The ladies on The View never cease to rile me up. In this clip they are discussing a J Crew add, seen below, that shows the company president painting her son’s toe nails.
You can watch the video clip here (you know Barbara is not letting me embed that ish, sorry!)
Now, seriously, what even is the problem? We are so concerned with gender, people think I exaggerate when I say that we start to learn the rules before we can even speak. But the controversy over this add proves it. Children don’t understand adult concepts. The boy likes pink, he probably thinks its cool that you can make your toe nails a different color. He isn’t trying to express his femininity, although if he was that would probably be ok. But we are all so worried that the categories are going to be blurred, we forget how kids work. I babysit an amazing 20 month old named Ryan, and she is amazing. Smart, quirky, gorgeous, and she is so energetic. She’s a precious monkey, always trying to climb on everything (and with no sense of gravity, eek!) Ryan doesn’t think of herself as a tomboy, she is just a toddler who is talkative and wants to climb. But every adult around her describes her that way. Why are we so quick to place those labels?
I can’t stress it enough, that gender matters because its how we categorize one another. When we are confused about gender, it is seriously unnerving. And of course, gender and sexuality are uniquely and complexly linked, and sexuality is also really important because, like gender, its part of how we shape our interactions. I would argue that gender and sexuality are the number one most important tool we use when choosing how to approach, talk to, connect with, manipulate, and learn about people. And the reason its so important is because along these lines, there are those with the fun rules (straight males, and even gay males though to a lesser extent) and those with much more limiting rules (all women.) So obviously, keeping the delineations clear is important to those who want to maintain the status quo, keep all the fun for themselves, and keep the balance of power uneven. I am all for blurring the lines, living in grey space/queer space. And I totally understand why this would make people itchy. Without black and white categories, rules are there ain’t no rules. It would significantly change the way that we’ve learned to interact with strangers, it would change the rules of dating/courtship, it would change workplace hierarchy and friendships. I think that breaking down gender roles and rules is maybe the most important step we need to take as a culture, if we are ever truly going to accepts the humanity of every single person. But if this ad is all it takes to fire people up, I fear we have an oh so long way to go.