Wednesday, April 13, 2011 • 10:45 AM Comments (6)

Neon Pink Polish Debate Rages On

posted by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Okay, I’ll bite.

While it’s almost (emphasis on not really) funny to see Fox News create a brouhaha simply by overreacting in the ways you’d expect to a simple—but creative, inspiring and yes, very cute—J. Crew ad about neon toenails being fun (in this case for a boygasp).

Why then is my response not to cheer so much as to sigh?


I mean, don’t get me wrong: my eldest sons loved the nail polish ritual, something shared with the eldest’s then-nail polish polishing godfather. Pretty nails went well with fairy wings and firefighter hats. Our household is nothing if not equal opportunity-minded when it comes to tot fashion (we are not alone).

Don't get me wrong; I'd rather have ads with pink-toed boys than the alternative.


I think sometimes I just hate the idea that every single time the popular culture veers the tiniest bit off-stereotype we have to mine the what if this makes the boys gay, what if you’re encouraging sissies types of arguments.

(How about that birth certificate? Was President Obama really born in Hawaii? Puh-leeze, but that’s where I go, just, sigh.).


Cheryl Kilodavis, whose lovely contribution to the boys-can-love-to-twirl-too canon My Princess Boy, has a wonderfully outspoken and together young son (subject of the book). On the Today Show, her husband is quoted saying of boys preferring the pretty, “It isn’t contagious.” Kilodavis said her older son remarked of the J. Crew ad, “That boy looks happy.”

Ah, reason.


Saskia, she chose purple (marker).

Comments (6)
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Thanks for the shout out! I feel like I always need to point out (despite this seemingly glaringly obvious) that it is almost next to impossible to force a kid to do something they do not want to do. That J. Crew kid is not having femininity forced on him, and anyone who thinks that clearly hasn't wrangled with a toddler in a while. I also am still trying to work out how his pink toes are the end of our society as we know it. sigh. As long as we continue the dialogue, then we're at least (hopefully) doing our part.

Posted by Avital on 4.13.11 at 11:14

So true, although I guess for a commercial one could force something one couldn't force in real life? Clearly, the pink toes are of enough import to fight for--for all.

Posted by Sarah B on 4.13.11 at 18:17

My husband's now deceased uncle used to enjoy having his toenails painted (with washable markers) by his many small grandchildren during summer family gatherings. He also let them decorate his clean underwear with fabric markers -- he said it cheered him up to wear them the following winter. Oy, maybe he was a closeted gay all along? Sheesh.

Posted by jzzy55 on 4.13.11 at 18:40

i feel like getting all my gay and transgendered friends together, paint their toe nails pink, then post a pix with the caption: my mom never painted MY toe nails and look how I turned out!

Posted by beth grace on 4.13.11 at 22:16

I would like you to do just that. I will share/tweet/blog it.

Posted by Sarah B on 4.13.11 at 22:29

I painted my nails pink yesterday- but well, I admit it, that had a lot more to do with procastination on my grant than anything else.

Posted by SarahH on 4.17.11 at 18:56



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