A friend texted yesterday and asked me if I heard about the J Crew controversy? I was oblivious, knee-deep in my work perfecting the ultimate yoga sequence to open the psoas. She quickly sent, “People are up in arms because they had an ad showing a mom painting her son’s toenails.” Huh? I bookmarked it in my brain, but considered it a non-issue. It’s just toenails after all, right? Even my son Will loves painting his toes “Thomas blue”, who could take issue with pedicures? Some of my favorite (and conservative) men in my life enjoy getting their toes cleaned up.
Despite me not thinking much of an ad the simply celebrates parents and kids (and really cute clothes BTW), apparently lots of people can’t seem to stop talking about it. Some even claim that Jenna Lyons is confusing her son and making his life more difficult. Thankfully some professionals have come out with an acknowledgement that this is simply not true. If my Mac wasn’t acting wonky I’d add some links, but I’m guessing you’ve read all the reports in the LA Times and Chicago Tribune, am I right?
Let’s all agree that toenail polish can’t make you change your gender or affect your sexual orientation. Trust me, just as much as all the blue in the world couldn’t make Hope feel like a boy, all the pink in the world won’t make Will feel like a girl. We feel the way we feel regardless of how exterior forces persuade us. The reality is that there are children right now being dressed in clothes that don’t feel right for their identified gender and they hate it. They are being forced to live a way they don’t feel is genuine and that is painful. I’ve seen it.
While I would love to thank J Crew for celebrating trans kids, I don’t really get that in this ad and frankly, I don’t have to. I see a mom and her child having fun and I love it. What I will express gratitude for is that Jenna Lyons (and J Crew) are courageous enough to depict real life through their work. Plain and simple.
Obviously J Crew struck a chord with some people. Hopefully this spark will ignite many conversations where minds can open, hearts can connect and understanding can grow. That’s the balance of life. Something happens that challenges how we view life and we take away from it what we need. Another day comes and another spark ignites.