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J. Crew and the boy with pink nail polish

The ad as shown in Ms. Magazine

I’d heard a few references to some flap about J. Crew and toenail painting, but hadn’t paid much attention until Jon Stewart brought it up on his show tonight.

It seems the ad shows a woman having fun in a toenail painting session with her son. And conservative critics are aghast over this depiction of a woman trying a despicable bit of gender bending with her son. Ms. Magazine came back with guns blazing.

As it happened I found the Ms. article first, and this picture accompanied it. Silly, I thought. Such an innocuous picture. Mother and son obviously having fun. For all I can tell, he painted his nails himself. (Would that be more or less ominous than his mother doing it?) The article got a bit tiresome after a while, but you’d expect that from a bastion of feminism.

Then I followed the Ms. link to Fox News and its column by Dr. Keith Ablow. The doctor is off the wall with some of his assertions about the impending destruction of our society by women like this mother (that’s her real life son with her). The Fox article shows a bit more of the ad but still not the whole thing.

The two articles are at opposite extremes in their takes on the ad, to the point that I was discounting both. A perfectly innocent ad, it seemed, being ripped apart by homophobes and defended by feminists. Then I dug up the entire ad. And now all I can say is … I wouldn’t have run the ad. It’s not as bad as Dr. Ablow painted it, nor is it as innocent as Ms. depicted it. Maybe J. Crew was trying for “edgy,” but I think what they got was “strange.”

2 Comments »

  1. When my friend’s husband broke his ankle and had to get a cast, he painted his toenails. Blue, I think. And I’ve seen plenty of men getting pedicures, but without polish. Frankly, I think if more men took care of their feet, the world would be a much more beautiful place. I mean, let’s be honest. Most men have mediocre feet made ugly by calluses, corns, nail fungus, and other forms of what I refer to as “grode.” Given how many also wear flip-flops… Yeah. No. No problem with a mother painting her son’s toenails. Pink, even.

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." ~ Mark Twain

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