Last week, we asked, “Would you let your son wear nail polish?” The question was raised after a controversial J. Crew advertisement was published online. Jenna Lyon, brand manager of J. Crew, announced that she paints her son’s toenails pink. The brunt of the controversy ensued when a Fox News reporter condemned Jenna Lyon’s practices, calling it “psychological sterilization”. The conservative reporter suggested that Jenna Lyon’s pedicures promote homosexuality and transsexual behavior in young boys, and that her practices must be abandoned.
This conversation caused me to raise questions regarding the role of gender in our society. While I do not believe mere nail polish has the power to determine sexuality, as Mr. Fox News reporter suggests, I do wonder how rigid traditional feminine and masculine stereotypes and characteristics have become.
Traditionally, lacquered nails were considered a female beauty regimen, but over the years more and more men have exposed their love for nail polish to the world. Whether worn on their fingernails or toenails, straight men in Hollywood have been embracing the trend. Seal, music artist and spouse to Heidi Klum, and Mehcad Brooks, male model, have been spotted wearing nail polish. Is the trend too controversial, or is it only a matter of time before we see more men rocking colored manicures?
I will admit when I first saw a straight male friend of mine wearing nail polish I gave him the side-eye. This was the same side-eye my mother gave my male peers when she discovered they were wearing earrings in both ears. In the past, we have seen this same controversy raised about other trends that were considered strictly for women. For instance, ear piercings, long hair, and skinny jeans worn by men were considered too feminine, and to some, a sign of homosexuality.
Are trends that blur gender roles too much? Should a line be drawn, or is it only a matter of time when the terms masculine and feminine go extinct? Let me know what you think!
– Chelsey Wilkins