J. Crew Ad Features Boy In Pink Toenails

Jim Burroway

April 12th, 2011

Fox News points to this ad, and Exodus International President Alan Chambers sees another potential gay-identified activist in the making.

By the way, the Fox News piece is by Keith Ablow, who co-wrote a book with Glenn Beck about parenting. Many have suggested that the cover art to that book, on first blush to those who don’t recognize the two, can easily be mistaken for portraying some gender-nonconforming issues of its own. Makes devoting an entire op-ed to a single photo look kinda silly, doesn’t it?


April 12th, 2011

Wow, that may be the most ignorant article I’ve seen on FoxNews, and that’s saying something.

My son is 20 months old and loves loves loves Abby from Sesame Street, she’s a girl fairy with a wand and everything. He has an Abby t-shirt because he likes her so much.

Does it really matter that he likes a character that was designed to cater to little girls? Really?


April 12th, 2011

Seriously? My son loved having his toenails painted when he was little. Took (GASP!) ballet and tap dance, too. And somehow, I failed to make him either gender confused or gay.

The gay agenda fails yet again!

Timothy (TRiG)

April 12th, 2011

“Does this cross the line?” Which line do they imagine it’s crossing. If any lines have been crossed, it’s Fox doing the crossing. Lines of decency.



April 12th, 2011

Interesting news item beneath the article (which ends with a challenge to accept boys with guns, etc.):

“Man nearly decapitates girlfriend in fight”.

Oh yes, please enforce those gender stereotypes, and tell men that they aren’t men unless they shun vulnerability, emotionality, self-expression. Because that’s SUPERhealthy.

The rest of the article is pretty grotesque – not only in its call to arms to enforce a certain perception of gender-based norms, but also to tell parents how to parent, regardless of the relationship between the parent and that child, or the needs & personality of the child.

By the way — almost every guy I’ve ever known who has painted his toenails was straight. Consciously, deliberately straight. As in “I wondered about being gay, but I’m not attracted to guys, so i date women”. (This contrasts to the “don’t tell my wife I’m screwing guys” legions that are out there).

Wow. Guys who know who they are. Sounds like Armageddon to me !!


April 12th, 2011

My sis-in-law, a generally open-minded person with close gay and trans friends, was freakishly committed to preventing pink from entering her infant son’s immediate environment.

To her credit, she came around by the time he was 15 months old, and had become an unabashed, over-the-top fan of anything pink, especially neon shades. He’s four now, and that hasn’t changed.

That’s what I think about when anti-gay folks overreact to pink and boys… be careful what you ask for, folks!

Call me a cynic, but I don’t imagine Fox or Chambers noticing this ad if the toes had been painted with soccer balls, green/black camouflage themes, or snakes and frogs.

Lindoro Almaviva

April 12th, 2011

I would like these idiots say something to Chuck Liddell who on a weekly basis has his toe nails painted in a ritual with his daughters.

Priya Lynn

April 12th, 2011

Its my understanding that in the late 1800s/early 1900s it was commonly accepted that pink was for boys and blue was for girls.

enough already

April 12th, 2011

The fact that these morons freak out makes clear that their concept of masculine/feminine behavior is not based on reality, but on their silly notions.

I, personally, am not a big fan of much more than soap and water. But many of my straight European friends who are men spend at least as much on “beauty” products, spas and clinics as any woman.

More, actually, as products aimed at “men’s beauty needs” here in Europe are often more expensive than those for women.


Mihangel apYrs

April 12th, 2011

depending how old your son is, there’s still hope if you send him to gay boot camp, that should fag him up a bit. If too i=old, then he’s a lost cause and all you can do is disown him in disgrace.

Enough Already: I’m much the same (possibly generational in my case). I’m in and out of the shower etc in about 10 minutes. Some of my younger friends are in there half an hour! (NO, fuck! your hair is perfect! You don’t need more moisturiser. You’re perfect as you are. THE PLANE LEAVES IN AN HOUR AND WE STILL HAVE TO GET TO THE AIRPORT…….


April 13th, 2011

Oh, the HORROR!


With all the stuff going on in the world, THIS is what people are concerned about, a kid with pink toenails?

Is the kid happy? Yes? That’s all I need to know.


April 13th, 2011

Oh, please.

As a boy I loved trucks and tonka toys and trains and legos and rolling in the mud and…boys. Most ‘specially rolling in the mud with boys. My sister who loved dolls and frilly clothes is lesbian. The other sister who could tomboy it with the best of ’em has two kids and a nice husband. So much for stereotypes or environment influencing sexual identity.

They just need to get over it.

enough already

April 13th, 2011

Ah, ZRAinSWVA, but that’s the whole problem, isn’t it?
How can the girls learn to be submissive to the men and accept their roles as brood mares if they once taste freedom?
And how can the boys grow up to hate the queer community if they learn that men don’t have to all wear buzz cuts, polyester suits and ‘power ties.’

Goodness, how unChristian. How unAmerican to be creative.


April 13th, 2011

Well, someone’s in a full gender panic over at FN – what’s the matter Dr. Ablow, feeling a bit inadequate?

Apparently he is unfamiliar with the developmental literature that indicates rigid enforcement of gender roles, particularly in children who don’t naturally conform, is actually detrimental. He’s too worried we won’t have an army anymore if guys aren’t forced to be “strong.”

Richard Rush

April 13th, 2011

Among intelligent people with well-prioritized substantive concerns, wouldn’t you expect a boy’s pink toenails to NOT register as a problem requiring their attention?

And, Priya Lynn is correct. Just do a web search with the terms, “girls pink boys blue.”

So often the argument we hear for maintaining a status quo distills down to nothing more than “that’s the way it’s always been,” which, of course, really means they have no substantive argument. But, to be more accurate, the argument really distills down to, “I NEED to believe that’s the way it’s always been (which makes it right) because studying history might challenge my beliefs, and that would be upsetting. Remember, it’s all about ME being comfortable and anxiety-free.”

Timothy Kincaid

April 13th, 2011

Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that #FF1493 is for girls only?

enough already

April 13th, 2011

Um, actually, until fairly recently, red was the color for boys and blue the color for girls. Why these people get so upset about a mother bonding with her son is beyond me.

This is one of those things which show just how terrified those who oppose us are of losing their “masculinity”.

Seems to me that if you have to be that afraid of a little boy, then your masculinity is built on shifting sands.

Timothy Kincaid

April 13th, 2011


We live in a rapidly changing very insecure world. And those who are frightened by that need something to assure them that it will be all right. Some hold to a rigid rule-book type of religion, others to social structures with arbitrary rules, and some – like Ablow – to both.

It gives them security. There’s an implied contract that if I just follow all the rules then God (or karma or social convention or the godfather) will make sure that I’m OK.

Sometimes those who are, shall we say, less confident in their own reasoning abilities need to believe that someone or Someone out there has the answers that are so elusive. So with the world’s growing complexity, it should not surprise us that “my book says” has become so important to some who seek to shape society and public policy.

I’m – as you know – a Christian. So I’m not saying that this is behind all religious faith.

In fact, I see great wisdom in some of Paul’s writings when he talks about those who are spiritually immature (he referred to them as being on the milk of faith rather than the meat). Paul was more tolerant of them than I sometimes am, saying that when around the rules followers he will follow rules so as not to offend them. But he also said that he was no longer a child and had “put away childish things.”

And that is a pretty apt observation about the people desperately clinging to rules.

Because that’s what children do. They can’t understand conceptually why they should go to bed at a certain time or why they should brush their teeth, they just know that these are what Mommy requires. And sociologists tell us that kids thrive on rules and feel very insecure when they are not imposed.

And if you’ve every listened to children, much of their self-crafted play is about rules and boundaries. And before most grow out of it, kids tend to be fascists. (Maybe dominance and submission fetishes are some return to childhood?)

But, like Paul, we aren’t children. We know the reasons for bed times and when those rules don’t apply. We know how gender rules can be valuable and when they are oppressive. We recognize that overall the survival of humanity has at points relied on application of gender roles but that some no longer have value and that history is abundantly clear that humanity also required a small number of gender non-conformists.

But Ablow still needs the protection and comfort of rigid rules. He still needs his mommy (be it faith or foolish social convention) to make everything okay.

Rather than be mad at him, we should pity him. He lives in a world where the rigidity of orthodox and unchallenged religion and social convention that he relies on for his security are crumbling around him. It must be a very very scary place.

Richard Rush

April 13th, 2011


Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that #FF1493 is for girls only?

Not explicitly, but it’s reasonable to assume that some verses have been interpreted that way. However, we all know that #666 is definitely from Satan. So they should be thankful that the boy’s toenails are #FF1493 rather than #666. As you would expect, my hair is #666.


Timothy Kincaid

April 13th, 2011

In some communities that would serve as evidence of your pact with Satan. Me, I just relied on my certified copy of the contract.


enough already

April 13th, 2011

I don’t mind Ablow being in a scary place – I wish him all the terrors imaginable.
I do, however mind – very much mind, that his sick, twisted, perverted voice is given such airing.

The Democratic party has yet to grasp that by permitting our civil and human rights to be violated, they are making themselves vulnerable on all their flanks.

It’s all about civil rights. It’s all about our being human, not sub-human. Lincoln grasped this in the middle of the war. If we were better organized, perhaps we could better help the Democrats to understand it.


April 13th, 2011

I just wish I could add [citation needed] after most of his sentences. Wikipedia has a lot to teach our society.

Mark F.

April 13th, 2011

Nothing wrong with a boy painting his toenails pink (although it’s certainly not my cup of java), but my concern is that it might expose this young man to some cruel teasing or worse.


April 13th, 2011

The same prejudices were exposed and examined over forty years ago on shows like All in the Family and in other avenues of popular culture. As forward-looking parents began to give a little girl a toy carpenter tool set, or a little boy his first Easy Bake Oven, there were the same tired prejudices flung about from the intolerant right of the day. This isn’t new discourse, it’s merely being rebranded.

I wanted an Easy Bake Oven when I was a boy, I got the damn tool set. I have great hope for this and coming generations that they will finally grow up to be the people they are, rather than the people that tradition and prejudice say they should be.


April 14th, 2011

If every boy’s toenails were painted pink then no one could bully or single the other out.

Educational psychologists and theorists, such as Affrica Taylor comment on this phenomenon of adult’s over-investment in maintaining an illusion of childhood innocence:

2010: “The safe option is to uphold rather than trouble childhood innocence. However, in asserting that protectionism serves adults’ interests rather than children’s interests, it is not necessarily the most ethical option. It is particularly incumbent upon educators of young children to burst the bubble-wrap shield by joining in the efforts of many childhood studies and scholars to trouble innocence.”

I don’t have any children, but if I did I would probably consider nailpolish to be harmful.

Summarised from (re)marking heteronormativity:

Nuclear family discourses, discourses of sexualities as dangerous and risky, and discourses of childhood innocence and developmentalism can be mobilised as tools of injustice against homosexual-or-other persons.

The subtleties in the language used on the Fox”News” site indicates that this mother and son are departing from genuine emotion and genuine relationships – not to mention the completely irrational and false dichotomy of this statement that she is “encouraging the choosing of gender identity, rather than suggesting our children become comfortable with the ones that they got at birth”.


April 14th, 2011

lol – I got lost in thought in the middle there. Nailpolish = not harmful.

Richard Rush

April 14th, 2011

Nail polish IS harmful, but improvement seems to be on the way, though.

Then, if you go to remove it, you may double the harm.

But some things are as predictable as a sunrise: When browsing through the multitude of possible things to be concerned about, you can always count on the rulebook-clingers to fixate and obsess on the stupid stuff.

Rob in San Diego

April 14th, 2011

2 of my cousins and I use to dress up in our Grandmothers clothing, wigs, and jewelry, yet for some strange reason only I turned out to be gay. Of course I was already attracted to men at that early age of 4. For some reason that hidden gay agenda didn’t work on my cousins.

Timothy Kincaid

April 14th, 2011

If every boy’s toenails were painted pink then no one could bully or single the other out.


The solution is social conformity. The individualist won’t be bullied or singled out if everyone if does exactly the same.

(oh, wait, this is Ablow’s position)

Regan DuCasse

April 14th, 2011

Jon Stewart, of the Daily Show…once again called out the stupidity of the reaction to this in a hilarious way.
Especially at the end regarding a mixed arts fighter and HIS painted toenails!

You should be able to find it on YouTube. Enjoy!


April 14th, 2011

*giggle* yes, Tim.
It’s times like these when ‘what a man really is’ seems to be less about biology and more about a system of rigidly imposed sets of representations. And Fox confuses this distinction. Conformity for conformity’s sake.

At least the scales have fallen from our eyes.

& Thanks Rush – enjoyed those links ;)

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