In the past few years, J. Crew has managed to re-brand itself as a hip, contemporary clothing brand with vision and enterprise, and excellent taste to boot. Once a bland Polo Ralph Lauren Xerox, the company now sparkles, enough so that it caused a melee when it announced that it would be going private late last year.
But now the preppy brand is under fire for a new, much more interesting, reason, as Gawker points out: In an emailed advertisement sent out this weekend, the widely respected creative director Jenna Lyons -- an uncanny model of effortless cool and luxe bohemian appeal -- was shown with her son. His toenails were painted pink and there was a caption from Lyons saying: "Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon."
The horror. Now, some wackadoo, Dr. Keith Ablow has taken to the internet, specifically Fox News (duh!) to raise some concerns. Chiefly, if little boys wear toenail polish how will we tell them apart from little girls? Says Albow, "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 when the outcome of such 'psychological sterilization' [my word choice] is not known." Did you guys get that? We're so liberal we're morphing into one undistinguishable gender!
His little rant rages on including gems like: "Why should we hold dear anything with which we were born? What’s the benefit of non-fiction over fiction?" and our personal favorite: "These folks [J. Crew] are hostile to the gender distinctions that actually are part of the magnificent synergy that creates and sustains the human race." Albow is right. J. Crew and nail polish are two of the four horsemen signaling the apocalyptic end times (we'll get back to you on the other two)! No one will have sex anymore because J. Crew is making us all androgynous freaks with smooth, shiny plastic Barbie genitalia! The man is an effing genius! Give him a Nobel prize, quick.
The portrayal of Ms. Lyon's acceptance -- celebration, even -- of her son's interests (whether these be part of a fictionalized advertorial or not) is a indeed terrible, terrible indication of the times. Why, Jenna, why couldn't you have just beat him, called him a sissy and made him watch "G.I. Joe", like any other good parent? Now he's going to become transgendered monster. That poor, poor child (Actually, we feel no pity for that child because he happens to live in the world of Jenna Lyons which entails living in a Brooklyn abode that looks like this. No, we're actually jealous of her son. Even if we didn't want to paint our toenails pink, which we do, we would gladly pretend for the crown-molded glory of that brownstone. Gladly.).
Anyone else have any thoughts on these brilliant analyses of J. Crew's message of gender confusion and horrible parenting?