Thursday, April 14, 2011

Boy's Painted Toenails: Sweet or Scary?

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Is it just a cute advertisement depicting a mom hanging out with her son? Or is does it cross a line for a mom to paint her son's toenails neon pink?

An ad headlined "Saturday with Jenna: Quality Time," showing J.Crew executive Jenna Lyons playing with her 5-year-old son Beckett has sparked a controversy with watchdog media groups and parents, according to Fox News.

"Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink," Lyons says in the ad on J.Crew's website. "Toenail painting is way more fun in neon."

Media Research Center's Erin Brown writes in an opinion piece the ad is "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children."

"Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna's indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future," Brown writes. "J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics."

But parents and other experts say that at the end of the day, it's just a mom playing with her son and showing acceptance.

"I feel like the ad is very natural, very real," says Cheryl Kilodavis, author of children's book My Princess Boy, which was inspired by her own son who is partial to wearing dresses.

She tells "I love the fact that it shows a mom who is supporting her son. Maybe the little boy likes pink and likes his toenails painted. Is it harming anyone? Why does it have to be categorized as gender confusion? We just have to get to a place of acceptance."

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