Fox News today became the latest right-wing organization to attack J. Crew President Jenna Lyons for the online catalog spread (photo above) of her playing with her young son Beckett, and painting his toenails pink — a shade she says in the piece is his favorite color. “Lucky for me,” the copy reads, “I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.” Last week, ultra-right wing media watchdog, the Culture And Media Institute, wrote a piece criticizing Lyons and J. Crew, titled, inappropriately, “J.CREW Pushes Transgendered Child Propaganda.”
If boys choose to wear nail polish the extreme religious and conservative right-wing media have no more business dictating whether or not boys should wear nail polish than they do the color — and both Fox News and the Culture And Media Institute are doing just that.
Fox News professes to be a “fair and balanced” “news” organization, so reporting on a story should not include statements in a piece mis-titled, “J. Crew Plants the Seeds for Gender Identity.” The piece, by Glenn Beck co-author and former Fox News host Dr. Keith Ablow offensively states, “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. Ablow has a high-profile psychiatric practice, so it is unprofessional and inappropriate to “diagnose” a person — or their parenting — without having ever met them.
Calling Lyons’ actions, “psychological sterilization,” Ablow continues in his blatantly critical manner, writing, “This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity—homogenizing males and females.”
“The fallout is already being seen,” Ablow “warns,” saying, ”Increasingly, girls show none of the reticence they once did to engage in early sexual relationships with boys. That may be a good thing from the standpoint of gender equality, but it could be a bad thing since there is no longer the same typically “feminine” brake on such behavior.”
Lost on Ablow is the teaching of respect. One is forced to wonder if Ablow has children of his own, and if Ablow is aware that teenage pregnancy — now that the government is no longer funding abstinence-only education — has declined.
But perhaps worse than misguided, ignorant pop-psychology is the strident attack by the Culture And Media Institute (CMI), an organization whose board includes conservative activist L. Brent Bozell III — also a Fox News contributor, and also a member of the board of the Catholic League, which made news today as well.
(Why is the Catholic League in bed with Fox News?)
First, it should be noted to CMI that the word is “transgender,” not “transgendered.”
Second, CMI should know that J. Crew also sells men’s and children’s clothing, contrary to their description which states, “Women’s clothing company highlights pink nail-polish wearing boy in promotional email.”
Third, it should be noted that painting a boy’s toenails will not make him transgender.
The piece claims that, “Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow.” It adds, “Jenna’s indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future. J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the façade of liberal, transgendered identity politics. One has to wonder what young boys in pink nail polish has to do with selling women’s clothing.”
Actually, no, one need not “wonder what young boys in pink nail polish has to do with selling women’s clothing.”
J. Crew is the quintessential lifestyle retailer. What will “make life hard for the boy in the future” is attacks like the one which CMI is promulgating.
If Jenna Lyons, an extremely successful woman (who, at last report, according to Forbes, has an annual salary of $725,000, and total compensation for 2009 of $4,266,703,) and if her boy likes pink and wants to paint his toenails that color, what’s to stop him, except the bigotry of media whores like Keith Ablow and L. Brent Bozell III?
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