Neon Pink Polish Debate Rages On

Okay, I’ll bite.

While it’s almost (emphasis on not really) funny to see Fox News create a brouhaha simply by overreacting in the ways you’d expect to a simple—but creative, inspiring and yes, very cute—J. Crew ad about neon toenails being fun (in this case for a boygasp).

Why then is my response not to cheer so much as to sigh?


I mean, don’t get me wrong: my eldest sons loved the nail polish ritual, something shared with the eldest’s then-nail polish polishing godfather. Pretty nails went well with fairy wings and firefighter hats. Our household is nothing if not equal opportunity-minded when it comes to tot fashion (we are not alone).

Don’t get me wrong; I’d rather have ads with pink-toed boys than the alternative.


I think sometimes I just hate the idea that every single time the popular culture veers the tiniest bit off-stereotype we have to mine the what if this makes the boys gay, what if you’re encouraging sissies types of arguments.

(How about that birth certificate? Was President Obama really born in Hawaii? Puh-leeze, but that’s where I go, just, sigh.).


Cheryl Kilodavis, whose lovely contribution to the boys-can-love-to-twirl-too canon My Princess Boy, has a wonderfully outspoken and together young son (subject of the book). On the Today Show, her husband is quoted saying of boys preferring the pretty, “It isn’t contagious.” Kilodavis said her older son remarked of the J. Crew ad, “That boy looks happy.”

Ah, reason.


Saskia, she chose purple (marker).

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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