In a recent Los Angeles Times article, president of J. Crew Jenna Lyons received backlash for posing with her 5-year-old son, Beckett, and his freshly painted pink toenails.
The ad, meant to be an advertisement for J. Crew’s merchandise, instead caused a debate over how Lyons is raising her son. The problem many had with the ad is the supposed endorsement of transgendered or gender-neutral children. Many feared that this ad would encourage parents to raise their children without the gender stereotyping that our society has been built on.
The ad merely depicted a bonding moment between a mother and son. There was nothing suggesting that Lyons was putting her son’s gender identity in danger by painting his toenails. The fact that this simple act stirred so much attention makes one question exactly how accepting our country is of social change.
Plus it is nearly impossible to raise gender-neutral children without completely cutting them off from the rest of the world. Even if parents were to raise their child indifferent to their sex, their peers and other family members may not share the same beliefs and would continue to identify the child as either a boy or girl.
We live in a society where people immediately identify a child from birth as either a male or female.
Beckett will always have these influences from people for the rest of his life, there is nothing guiding him to suddenly want to become a woman.
In response to the ad, Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and contributor to Fox News, suggested the Lyons put aside money for future therapy for her son.
“This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” Ablow said.
Others saw right through Ablow’s argument. There are no results from studies say that these types of acts will have adverse effects on a child or make them question gender identity or sexual orientation later in life.
The true definition of gender neutrality is purely the banishing of sexual stereotypes for either masculine or feminine. The fact that Beckett likes the color pink does not mean that his sexuality will be affected as an adult. Sexual orientation and identity are not formed because of one practice or event. For a 5-year-old who is nowhere near puberty, there is doubt that his next step is going to be attempting to steal his mother’s high heels.