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Pink Toes

Updated on July 19, 2011

The company: J. Crew (Yawn, not my favorite store.)

The color in question: Pink (Yawn, not my favorite color.)

The issue: parental liberty (Hello! You've got my attention.)

If you don't know this story, then you must not get your world information from network media, congratulations! But if you do know this story, (and I first saw it on The Daily Show), I bet you took a side right away. I did. The picture is of J. Crew Creative Director Jenna Lyons and her 5 year old son. They are sharing a laugh and she is holding his painted piggies. The picture is adorable, the child and mother are so sweet. She remarks that she's lucky her son's favorite color is pink. Quirky? Yes. Irresponsible? Not at all.

It's doubtful that Jenna Lyons is some branding mastermind who cooked up this scheme, involving her young son, to stir the pot of media backlash. I think she was just sharing her delightful little moment with her son with her J. Crew newsletter subscribers. Had the former been the case, this picture would have been slathered on billboards all over the red states, but instead it was emailed to a few hundred people who probably didn't open it up anyway. It was hard to even find the original url for the picture so I gave up looking. So screw the people out there who say she's exploiting her son. If you think she exploitive, you should check out my kids' albums on FB... I am fully aware that my kids will put me in a nursing home before my time.

Moving right along to the next issue: Jenna is ruining her son by turning him gay with his pink toenail polish. Please think about that. It's 2011, right? We have 5 states plus a national capital and a native American tribe that grant same-sex marriage licenses. Homosexual individuals, who are so inclined, can pick up a weapon and run into battle. If all that is true, why do some people refuse to believe certain truths about homosexuality? Pink toenail polish + 5 year old boy doesn't = homosexuality. That's not how that works. People should know that... I'm baffled how people don't know that. Also (1.) Gay sons haven't been "ruined," they are fully functioning humans with bank accounts. (2.) 5 year olds don't understand their own sexuality, nor should they. A young boy wanting to paint his toe nails (any color, for that matter) is simply doing what he thinks is good fun. "Mama paints her toes and she's pretty cool, I want to paint my toes too!" Could have been the conversation immediately preceding the act.

Then there is this one about Jenna propagandizing transgendered children. I'm sure J. Crew weekend outfits were not made for the transgendered toddler set. That being said, what is so wrong with children stepping out of their traditional gender roles? It's completely acceptable for girls to be tomboys. No one ever told me that my short hair and my love of kickball was offensive. I think we encourage our girls, in this country, to be as manly as much as we encourage them to be girly. Many parents are choosing to raise their children to believe in gender equality. So when girls are given the green light for muddy jeans and a t-shirt, are we not sending the wrong message by not allowing boys some of the looks attributed to girls? I think so.

I will tell you though, the reason why this story held my attention for so long was the fact that not one person who is blasting Jenna has commented on how present she is with her child at the moment this picture was taken. I see laughter, I see eye contact, I see love. I see parents at my store, or out grocery shopping or in the mall, constantly, who seem like they live on different planets from their kids. They've got their eyes on everything else in the world, but not on their kids. So many kids are starving for their parents attention. So when I see a parent who is really present with their child it warms my heart. That's why my knickers are in a bunch.

Now the mostly right wing talking heads are frowning on Jenna for her "indulgence." They have an opinion on her child raising skills and thinks she should do it differently. These knuckleheads are the same people who are butt-hurt over restrictions of sugary drinks for kids, calling the ban communism, that they should have the only say in their kids' diet and that no one should have the right to dictate parenting to them. ... Given the choice between what I think is worse for your kids: nail polish or soda... I'm going with soda. Nail polish easily comes off, diabetes, not so much.

This is such a non-story. I've said this a million times, I hate the media (not just foxnews) for being such chicken hawks over the slightest hint of controversy. Never mind saying Jenna is exploiting her son, the media is exploiting him. They are sharks in the water. You can't believe a word they say. These are the same people who constantly barrage you with teasers for the next deathly threat that you must stay tuned to see. I used to think, "Oh Gosh, 5 dangerous things your teenager is doing right now! I better not turn the channel, I might miss something important about my nonteenager!" The media is like those annoying FB messages that line up on the right side of your screen. I keep watching and the message turns out to be ridiculous and I am left huffing and puffing on the couch, thoroughly unsatisfied [insert sex joke here].

Right away I decided to take up this cause, even though I am currently over-caused this month, what with Autism Awareness month and Earth Day. I briefly considered painting my piggies pink, blue, and green. I almost didn't get the shot I wanted too, because it took alot of convincing for John. He was concerned, not about his own toes, but those of our 6 year old son, Jayden. I told Jayden why Mama and Delaney's toes were pink. He said, "I don't want MY toes pink." I told him that was ok, and of course it was his choice. But when he asked me why and I said, "well, because I want to show this boy's Mama some support because people are being mean to her for no good reason," he said he'd do it right away. No argument and, in fact, he was super concerned about not smudging the paint. John, however, was afraid he was going to be picked on. I said, "By who? Who's seeing his toes right now? It's April Vacation." Look, if this was Jayden's thing, if the spirit moved him to take up nail polishing one day, I wouldn't stand in his way, I'd tell him to make a choice and be proud of himself. But the fact is that he's only doing it to show family solidarity, and I think that's pretty awesome. John couldn't not go ahead with it then. So we painted our nails and we took a family picture. Let it be known that painting the toes of my male family members did not have a mind altering affect. Jayden still loves T-Rex's and John still appreciates big boobs.


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    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      6 years ago from trailer in the country

      You are right about how much children need their parents to be "there" in the moment. Wish I could redo my years of parenting...knowing how important it is for a kid to have eye contact and see their mom smile.


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