode. Recently, J. Crew posted an ad showing their creative director Jenna Lyons and her 5-year-old son Beckett whose toenails she painted pink. You’d have thought she put him in a tutu, gave him botox injections and had him singing show tunes. I can’t believe the wrath of angry tweets and online comments that followed some of which were downright frightening and archaic at best.
There was a scathing and unfounded commentary made by psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow who went on a tirade about how encouraging children to act in ways outside their assigned gender will, “. . . throw our species into real psychological turmoil-not to mention crowding operating rooms with procedures to grotesquely amputate our body parts.” Wow! He pushed it even further by suggesting that, if we accept this, Caucasians will begin to tattoo their entire bodies with dark ink and claim African descent or African Americans will do just the opposite. Dr. Ablow does not back up his claims with any kind of research. He simply rants and raves about, “. . . homogenizing males and females,” and their, “. . . psychological sterilization.”
Oh, wait, it gets better. A writer on usconstitution.gather.com who goes by the name Patriotic S. said, “. . . what this jacked up media land doesn’t get are there are people/kids out there who are totally NOT gay at all, but because they are seeing this so much everywhere they turn. If he (Beckett) wasn’t gay before he sure will be now if painting his nails pink continues.” Really? Heterosexuality was everywhere in the media when I was growing up. My mother had to fight with me daily to where a dress to school at least once or twice a week and I still turned out gay rather than heterosexual. I dressed my daughter in jeans and flannel shirts when she was a toddler and she can’t buy enough flip-flops, sundresses or handbags to save her life now.
The most frightening comments came from a group that calls themselves White Pride World Wide.
I warn you these comments are offensive and born of extreme hate and ignorance. One of their followers wrote, “No wonder whites grow up too afraid to defend themselves against encroaching muds.” Another wrote, “Kick over the rock that houses the person who dreamed up the advert and I guarantee that you’ll find either a Jew, liberal self-hating White, or a queer.”
Thankfully, there were some voices of reason like. “Most research on gender identity and sexual orientation concludes that neither is a choice.” This came from the Williams Institute at UCLA that focuses on lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender issues. Dr. Jack Drescher who serves on the American Psychiatric Association’s committee that is addressing sexual and gender disorder states, “I can say with 100 percent certainty that a mother painting her children’s toenails pink does not cause trangenderism or homosexuality.”
How disappointing. I was going to start handing out pink nail polish to all incoming pre-schoolers.