A recent J Crew Advertisement has recently featured a mother playfully painting her son's toenails pink.
Apparently this small act of mom/son playful weirdness is enough to turn your son from his Tonka Trucks, BB Guns and a major in Criminal Justice to a life of *special* piracy, high heels and dubious careers on the Vegas Stage. The Conservative Media Research Center is sure to warn all us "indulgent" moms that this behavior could make life "hard" for our sons in the future. While they do not specify exactly what this hardship will be, it isn't hard to spot the thinly veiled threat of harassment, bigotry, and hatred behind the statement. Yes, Pink Toenail polish on your boy is a direct affront to Masculinity as a Whole and you'd better not "indulge," mom. Otherwise we'll make life hard on your son.
The MRC goes on to state that "Propaganda pushing the celebration of gender-confused boys wanting to dress and act like girls is a growing trend, seeping into mainstream culture. NBC's Today show on January 3 featured a segment on the 'Princess Boy' in which five-year-old Dyson Kilodavis was seen twirling in pink ballerina tutu, much to the delight of his mother Cheryl and host Meredith Vieira."
Perhaps the good white heteronormative men of the MRC haven't walked down the Boy's Toys aisle at Toys R Us lately. Had they done so, they would see the gratifying glorification of violence, sexual objectification of women, and clear lines of demarcation stating what is Boy and what is Not. Action figures of men in crazed expressions ready to kill their enemies are plied to children as young as three, and the true "mainstream culture" sees no problem with this. They haven't been to the bookstore, either, where books for boys are little more than glorified comics featuring poop and fart jokes and very little substance. (Because "studying" is for girls.) They haven't been to the movies, watched the cartoons, or even munched the "action packed" breakfast cereals marketed to the non-pink-toenail-polish wearing "normal" male youths of today. Nor have they witnessed the disturbing female counterpart to this hyper-male picture. Maybe boys aren't "gender confused," maybe the mainline image of what a boy "ought" to be is just stupid.
What gets more disturbing is when you read the comments following any internets article regarding this tempest in a teapot. Reader after reader helpfully comments that their son enjoyed tutus/high heels/pink crap and they turned out "just fine."
"Just fine?" Is this some notion that any other outcome wasn't "just fine?"
What does this have to do with figure skating? At least once a week I will hear some mom or dad decry the application of figure skates to their son's feet. "It's only until you get the basics," or "We'll switch you to real skates soon," or "You will skate in hockey skates or we will leave!"
Yes. You will conform to what is normal, or you won't skate at all.
I caught this J Crew nonsense yesterday, same day as when I caught an article penned by Junior Nats competitor Brian Benton, who caught serious Flak for wearing his "skaters only" souvenir tee shirt from the competition to school. His classmates mocked him. Seriously. WTF. He wrote the article for his school paper, telling his ig'nant bullies exactly what goes into getting a shirt like that. Again, Hockey Boys and Dads, I remind you of who skates in full body padding and who does not. Swarovski may be pretty, but it offers scant little protection from those full-on slams into the ice. Skate on, Brian. Skate on.