Is Furor Over Painting Boy's Toenails Warranted?

Recent J.Crew ad depicting a mom painting her 5-year-old's nails pink has some up in arms.

Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Question: From a friend who watches way too much TV.

Is painting a boy’s toenails going to affect his sexuality?

Answer: Oh, my goodness, NO!

A photograph on a J.Crew online advertisement, set the tongues a-wagging last week. The scene was of a mom and her son enjoying each other’s company. Nearby was a bottle of pink nail polish, and the 5-year-old boy was sporting pink toenails.

Many people freaked out, claiming that this mom was messing with her kid’s “gender identity.” Others claimed the ad celebrated “transgender identity.”

Have any of these people tried to find ways to get through an entire day with a 5-year-old? This mother and son are obviously having a good time and sharing a laugh. How is painting one’s nails any different than enjoying having one’s face painted, an activity offered at every outdoor festival and party?  Will having a wolf face drawn on your child lead him to want to be a werewolf?

Well, the difference is in the attitude. If the child is told that pink nails are wrong for boys and “gay,” then there will be shame.

But will these types of activities shape the boy’s gender identity or will it make him decide to be a transvestite? 

Now, I am clearly not an expert. I am schoolteacher and a historian. But, from my 25 years of teaching, I think that this type of fun will just create an open-minded and fun-loving child.

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