Transgendered child propaganda. Yes, such a conspiracy exists.

Clothing company J. Crew are apparently part of some kind of diabolical plot to pussify boys, as evidenced by this advertisement showing a mother (who also happens to be the president and creative director of the company, so there’s all the proof that I need for a conspiracy), painting her son’s toenails pink.

I can only say that I admire the patience it takes to keep this all a conspiracy, because one look at J. Crew’s current catalogue for kids shows a bunch of boys wearing pirate shirts, riding skateboards and carrying slingshots. At that rate it is going to take them a couple of centuries or more to “throw our species into real psychological turmoil”.

P.S. (Other stuff I have written on this topic: 1, 2, 3, 4).

P.P.S. (Big thanks to Taurus Rising for the article).

Cross-posted at blue milk.

Categories: gender & feminism, parenting

Tags: , ,

14 replies

  1. I love the part where Keith Ablow says “How about [a J. Crew ad] in which a little boy models a sundress? What could possibly be the problem with that?” To which I respond with the same question — What could possibly be wrong with that? I think it’s disgusting that we continue to gender something as arbitrary as clothing, and if boys (and men, for that matter) want to wear dresses and skirts and hot pink nail polish, I say it’s about frickin’ time! Bring it the hell on!

  2. I’ve been reading a few of the US blogs linking to the huffing and puffing from the traditional-family-values crowd about the horrors of a boy who likes pink.
    Don’t anybody tell them that pink was the decorative tint that would have adorned all their great-grandfathers outfits through childhood, they’ll explode.

  3. LOL tigtog. They were backwards back then, going against their true natures. They didn’t know that real men biologically hate the colour pink. It’s in boy’s DNA.

    • The thing that gets me about the pink-blue divide is that it’s just fucking consumerist marketing to ensure that we buy extra stuff if we have kids of different sexes instead of going with perfectly serviceable more unisex hand-me-downs.
      Up until the industrial revolution and the roughly concurrent invention of consumerism, very small children all wore soft, pale, frilly skirts and had their hair curled in ringlets. It was considered important to emphasise their sweet fragility, not their different sexes, and if you were rich you covered them in lace. Older children wore serviceable dark coloured fabrics with touches of lace and ribbon of whatever colours the parents liked. Obviously this meant that it was easy, natural and common to have younger children wearing the same clothes that their older siblings once wore, the only difference for older children being whether they wore short trousers or short skirts that just covered the knee under the unisex short smock. For Sunday best the smock might be starched white or delicately patterned muslin for girls and a darker pattern for boys, but that’s about the extent of the variation. You can see it in family portraits of the time – all the kids wearing matching blouses and boxy jackets and skirts/trousers of the same material – but you can also see it in unposed shots of family groups promenading at the beach etc – unless you knew the family it would not be immediately obvious whether the youngest children were boys or girls.
      It seems that while(because?) the adult gender roles were so segregated then, it wasn’t felt necessary to impose rigid visual gender segregation on infants and young children. Now that adult gender roles are less segregated, imposing the visual gender segregation from the day they come home from hospital has become the fashion. As I said, it’s a grand way to sell families more Stuff.

  4. Thank tigtog. Fascinating.

    • P.S. my comment obviously refers to Western societies – others had different childhood fashions. But from what I’ve read, the rigid visual gender code for very young children is a relatively recent innovation in most cultures. Traditionally, moving into gender differentiated fashions has been one of the rites of pubescence.

  5. Cordelia Fine has an interesting bit (I think just speculation) in Delusions of Gender that the march of gender differentiation earlier in childhood actually went with mainstream understanding that gender expression is constructed.
    If you believe gender expression is constructed, and yet non-marked gender expression is very very important to you, it leads to very strong gendering of children, because you need to teach them what you understand to be right, is her argument. On the other hand if you believe most aspects of gender expression post-puberty are fixed, then you don’t feel the need to really strongly teach it to children.
    SotBO: her argument then is to diminish the importance of strict codes of allowable gender identity and expression, rather than going back to arguing that every nuance of gender expression is biological.

  6. It’s such a giveaway that girls are valued less than boys in our society, in that bedecking a boy with female signifiers is felt to demean him, in a way that would never be applied should a girl wear male signifiers.

  7. Wednesday’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart had a great piece on this. Can probably find it on Youtube

  8. The real Transgender Agenda is the same as the real Gay Agenda:
    Stop being beaten and killed for existing, and be treated as normal human beings.
    The thought that there is any Trans movement with enough of a power base to run insidious ads with kids in pink toenail polish is so laughable that I want to cry. We’re too worried about the things thrown at us from cars (Yes, it’s happened to me, repeatedly 😛 ) to worry about ‘subverting’ children.
    Kudos on J Crew though, they found the perfect method to send their products viral. >.>

  9. @Jamie: Is it too frivolous to observe that The Transgender Agenda is a great name for a band?
    Astonishing timing this is, as my boy has just decided to go on a huge pink kick, and came home from shopping with his daddy today with a new pink skivvy, that he is about to go to bed in, because he wont take it off. He said “sometimes I like to be a girl and sometimes I like to be a boy”, so he sounds pretty healthy to me.

  10. I think it would be a GREAT band name. 🙂
    My son has often borrowed my daughter’s dress up things and vice versa. I remember when I was young, this was the norm in pretty much every social group I knew; breaking down gender gaps was The Thing then. I’m the only one who turned out ‘weird’, but the rest of the people I know from then are suprisingly unsexist, unracist, and very confused by those who are. And this was in South East Pennsylvania, not exactly a Mecca of liberalism!

  11. When I was in year twelve, we did a drama production with our brother school. (Basically the play was about a women’s association putting on MacBeth. Lady MacBeth was trapped in traffic, so was replaced by the male janitor (in wig and dress etc), but still with magnificent mustache.) The boys picked to play this role played it with gusto, and we were all told by their drama teacher that “All the boys [willingly] when starting Drama, go to the costume room and try on a dress”.
    It was a very enlightening experience, and as such I have no idea why there is such a backlash at the thought of a man liking “female” things.

  12. Some comments on some websites note that one of the fulminators (Keith Ablow?) is a man wearing a pink necktie.
    The reference to the Daily show segment is:—this-little-piggy-went-to-hell

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