J. Crew's French Impressionist Agenda

J. Crew

A lot of hubbub has been made of this J. Crew ad that has a kid with pink nail polish on his toes. The argument is being made that J. Crew is pushing the boundaries of gender identity, and some have gone as far to say that J. Crew is somehow promoting transgender lifestyles (Oh, silly old, Fox News bear). If you think about it, it really is in the best interest for one of the blandest, most conservative clothing companies to promote transgendered children. Because what do angry parents cover up their transgendered children with... lots of clothing. And what kind of clothing... the blandest, most conservative clothing they can find. Win, win... they promote a liberal agenda and milk conservative sales in the process.

Maybe, it's just me, but it's kind of a stretch to say they're sending out some sort of subliminal message about gender roles through the color of nail polish. The biggest problem I have with this is colors have no gender. Any gender role that is applied to a color is something we as a society have applied to that color. And these societal norms and values have a tendency to change over time. Pink used to be a masculine color in American society. 100 years ago pink was the color associated with baby boys, and at the very least was considered a gender neutral color. It wasn't until the 50's when the color pink heavily entered French fashion that pink took on a more feminine undertone. This being the case, I don't think it's anything particularly gender bending about pink nail polish. It's just a kid with any of his favorite crayon colors on his toes. And how do know that's it's about the color and not the nail polish itself? Maybe, he wants to be goth? We don't know.

="http://www.leapfrog-properties.com/french_stereotypes/images/onion_johnny.gif" alt="French Shirt" title="J. Crew's French Propaganda" style="margin: 10px; float: right" width="250" height="250" />

I think the bigger question is what's up with his shirt? This is what they're actually selling. It's interesting that French fashion helped changed gender roles 60 years ago because that shirt is awfully French looking. Is J. Crew really trying to say something about France? This is the same exact shirt popular with ol' timey French sailors and baguette salesmen from Paris to Marseille. Are they trying to promote sex in every port? Bread? Underage wine drinking? Amelie? I don't know, but that kid is a beret and a pencil thin mustache away from being a famous painter. And is that what J. Crew is trying to say? I see that shirt and I just want to paint and be all kinds of artistic. Are they trying to turn our children into French Impressionists? Visible brush strokes, unmixed colors, capturing the natural changing qualities of light? Is this how we want our children raised? No sir, this is America and if they're going to be any sort of Impressionists it is going to be Freedom Impressionists. But why would J. Crew want to create a generation of French Impressionists? Well, what happens when you paint? You get paint on your clothes, you ruin them, and you have to buy more clothes. You're sly, Mr. Crew, but I'm onto you.

Or is this something about sailors? Are they trying to get our children to join the Navy? Has the United States Navy paid J. Crew to create fashionable nautical friendly attire to inspire our children to enlist 15 to 20 years from now. Or is J. Crew still trying to promote gender ambiguity, not through nail polish, but through sailor suits. Striped shirt = sailor = Navy = In the Navy = Village People = mustaches = gay sex. Is that what you're up to J. Crew!? Is it!? IS IT!?

Most likely. I can't see how it's not.

If J. Crew is trying to send some sort of message, French Impressionism and any of this is just as likely as transgendered lifestyles.

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