Saturday, April 16, 2011

You've Got To Be Kidding

Apparently, the latest catalogue from J. Crew has the wingnuts all up in arms because it shows a five year old boy with his toenails painted hot pink.

Let's start with one Dr. Keith Ablow who posted this screed on Faux News' website:

Well, how about the fact that encouraging the choosing of gender identity, rather than suggesting our children become comfortable with the ones that they got at birth, can throw our species into real psychological turmoil—not to mention crowding operating rooms with procedures to grotesquely amputate body parts? Why not make race the next frontier? What would be so wrong with people deciding to tattoo themselves dark brown and claim African-American heritage? Why not bleach the skin of others so they can playact as Caucasians?

Why should we hold dear anything with which we were born? What’s the benefit of non-fiction over fiction?

For someone who is supposedly a mental health professional, Dr. Ablow is profoundly ignorant about the nature of transgender people and the treatment protocols for them. Worse, he clearly hasn't even bothered to read the DSM-IV (much less the working material for the DSM V on the subject. If he had, he would have a much different understanding things. (Of course, he is being published on Faux News, so it's not as if I expect much here)

Jenna Lyons and J. Crew seem to know exactly what they’re up to. That’s why the photograph of Jenna’s son so prominently displays his hot pink, neon toe nails. These folks are hostile to the gender distinctions that actually are part of the magnificent synergy that creates and sustains the human race. They respect their own creative notions a whole lot more than any creative Force in the universe.

No, Dr. Ablow, it is you who fails to understand that gender is much more flexible than the rigid boy/girl binary that you are propounding. Transgender people all over the world show up the lie in your assumptions every day - just by existing.

Even more ironic is that it is well enough established that painting a little boy's toenails pink (or giving a little girl a toy gun) isn't going to make anybody transgendered. This is another little fact that had Dr. Ablow been paying attention to the research work in his field at all he would have been aware of.

... and of course there's always the predictable outrage from one of the religious "research" think tanks:

J.CREW, a popular preppy woman's clothing brand and favorite affordable line of first lady Michelle Obama, is targeting a new demographic - mothers of gender-confused young boys. At least, that's the impression given by a new marketing piece that features blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.

Really? That's "propaganda"? First of all, what's wrong with painting toenails or fingernails? Why is that a "girls only" activity in the first place?

The upshot of this is that it's much ado about nothing really. However, once again it is being used by the wingnuts to attack transgender people by repeating the same tired old lies that are trotted out at every opportunity.

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