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Is It Psychologically Harmful to Paint Your Son's Toenails?

Is Painting Your Little Boy's Toenails Pink Harmful?

J.Crew President and Creative Director Jenna Lyons included a candid shot of her painting her toddler's toenails in the most recent J. Crew catalog. The only "problem"? Lyons's child is a boy, and some people are doing a lot of pearl clutching about it. To see what the critics are saying, just keep reading.

The Culture and Media Institute is actually calling the photo "Transgendered Child Propaganda," stating that "propaganda pushing the celebration of gender-confused boys wanting to dress and act like girls is a growing trend."

And in an article over at Fox News Health, Dr. Keith Ablow says the photo is "a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity—homogenizing males and females when the outcome of such 'psychological sterilization' is not known."


I'm just going to say it: these people's wrongheadedness is appalling. I wish we did live in a society that allowed its children to experiment with color and clothing however they wanted to without being judged. Since when has rigid conformity been a good environment for creativity and innovation? As a girl who got made fun of constantly for loving X-Men and Mad Magazine, I can tell you that the people who thought my preferences were "wrong" didn't go on to wild success and general happiness.

Above all, it's just nail polish. Color, and the application of it, is something humans have loved since prehistoric times. And until recently, men were way more into makeup than women (true story). There's nothing emasculating about letting your son dabble in fun colors. In fact, it lets him know that in the world of play, anything is possible. And that's exactly as it should be.

Join The Conversation
lezlo lezlo 6 years
I don't think anyone's identity or sexual orientation can be containted by how they were raised, what society thinks, or by the clothes and colors they wear. At the end of the day, some people are going to be straight, some are going to be gay, and some are going to be undefined but exciting. And at the end of the day you can put a woman in man's clothes or a man in woman's clothes- but that doesn't make them what they wear. Whether you are a man or woman, gay or straight, is defined by characteristics that run deeper than appearances. Who we are can certainly be expressed on the outisde but to get to know the person on the inside is going to take a bit more investigation. Just remind yourself, your child, and your critics that you aren't going to be afraid to be you. And if they are afraid of you then they better start running :D
dannysf dannysf 6 years
I think I may just paint my toenails pink this week in solidarity!
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 6 years
I used to paint my dad's toes with Magic Marker's in all shades, until one day he went to the store in flip flops and noticed each toe was a different shade. I think the question should be whether or not he asked for his toes to be painted pink. The issue was more about gender confusion due to his young age.
iamdaphneblake iamdaphneblake 6 years
Hot pink toenails rock! This Mom and her son both know it! I love all these comments where everyone is totally cool with it, it makes my heart happy to know that it really isn't a big deal! It's pink toenails!
bellazmom bellazmom 6 years
Oh, please! Don't people have anything better to worry about? My son is nearly six, and I paint his toenails two or three times a year. I have an extensive collection of colors, and, while he hasn't chosen pink (yet!), I see no problem with red, blue, or green. He knows he is a boy, but he likes to have polish on his toenails. Whoop-di-doo! I wish the people worried about this would find a hobby that doesn't involve bashing moms and kids. Really... Ms. Lyons, I think you and your son are just lovely.
bobbisgirl bobbisgirl 6 years
Dr. Keith Ablow ought to have his head examined! This is harmless PLAY. So what that it's neon pink nail polish (maybe it should've been clear??? wink wink...)? My brothers dressed up in dresses and played Barbies with me when they're little. Neither one of them "turned" gay because of it. FOX, quit worrying your silly little head, you're either born gay or you're not!!!
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 6 years
Onlysourcherry, I had to be roused with smelling salts after I fainted! I think this is just more FNC manufactured outrage. It seems like most people are reasonable enough to understand that pink nail polish won't really affect how a boy grows up. Hopefully this will get people to rethink rigid ideas of gender identity.
Jordan-Silver Jordan-Silver 6 years
there is so much wrong with fox news' commentary on this harmless ad. if anything, this ad is doing good for kids. gender norms are just a social construction. i'm glad to see so many other commenters agreeing with you on this.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
when i saw a boy with pink toenails, my monocle popped off my face and fell into my champagne glass. That poor child!
junebrug junebrug 6 years
That nail polish is going to have some kind of negative mental effect on a child is preposterous, however, when I saw the headline I was thinking this would be a toddler and who cares, it's fun. He looks like he's kindergartener age though and kids can be cruel. She may want to consider stopping it as he gets older, not because it's wrong in any way, but because the world is filled with fools who say things like this "propaganda pushing the celebration of gender-confused boys wanting to dress and act like girls is a growing trend" and the kid may suffer for it.
TurkishPeach TurkishPeach 6 years
It's not a big deal. The boy will find his identity as he gets older. He may come to a phase where nail polish is just not cool to wear at schoo
ItsGlisten17 ItsGlisten17 6 years
I've been reading comments by other people on other websites and the major problem seems to be with the nail polish rather than the color. I reminded them that ancient Egyptian men would have their nails dyed as well as many other cultures. Why must we have so much gender stereotyping?!
ItsGlisten17 ItsGlisten17 6 years
Wow they took things so out of proportion! She's having quality time with her little boy and it's no big deal. Colors are for everyone and so is nail polish.
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