Since Duncan’s favorite color is pink, I get pretty pissed when I see stories about the high-and-mighty going nuts because they mistake a color for a gender or sexual orientation.
The latest example is this J. Crew ad, where a mom is painting her son’s toe-nails hot pink:
People have been going absolutely crazy over this, suggesting that the boy will be scarred for life and need thousands of dollars of counseling when he gets older.
And then there’s the fear that — shudder — the kid will grow up to be gay. American society will decay around the edges, and we’ll all be dope-slapped for this on Judgement Day.
I always knew nail polish was nothing but trouble, a bottle of sin dropped on our laps by Satan himself.
Here are a few bullshit comments from an article in Yahoo’s Lookout blog:
“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,” Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a Fox News op-ed. “If you have no problem with the J. Crew ad, how about one in which a little boy models a sundress? What could possibly be the problem with that?”
Erin Brown of the Media Research Center took the criticism a step further — after being sure to remind readers that J. Crew is a fashion favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama — accusing the company of exploiting young Beckett to advance the cause of “liberal, transgendered identity politics.”
Good fucking grief.
There are more reasoned comments in that article, stuff that I agree with:
Sarah Manley, who set off a similar firestorm last Halloween after posting photos of her young son dressed up as his unconventional idol: Daphne from “Scooby Doo,” said of the J.Crew ad, “If the roles had been reversed and the photo…had been of a little girl playing in the mud with trucks, nobody would have batted an eye.”
You know what? she’s absolutely right, as is Jeanne Sager, who wrote the following on the parenting blog The Stir:
“So go back and look at that picture in the J.Crew ad, will you? What do you see? Do you see pink nail polish on a boy? Or do you see a little boy named Beckett, with beautiful blond curls, and a mom who looks like she is impossibly in love with her kid, in the very best way? Because that’s what I see.”
One Sunday, Duncan showed the school principal his coin pouch. “That’s an interesting color,” she said. The pouch was stuffed with coins Duncan couldn’t wait to put in the poor box.
I once asked Duncan why pink is his favorite color. His answer: “Because girls like pink. And I like girls.” Innocent words from a 7-year-old boy.
And yet there are those who try to tell me this is dangerous. He could grow up gay.
This is how you start a child down the path of social anxiety, pain and dysfunction. You take something as innocent as a color choice and start suggesting there’s something wrong with him.
When I was a kid, I got hassled over the more old-fashioned stuff, like being overweight. I also kept believing in Santa Clause longer than the other kids my age. Being fat meant being damaged, unworthy of the same respect everyone else got. In high school, I used to watch teachers belittle students who dressed like hippes. The kids were drug-injecting wastoids as far as some of the teachers were concerned. I knew some who were, but I knew others who were not.
Make a kid feel stupid over how they look or what they wear and after awhile they’re probably going to start believing they are damaged goods.
Don’t get me wrong. I think the pink fear crowd have their hearts in the right place. They just want children to be happy and grow into “normal” and happy adults.
But their thinking is flawed.
Here’s my take on the J. Crew ad: It looks like a typical fashion ad: over the top, depicting people with overly big smiles. But it’s harmless.
Hell, I remember painting my own finger nails red as a teenager because I wanted to look like people in the glam metal bands that were all the rage in the 1980s. It was harmless. And trust me, it did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for girls. I was having no luck with the opposite sex in high school, mind you, but nail polish had nothing to do with that.
As for Duncan, he can like whatever color he wants to like. If you have a problem with that, you can come talk to the boy’s ugly, still overweight Dad.
I’ll probably tell you you’re being shallow and judgemental. I might even tell you you’re being a dickhead.
You’ve been warned.