So says the Media Research Center Network (tagline: “Advancing Truth and Virtue in the Public Square”). Apparently, J.Crew has offended their delicate sensibilities by sending out an e-mail that features, among other things (including 20% off online orders over $150! score!), a picture of designer Jenna Lyons painting her son Beckett’s toenails. The adjacent puff piece, titled “Saturday with Jenna” briefly mentions her affinity for bright pink nail polish. “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink,” she said. “Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”
(image via Feministe)
Naturally, an image of a boy doing a “girl’s thing” is morally bankrupt and an example of child exploitation. At least according to the Media Research Center:
J.CREW, a popular preppy woman’s clothing brand and favorite affordable line of first lady Michelle Obama, is targeting a new demographic – mothers of gender-confused young boys. At least, that’s the impression given by a new marketing piece that features blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children. … J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting [Lyons' son] Beckett behind the façade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.
First of all, the MRC must be paying its journalists well, because I certainly never thought of J.Crew as “affordable.” Also, I love how they threw in that Michelle Obama likes the brand. Clearly a sign of its liberal leanings!!!
So who cares if a J.Crew designer paints her son’s toes on a lazy Saturday afternoon? Oh right. No one. Well, no one except for eagle-eyed conservatives determined to protect our children from the liberal media’s assault on the gender binary. Except Lyons doesn’t say that Beckett is “gender-confused.” He just likes the color pink and, ostensibly, having his nails painted.
Furthermore, this was in a marketing email. So it was only sent to people signed up for the mailing list. The grand majority of people who saw this “exploitative” image were women in their 20s and 30s who have shopped online at jcrew.com. Even if this image had the potential to cause young boys to spontaneously decide they’d rather be girls (it’s that easy, right?), it lacks the demographic targeting of your average “propaganda” piece. On the other hand, gender bias and reinforcing stereotypes is rampant in advertising that’s actually directed at children. At Achilles Effect, one blogger made word clouds of ads for boys’ and girls’ toys. Here were the results:
So if you’re concerned that a picture in your inbox may turn your son into a drag queen, you need only point the young man to any/all commercials and print advertisements to set him straight. PUN INTENDED.