Boy with Pink Toenails in J Crew Ad Sets Off Wingnut Alarms

Jcrew

A J Crew ad featuring fashion designer Jenna Lyons painting her son's toenails pink because it is his favorite color has wingnuts on full alert, according to FOX News:

“This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity,” psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow wrote in a FoxNews.com Health column about the ad.

Media Research Center’s Erin Brown agreed, calling the ad “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 wrote in an opinion piece Friday.

"J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.”

J Crew declined to comment.

(via the daily wh.at)

Comments

  1. Grover Underwood says

    IF this boy does turn out to be transgendered, who do the wingnuts think is going to make his life difficult? THEY are! Anyway, what’s wrong with abandoning or at least challenging traditional gender identity? They need to go back to school and learn about the roles that women played during WW2 when women were forced to abandon traditional gender roles and go to work in factories-Rosie the Riveter anyone? How about all the great male chefs out there? Cooking certainly isn’t something associated with men in this country. These people really need to get a life and quit worrying about how a mother decides to raise her child.

  2. Rowan says

    Hmm, tough one. Parents DO influence how their child behaves. If this her only child and she doesn’t have a girl, then I’d be suspect…just because I see it all the time with hippy obsessive mothers from north London who wanted a girl but got a boy and would rather die then have their boys be straight because they hang around gays all their time in their work. Loathing competition from another woman with their child.

    But its just as bad as forcing a child to be all hung ho shooting and being religious just because you are.

    Basically, the kids don’t have a choice either way. Both groups are as bad as each other with indoctrination.

  3. Hells Kitchen says

    If this were little girl lacing up to play baseball or watching the football game with her dad, no one would bat an eye. It’s only when males are perceived to take on female roles that anyone gets unhinged.

    PS- Colors are not inherently related to gender. WE assinged pink to mean female and blue to mean male. They’re colors, for f*cks sake. Not mandates.

  4. Critifur says

    As Grover said… Instead of worrying that this behaviour will make Beckett’s life difficult in the future, stop being the people who will make his like difficult now or in the future and just let people be whoever they will be. The right wingers are the source of the difficulty.

  5. Danny says

    I love Hell’s Kitchen’s remarks. Everybody thinks it’s so “cute” when little girls are “tomboys,” but react with disgust when a little boy is attracted to playthings ordinarily used by girls. Just another example of the sickness. And these wingnuts who are hysterical about this–f’chrissake. It’s freakin’ NAILPOLISH. No kid would ever have issues with gender identity if there weren’t so many haters ready to pounce like the idiots at Fox or MRC. GoodGOD why don’t they have real lives?

    And I absolutely love that JCrew declined to comment! That makes haters go nuts.

  6. Danny says

    And now, of course, we know how a tough guy like Welsh Rugby player Gareth Thomas turned out queer: his mom painted his toenails.

    I’m sure it’s in the bible somewhere that you’re not supposed to do that.

    What is WRONG with these mad people??? What is Erin Brown’s issue with transgender people?

    Cryin’ out loud.

  7. Mike in the Tundra says

    Children will choose their own gender identity no matter what the parents do. Despite the fact that our children had two daddies, they knew what they wanted. We tried to be modern parents and made dolls available to our son and trucks available to our daughter. Our son ignored the dolls and our daughter ignored the trucks.

  8. coolbearinmd says

    “Wingnut” is right. How hard do you have to work at getting that crazy? As for the commenters here: Playing with your kid isn’t forcing them to do anything. It’s remaining responsive to their impulses, and refusing to sign on to the attitude that you gotta mold, mold, mold another human being all day long.

    I mean, my mom let me paint my toenails all the time, and I turned out perfectly . . . ooops. Bad example :)

    As for pink and blue being totally arbitrary signifiers of gender: Tell that to your vagina or your balls, as the case may be.

  9. Tonic says

    The wingnuts teach children that who they are is NOT okay, that they should twist themselves to meet insane expectations that do nothing more than spotlight fear as motivation. Feel sorry for any child in those homes.

    The sad thing is that they don’t educate themselves or their children but then have 19 of them – keeping the worlds ‘stupid’ quota way overpopped.

  10. says

    @ ROWAN: most little kids are able to express their preferences that may or may not coincide with their parents’. I wouldn’t worry about those North London mums, their kids will show them who they really are soon enough.

    Brava(!) to the pictured mom for supporting her son’s current favorite color.

  11. Danny says

    Mike in the Tundra brings back to our consciousness the very important point that most of us gay folks were raised by straight people who had certain ideas about gender-role appropriate preferences and activities. But I was unusually fortunate in this regard: my mom was forever pestering my father to take me out in the back yard to play football. I always went along with it to humor him! But as soon as he realized I was bored, he’d ask, “Do you want to stop?” I always said yes. And we stopped. I wanted to play the piano–and they DID give me piano lessons. But my father always said to my mom, “Danny’s just different.” No value judgment, no anxiety, no BS; just that I was–different–which he obviously didn’t think was a problem. And that proved still to be the case when I came out to him 15 years later. Consequently I’ve never been tortured by internalized homophobia or profoundly affected by environmental homophobia. Except (perhaps because I’m an Anglican Christian) when I hear the ignorant homophobic braying of christianist haters. I have one in my office sitting across the aisle from me at this moment. I cop to having a very hard time dealing with his savagery. There: I’ve said it.

  12. robert says

    Color does not have a gender identity. Color is neutral and impassive. It is we who have arbitrarily decided that specific colors identify particular genders, styles, etc. These are completely manmade designations. Tell the people to shut the fluck up.

  13. BABH says

    “How about all the great male chefs out there? Cooking certainly isn’t something associated with men in this country.”

    I can’t let this slide: professional kitchens have always been and are still today male-dominated and deeply unfriendly to women in the workplace. The cultural expectation is that women will cook at home as an indentured servant, not that they will earn a paycheck for practicing a trade.

  14. MajorTom says

    Doncha understand, peeple? We gots to tell the young’uns that panks fur gurls and bloos fur boys. Udderwise thay grow up all confoosed an turn inta hairdresers an sh*t. Lordy, lordy, lordy.

    [And yes, this is sarcasm.]

  15. livingthedream@tomboy.com says

    By the way, it is not like people go around celebrating “tomboys.” I don’t know where you’re living, but if girls aren’t “girly,” well, they’re basically in for a world of trouble and people telling them they’re messed up. One needn’t even be a tomboy to get this gender policing! There’s billion dollar industries devoted to making sure girls act like girls, just the same with boys.

  16. johnny says

    Painting toenails, dressing up, putting on different outfits and costumes…play acting… it’s all just play, people. It doesn’t mean anything except: FUN!

    Too bad adults can open their minds and be as free to play and have fun as children are. This world would be a much better place.

    My dad put a shotgun in my hands and took me hunting from 14 on, made me play football, wrestling (very confusing for a gay teen, as you might imagine) and other sports. Sorry, still turned out gay, Dad.

    You can’t enforce sexuality, what will be will be.

  17. patrick nyc says

    I knew I was gay at 13, yet did not paint my toe nails until I was 39, when I ran the Marathon in the 1998 Gay Games in Amsterdam. Team NY wore red, white and black. My friend Marty Mac and I painted our toe nails bright red to match.

    I doubt the polish helped me in the race, as I only place 11th. When I ran in The Vancouver Gay Games in ’94 I placed second, with no polish. Though the biker I picked up that week did shave my legs after the race like his were, a dare we made if I won a medal.

    I guess my point being you don’t turn gay if you paint your nails, are not straight or more butch if you do, don’t do better at sports if you do and don’t listen to assholes who tell you different.

  18. Ian says

    A bit off topic, but WTF is up with the censorship on Towleroad now Andy? In this one comment thread, I see allowed:

    “Bullshit”
    “get the poker out of your ass”
    “your vagina or your balls”
    “assholes”

    Yet when I referred to Donald Trump as a d6o7u8c9h0e that apparently was too risque and my posts were removed. I thought this site would be one of the few open-minded enough to allow us to speak out minds, in an adult way. “d6o7u8c9h0e” isn’t even a bad word, it’s a real thing!! If you are going to censor naughty words, be consistent for christ sake. What has happened to this site…selling out to pressure from advertisers?

  19. SFshawn says

    I just finished reading “I am an emotional creature:the secret life of girls around the world” by Eve Ensler and it’s a must read for any woman(or man) who actually LOVE women and RESPECT women. Just like other repressed minorities(even though women are actually the majority) women are going to have to DEMAND and sadly FIGHT for their existence in this world because(especially in UNDER-EDUCATED and UNEDUCATED 3rd world countries)woman are treated as modern day SLAVES.
    Sad and Pathetic in 2011.

  20. Patrrick says

    Erin Brown is exactly right: “Life [might be] hard for the boy in the future.” But only if people like Brown perpetuate gender dogma and MAKE life hard for such boys in the future. Lighten up, Brown, and let all boys–and girls, and men, and women–live their lives as they choose.

  21. ratbastard says

    I’m gay. I’ve NEVER desired to paint my toenails pink, red or any other color. It also happens to be feminine and I’m not feminine, I’m a dude. I will NEVER understand why some gay men think being gay means acting like a girl or taking on feminine characteristics. I’ve NEVER had any fascination with Broadway musicals, old female movie stars, shopping til I drop, etc., I’ve never had a lisp or spoken with any affectation. No limp wrist or swish either. And if you jump me, I most difinately will fight back and send you to the hospital. And this is not man [or woman] made construct….there are differences, biological, hormonal, brain activity, etc., between males and females. MOST males will act INSTINCTIVELY a certain way, without be trained or brainwashed. Social engineering and experimentation has been done attempting raise boys as girls and vice versa, they have universally failed.

    And I’ll say it again: It’s INSULTING to me that a man/boy acting feminine is associated with being gay. I genuinely find it insulting and it’s been used and is used to mock, ridicule, and discriminate against gay men.

  22. Pira says

    My favourite part of the whole story is how J Crew refused to dignify their bullshit with a response. Stuff like that isn’t even worth the effort it takes to acknowledge it.

  23. Derrick from Philly says

    “And I’ll say it again: It’s INSULTING to me that a man/boy acting feminine is associated with being gay.”

    Well, then you and your kind should have been out of the closet in 1968 like the feminine Gay males. You waited too late.

  24. says

    @RATBASTARD: I don’t doubt your masculinity, but you sound awfully misogynist. The reality is that most man-loving humans are women. So maybe some gay men identify with women. Maybe most gay men are more feminine than most straight men because that’s somehow connected to orientation? Why are you so defensive?

  25. ratbastard says

    @David R.,

    Perhaps. And maybe nature has played a joke on me? Even though I’ve known I was gay since maybe 10, and it has never bothered me personally, I have never felt a connection to many aspects of the gay world or so-called gay community. I don’t hate effeminate gay [or str8] males, but feel no particular connection either, and it bothers me how gays and so-called gay culture is portrayed almost universally in a way I don’t connect to. Not surprisingly I suppose, the so-called leaders in the gay so-called community are top heavy with effeminate males and masculine females. Oh well.

  26. ratbastard says

    @Crispy,

    It’s been well observed and studied that gay males, especially effete or effeminate males either gay, str8 or whatever, are prone to being unusually nasty, even sadistic and cruel. Many serial killers [probably disproportionately IMO] are gay and specifically effete males or males with gender identity issues. I recently read one of William Shirer’s great books on the time he spent as an American journalist in Berlin, Germany from the moment the Nazis came to power until the America entered the war. He had close up access to leading members of Nazi Germany, including Hitler. Shirer mentioned in several of his books on the Nazis that he was struct how effete and feminine some of the worse and most cruel Nazi leaders were, including Hitler himself. My own observations and experiences among effete and effeminate men [gay in my case] bear out Shirer’s observations and the academic studies of many. And of course anyone who reads the posts on forums like TR will understand where I’m coming from.

  27. james Wood says

    @ratbastard. I have never risen to the bait of your comments but this time I have to. To equate effeminate gays as serial killers is just absurd. I’m sure you will back it up with all your usual data and info, but to me you just seem like a self-loathing troll who hates everyone who isn’t like you. The fact is, the gay world is made up of a myriad of types, just like the straight world. To say you are not represented in the gay world is probably more to do with the fact that you are not a very nice person, and less to do with the fact that you are mis-respresented. I expect a diatribe back from you but choose not to get in a fight with you… I am happy to live in my crazy diverse gay/straight world.

  28. james Wood says

    It’s James Wood, apparently you can’t read. And I knew you would stand by your previous post, as do I stand by my response to you. To quote Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, “that’s all.”

  29. elg says

    @Ratbastard
    We get it. You HATE “effeminate” gay men. You will probably deny it but you do.

    So, according to you, most serial murderers and the cruelest Nazis in Nazi Germany were effeminate gay men.

    And the gay/lesbian rights activists who are fighting for your rights (and mine) are mostly effeminate males or masculine women which, according to you, is a bad thing.

    So we now have what might be called Ratbastard’s world view. Wow!

  30. Philippe Landman says

    I wonder at what university this crackpot shrink managed to get a degree from. Anyone who’s paid any attention in history classes (or watched Stephen Fry’s QI as I did) knows this:

    Up until the 20th century, baby boys wore pink and baby girls wore blue. Boys at that time were also referred to as girls. In 1900, Dressmaker Magazine said “The preferred colour to dress young boys in is pink. Blue is reserved for girls as it is presumed paler and the more dainty of the two colours, and pink is thought to be stronger”. In 1927, Princess Astrid of Belgium caused controversy when she gave birth to a girl, as “the cradle had been optimistically outfitted in pink, the colour for boys”. It was believed that blue was more serene and paler, hence it was used for girls. Interestingly, up until the mid-15th century, all children were referred to as girls. Boys were known as “knave girls” and girls were known as “gay girls”. Only in recent times, has calling a boy been referred to a male child, before that it meant a servant.

    Rather puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

  31. ratbastard says

    NO ELG, I do not hate effeminate men, gay or non-gay [many effeminate males are str8 actually]. I wrote in my previous post that I don’t hate effeminate males. I do find it very difficult to relate to them.

  32. ratbastard says

    @PHILIPPE LANDMAN,

    I’ll take you at your word. Never the less, are you suggesting most boys aren’t really male sexually, emotionally, etc.? I understand some gay [and non-gay] men who’re themselves effete, or are attracted to effete men/boys, will try and rationalize their condition or fetish. I don’t care if a man/boy is effete, and understand it’s most likely genetic based mostly [probably a variety of causes, not just genetic] , but most boys ARE NOT effeminate regardless of how much some men wish they were.

  33. Jim OToole says

    I am honestly surprised that anyone who watches Fox News gets the J.Crew catalog. It is an upscale brand-progressive by nature and represents a diverse view of fashion where people look to move forward not backward. Definitely not meant for the knuckle dragging inbred viewers of Fox News. Jenna Lyons is one of the most creative and culturally sensitive business leaders and clearly enjoys her child. Bravo and Great job J. Crew!!

  34. ratbastard says

    Mr. O’Toole,

    ‘On November 23, 2010, the company agreed to be taken private in a $3 billion deal led by management with the backing of TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners, two large private equity firms.’

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J_crew

    Yeah, those large private equity firms are so ‘Progressive’ … LOL

  35. says

    I have two perspectives on this. One, my husband paints his toenails all the time. Not pink, but still paints them. And he’s as straight as they come. Also, my son has asked to have his toenails painted. But he wanted them green, because that’s his favorite color. I don’t steer my son in any gender-specific direction. He is 9 and wears kilts to school as well. So wearing a “skirt” isn’t a big deal around here. His best friend is a girl. He’s okay with playing with “girl toys” (in their words) and she’s okay with playing with “boy toys”. They get along famously.

    If he does end up being gay then so be it. I just don’t think that painting your nails has any bearing on if you like girls or boys.

  36. Philippe Landman says

    I’m not suggesting anything, just trying to provide a little light relief in this grim conversation you’re all having. I’m just curious at your insistance in using terms as “conditon” and “fetish” in describing your bewilderment when confronted with men behaving in ways that don’t agree with your idea of masculinity.

  37. Philippe Landman says

    Dear mr. Bastard,

    I’m not suggesting anything, just trying to provide a little light relief in this grim conversation you’re all having. I’m just curious at your insistance in using terms as “conditon” and “fetish” in describing your bewilderment when confronted with men behaving in ways that don’t agree with your idea of masculinity.

  38. Amanda says

    I can not believe my eyes I just read a statement made on the J Crew add from a professional and can not understand the feeble mind of some people..”Abandoning all the trapings of gender identity” wake up having pink toenails makes him no less a boy then when I get around in my ultra comfy mens boardshorts make me a female. This is the reason we have people with gender issues because noone allows them to be who they want to be. Let kids be kids and develop there own sense of self.

  39. Urmensch says

    In the 1800s all infants were dressed in white and girls and boys wore dresses and short skirts, though the girls dressed buttoned up the back and the boys up the front, till about the age of 6. White cotton was preferred as it was easy to bleach so as to clean it.
    Only after 6 years did they wear gendered clothes. Towards the middle of the 1800s colours were beginning to be used but without concern for gender. It was only at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century that clothes for young boys began to become more ‘masculine’ and differentiated, but even then pink was considered by many to be the colour for boys and blue for girls but there was no real consensus. The colours were used interchangeably up till WWII. It’s only after that it started to change and become what people think is the norm of girls/pink and boys/blue.
    But I suppose it is too much to expect that these wingnuts have any understanding that historically this is all very recent and the world wasn’t filled with ‘gender-confused’ adults until the middle of the 20th century.

  40. DJ says

    ‘Bravo!’ to the majority of comments I am reading here. Glad to finally see a higher level of intelligence than I usually see on other sites & blogs. I have to add an observation though, that I just don’t get what pink toenails have to do with being Gay! Most Gay men like other men. They like each others masculinity. They don’t want their partner to be “the girl”. They actually want to deal even LESS with femininity than straight men do. And they don’t wish to BE a woman. Now, there are “effiminate” men out there (straight and Gay) who may like that. But Gay does equate to effeminate, and effeminate does not equate to Gay. So I am not sure why “Gay” or “Transgender” is even relevant to this ad. And I seriously think those radicals need to look up what “Transgendered” means before they start throwing that word around now too.

  41. DJ says

    OOPS! In my last comment I typed , “But Gay does equate to effeminate…”. That was strictly a typo as it should have said, “Gay does NOT equate to effeminate..” And before you even say it, no that was not a Freudian slip… Just sayin’

  42. redball says

    What a beautiful and pure moment between mother and child. Love it.

    We need more and more and more images like this so that it becomes accepted as part of the norm and not as some circus attraction. It’s no circus. It’s real, and kids explore with color, fashion, hobbies, etc.

  43. Paul R says

    Call me a horrible cynic, but there’s simply no way J Crew wasn’t aware that this ad wouldn’t provide them with enormous free coverage considered positive or at least acceptable among their target audience. And since it identifies the kid, it feels exploitive. He could be mortified this in 10 or 20 years, or even now—for reasons perhaps not right but understandable in this society.

    I just don’t think 5-year-olds should be clearly named in an ad, especially one like this.

    @Ratbastard: you are hardly alone in feeling little link to the “community.” But some of your other comments are misguided, to put it mildly. Moreover, do you like a larger percentage of straight than gay people? Most of my friends are straight, but I chalk that up to odds. I find all sorts of people annoying, and you seem like even more of a misanthrope than I am.

    If you felt no link to the community, you wouldn’t be a regular on Towleroad.

  44. Neal says

    Only a very sick mind could find something wrong with this sweet innocent picture of a mom playing dress-up with her son. These far right conservatives must all be fighting some deeply closeted homosexual desires; why else would they be so obessed with anything remotely gay, lesbian or trans-gender? Come on out folks- it’s beautiful here in Fairyland!

  45. wimsy says

    Oh for Christ sakes! This isn’t a “dramatic” example of anything. It’s a little kid and his mommy enjoying a little nonjudgmental fun time.

    The rest of you should try it sometime.

  46. Bryan says

    Ms. Brown begins with the merely silly assumption that kids’ play is “gender confusion,” but then moves on to a sinister, blame the victim stance regarding any individual who might fail to conform to her standards. It isn’t pink toenail police that “could make life hard for the boy in the future,” it’s bigots like Ms. Brown. She is essentially running a protection racket, feigning interest in protecting children from what she herself is committing.

    Do these idiots come equipped with two faces and half a heart, or is it something they study?

  47. Matt says

    Gender Confusion?
    Transgender?
    He’s 5!
    I agree with whoever said this no 5 year boy would sit their having his toe nails painted pink, unless he wanted them done. And plus who the hell cares? it’s just body paint who decided it was for girls? and even if he does turn out that that child is gay, who cares? he’s got a loving mother. that all that matters. People it’s 2011 and the 21st century time to wake up and smell the change in the air.

  48. Tim says

    I’m a teacher and i see boys with pink toenails all the time. Whats the problem? Screw the heteronormitive views of the conservatives and let children make their own decisions. That is the only way we are going to rid the world of prejudice in the future. If we normalise non-heteronormative views now, the transgendered and gay citizens of the future (not saying this boy will be either) will not need to have a difficult life!

  49. Lucho Prugue says

    In this ad, I only see a wonderful young mother, (Jenna), spending good quality time – and a few laughs – with her son (Beckett). PERIOD!!! Pity there are a few that see it in a bad (and twisted) way…

    Congratulations J Crew!!! One of the best ads I’ve seen!!!!

  50. GIVEMEABREAK says

    Faux News indeed. I still remember when my teenage son would wear his sister’s ballet tutu and play with her dollhouse when he was a toddler. I’m pretty sure she painted his nails and put bows in his hair too.

  51. says

    AAAAHHHHHHHH This makes me wanna get my hurt on. My boys are VERY much boys and just because they like having purple or pink toenails like their mommy has, doesn’t mean a THING. It won’t make them gay, it won’t make them think they’re women.

    It’s just a F*#&$ing colour!!!!!

    GRRRRRRRRRRR

  52. Richard says

    I’ve seen a picture of General George Patton in his christening gown. He was gay? I hardly think so. Those who are upset about pink toenails must hate every American male born before 1920 because they all wore dresses until they were at least 2 1/2 years old. Was everyone gay? I have some great pictures of my dad, born 1905, in a dress before he got his first hair cut and a cowboy suit at 30 months of age. And I just got a new cell phone that’s pink and I’m about as straight as they come. To those wingnuts who don’t like it…. get a life and stop hanging around elementary school yards looking for little boys with pink toenails.

  53. says

    Today April 15th is the Day of Silence for thousands of students in all 50 states have taken a vow of silence to protest anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. These brave students are doing what far too many school administrators and lawmakers won’t: collectively, they say enough to anti-LGBT hostilities in America’s schools, and demand a unified effort to make it a thing of the past.

    Students who take a vow of silence put themselves on the line when they do it. Many are tormented or made fun of by peers. Others face hostile attitudes from their teachers. It takes a lot of bravery to take a public stand in front of all your classmates and faculty. Bravery is also what it takes to create change.
    Honey, I just wonder what you do there in the back of your pink Cadillac?

    When I decided to go back to school and get my degree in education, one of my main goals was to protect, inspire and champion LGBT students and their causes. Recently I had a long-term assignment as a substitute teacher in an urban neighborhood. I had the joy of working with kindergarten kids. I find them the most excited about learning and they teach me with their honesty. My class of kinder kids come with their own issues and challenges, but at the end of the day, I can tell they want to be there and look forward to the next day. I co-teach with an amazing woman from Canada. We have a wonderful working rapport. She is also very open-minded. We have great chats about the differences in American culture, health systems and gay acceptance.

    One day she asked me to observe the behavior in a student. He always came to school immaculately dressed. He wore a beautiful single stud earring. I considered him a very bright student, who always arrived on time and gave me very little discipline problems. The only thing about him odd was his very high-pitched voice. My co-teacher asked me if I thought the student showed the makings of being gay. I had not given it much thought. Children both male and female that young are so asexual to me. There are moments when both sexes behave very feminine as well as masculine in my opinion. Then she told me of a situation where the students created an “All About Me” poster project version of Show-N-Tell.

    The students get to select what color poster paper and he selected pink. The teacher was contacted by the parents (because he lived in a two-parent household) who were concerned about their son’s color choice and the teacher assured them she did not influence his selection. My co-teacher felt pressured by the parents to suggest other colors. He gravitated to yellow for a while after that incident, yet he selected pink for other projects as time went on.

    On Thursday April 3, 2011, I was passing out previous work the students had done. The little boy had several art projects on pink and yellow paper. Suddenly a little girl blurted out:

    “Don’t know boy supposed to use pink paper!”

    The comment caught me off guard for a second as my co-teacher quickly ushered the girl to her desk for a reprimand. I also took a moment to explain to the girl that boys can like any color they choose just as girls may find the color blue pretty to them.

    Later my co-teacher and I discussed the situation and agreed it had to be a learned behavior. The particular girl, who comes from a single parent household, is often dressed in the same attire each day has discipline and emotional problems. In fact, when her mother comes to school she is inappropriately dressed. The girl is raised in an environment of negative behavior with limited support of raising her consciousness.

    I wanted to send a message to both students, so I wore a pink shirt the following day.

    I wanted the boy to know pink was okay. I wanted the girl to know she could not bully or pick on the boy for something as simple as a color choice. She needed to see someone was going to stand up for him. The next day when I arrived in the pink shirt, his eyes lit up. I said,

    “Mr. Madison wore his pink shirt just for you!”

    He let out a high-pitched squeal that would have made every queen in America proud. God Bless him! The other kids kept saying how much they liked my pink shirt. Throughout the day when the class would get quiet, I would repeat that I wore the shirt for the little boy. Each time he would squeal again. It made me cry inside to be his champion. As I explained later to my co-teacher, I don’t care if he is gay or straight. It was the fact that someone tried to make him feel less than because a color gave him joy. I just hope one day he will look back and remember someone he admired and respected let him know it was okay to like pink.

    If it works for Diddy, TI, Kayne, Camron, Gregory Jackson, Maurice Jamal and the cast of Friends Lovers?

    Dontae Winslow here with Dr. Dre is one of the strongest male father figures I have ever met and he is comfortable in his pink shirt!

    When I posted it on my Facebook status, I got over 25 responses in less than two days. A buddy of mine suggested to get a group of us to show up to the school together dressed in pink. (side bar: They already have a Pink Shirt Day in Canada!)

    Then someone sent me the article about the mother who painted her son’s toenails pink. It is amazing how synergy goes through the universe. Today at the gym, I saw a guy with his toenails painted black. I did not have a substitute assignment today to show my support on this Day of Silence, so I share this with you in lieu of my red shirt and button this chapter of my life.

    Kind of wish I was on a freeway headed to Canada…..
    City traffic movin’ way too slow
    Drop the pedal and go…go…go

    Goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love
    Wind’s against our back
    Goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love
    In my pink cadillac

  54. kelehe says

    Since the rightwing extremists cling to traditions of an illusory ideal past, they should want to revert to the pink-for-boys-blue-for-girls tradition. That’s how it started out.

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