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April 16th, 2011
03:37 AM ET

J. Crew Ad Stirs Controversy with Pink Toenails


There's been a lot of talk about this new J. Crew ad featuring the son of one of the company's designers. In the ad he's sitting with mom, and you notice that his toenails are painted pink. There's been a lot of buzz about the 5-year old boy, and the toe painting. If J. Crew wanted to get people talking, it worked. But is it as offensive as some say? Or is it just a pleasant family moment?

We want to know what you think. Post your comments, and we'll read some of them on the air. Be sure to tune in for CNN Saturday Morning with TJ Holmes, starting at 6am ET.

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soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Meg

    Offensive? How?

    Kids love to do things with mom. If he'd like his toes painted, what's wrong with that?

    If ANYONE somehow thinks this is going to turn a boy gay, then why isn't the gay agenda "get into caregiver positions and paint boy's toenails."

    When my son was about 5, a girl playmate decided to paint his toenails. He grudgingly allowed her. He's 18, he's fine, he has the majority identity and orientiation.... And his dad's a crossdresser!

    April 16, 2011 at 6:08 am |
  2. Krista

    You have got to be kidding me right? With all of the economic issues and devastation in this country this is what we are focusing our attention on.... Really?

    April 16, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  3. Mary Gajewski

    I really do not feel that there is anything wrong with the pink nail polish. Honestly we all should be more concerned with how we treat and support one another. I work with children who frequently come from homes where they may not be provded with love, support and care, so they would be happy to experience the tenderness depicted in the models in the photo of this ad, no matter what color the polish was!

    PS- TJ, I truly enjoy your reporting style and although I tune in on the weeends, I miss you on American Morning! Why, oh why did you leave? Weekday mornings are now a giggle fest and this is NOT what I look for!

    April 16, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  4. Conny

    It is very interesting to see what will spark controversy but it seems to make some people very uncomfortable to see a little boy with pink painted toe nails. Do these people understand that there are adult heterosexual men who get manicures and pedicures weekly?

    April 16, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  5. Richard

    People who find this upsetting must be the same people who think sexual opientation is a choice. I think it was wonderful to see a mother and son having fun together.

    April 16, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  6. Jackson

    People who are upset by this ad are just plain silly! Why do so many people demand that we adhere to their idea of what is masculine or feminine? People act like God assigned gender to material items. I don't think she did. OOPS! I probably just offended all those silly people who demand that we believe that God is male.

    April 16, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  7. Travis

    To be honest hes 5 Years old.. who cares if he has pink toe nail polish on.. he doesnt know the difference.. lets face it folks this isnt the 1950s.. its not uncommon to see little boys playing with Barbie dolls and playing house ..

    April 16, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  8. Lisa Rose

    big deal! i painted my boys' toenails all the time when they were little. neither one of them turned out gay... but so what if they did? i love my kids no matter what. people are too homophobic. they need to get over it.

    April 16, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  9. Fred Amusavi

    Let boys be boys and girls be girls. J Crew should have used a girl. America has been busy "womanizing boys – changing boys to girls/women" for decades and this has to stop.

    April 16, 2011 at 7:04 am |
  10. Lyle

    Give me a break. Don't you remember being a kid or having them. It's play, it's about doing something with mom. Those of you who are upset with this should relax and stop sweating the small stuff. What are you afraid of ? Look up the term Homophobe and examine why you feel this way about the ad.

    April 16, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  11. Bob Martin

    Fussing over a boy with toenail polish? Really? Much more disturbing is the story that followed on air this morning – the mother who was teaching her child to steal!! Where are peoples' priorities? When men started wearing earrings, people went crazy! Now it is widely accepted without questioning one's sexuality. Believe it or not, the little boy will be more scarred by the outrageous, ridiculous comments from the so called "righteous" than by a few hours with pink toenails!!

    April 16, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  12. Mike

    The positive relationship between parent and child should be celebrated! I painted my fingernails red when I was a young boy and I never gave it a second married, a grandad, 30 years of military service.... boys will be boys...Maybe we need to ask ourselves if we are too sensitive, and what does that indicate?

    April 16, 2011 at 7:13 am |
  13. ThePlayerKing

    2 Things- First is it a boy or a girl playing the part of a boy. Second- What biz is it of any1's to tell another person on what to do with his or her body. If this bothers people then ask them what they are hiding that this brings out their anger over this. A little kid doing what they want. Oh bad kids lol.

    April 16, 2011 at 7:15 am |
  14. ed jeffery

    Oh come on people, this should not have even been aired on the news. So what if this mother painted his toe nails pink, it's showing a mother and child bonding. It doesn't mean that he will ever grow up gay.

    April 16, 2011 at 7:39 am |
  15. Deb

    Lighten up out there! Honestly, I think people are just too stuck on symbols that belong in another era. Who says pink is just for girls anyway? Mom and son are sharing a moment of love, the son has no pre-disposed ideas about what is "socially" acceptable. He just thinks it's cool that Mom painted his toes. So what if pink is the only color she has available; he doesn't care, it could have been yellow or blue or green... The point of focus is the moment of love that has been shared by Mother and Son.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:05 am |
  16. Margaret

    I agree with Meg. How can this be offensive! It amazes me how crazy some people are getting about what they believe to be offensive or wrong.

    April 16, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  17. Loretta

    When a little girls draws a mustache on their lip to be like daddy nobody seems to freak out. This is much ado about nothing. Making it a big deal is what will cause the kid a problem.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  18. Paul

    It's just teaching boys that's it's okay to wear nail polish...

    it's setting up boys to be teased and bullied at school. Not to mention it's giving boys the idea to like girl colors

    There is no reason why boys should be wearing nail polish. and if they do, it should not be pink.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  19. Eric

    Nobody is freaking out about the J Crew ads...except for the media. Please stop trying to turn non-issues into issues and get a rise out of the public. We don't care anymore. Let it go and stop trying to divide us.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  20. hani

    Thats wrong,

    April 16, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  21. Sarah

    Seriously! People need to come up with other things to find offensive! What little boy has not seen his mommy painting her nails and not been curious? I think it's cute bonding time between a mother and son, and polish can be taken off as easily as it can be put on!

    April 16, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  22. Gloria Lambie

    TJ, honestly, I feel CNN is giving J Crew free advertinsing.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  23. Jane Greenberg

    this is not related to toenails(think it is non issue) BUT have been wanting to say how IMPRESSED i I am with Mr.Holmes !!!! Just read the wiki. report of his reporting backround. And aside from all of that he is one SHARP dresser. He is a doll!

    April 16, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  24. Rose Henderson

    It is not offensive to me in the least bit. My interest is what is his parents thoughts on this. They are the one shaping this young man's life, so it is them who exerts the biggest influence over Him. I am sure what the concern is and why this question was asked, so I will cut the chase and say "PINK TOENAILS DO NOT NECESSARILY A GAY CHILD PRODUCE. LET THE ISSUE DIE DOWN. THERE ARE MORE SERIOUS MATTERS NEEDING ATTENTION.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  25. Kate

    It's not unusual for preschool-age boys to want nail polish on their nails when they see their moms using it. The experts who claim that it has an effect on gender role choices are misinformed on this one and I would not seek their counsel about anything – their credibility is gone in my book. I am a 63 yr. old well-educated mother and grandmother of boys and my experience is that little kids like drawing, painting & artwork – and this falls in that category.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  26. Max B

    What else would they show? Maybe the mother isn't very smart, so won't be showing him how to do math. But she's not a criminal, so not showing him how to smoke crack or selling him to her dealer. Of course it's another mindless American ad.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  27. Pete

    Give the family a break. Tight butts are making us second guess moments that are innocent and truly wonderful..too bad they have to be shared with people that can only see the negatives.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  28. Jon

    Granted she should not be polishing his toes but get real. A boy having his nails polished will not affect his sexual orientation. That is determined at birth. It may help him to enjoy having his nails polished but isn't that his choice?

    April 16, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  29. Paula

    Just tuned in, sorry if this has been said before. Homosexuality is an inherited trait. Painting tonails pink, playing with your sister's doll, if you are a little boy, or playing dress up in your dad's clothes if you are a little girl, do not cause homosexuality. As a matter of fact, not making a big deal of it to a child is teaching them to value the oposite sex and to understand more about them.

    I guess playing the cowboy with my friends played Indians should have made me want to be a boy and to kill those who I don't know or understand. I think not.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  30. Danny Brack

    I doubt this is going to influence the boy in a negative way. My brother used to play in my sisters' doll house all day and had to be pried away from the dollies. He ended up quite possibly rivaling Wilt Chamberlain in terms of female conquests. This is one of those situations where people fear something they don't understand and nothing more. Now, if the boy progresses to hot pink lipstick, Joan Crawford pumps, and a pink boa maybe we should have another look.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  31. Sue Engelbrecht

    Little boys, just like little girls, around 4-5 years of age LOVE to play dressup. A small boy sees his mom painting her toenails or finger nails and asks, "Can I have some?" If mom is smart, she says yes! This is totally normal! Don't make an issue of it and it passes. The time to worry is when he's 13 and still wearing colored nail polish!

    April 16, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  32. Leslie

    The ad states that pink is the boy's favorite color. Both of my sons liked pink for a while when they were pre-schoolers. Orange and green also took turns as favorites during that time. Blue wasn't a favorite until they hit kindergarten or later. Pink and other bright colors are more appealing to preschool children than the duller blues. Liking pink and owning pink items had no influence on their sexual identities.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  33. Kristy

    I think the issue with this ad, much like the issues we have with most things, should make us look at ourselves. If you see something wrong with this, maybe you need to ask yourself why..why you'd put your adult misgivings on a child.

    April 16, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  34. roseadelaide

    To all the pink toenail freaks: GET A LIFE!!!!!!

    April 16, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  35. carla Mahnken-Woolf

    If the kid was 7 years old or older, there would be some justification for gender related issues and activities. However, up until the age of about 6, the whole point of cognitive development is to experience interactive learning with parents and caretakers without any subjective judgments – WHY? Because the highest function of human intelligence is intuition AND intuition requires non-judgmental processing and objective observation. This is significant, because 90% of our intuitive learning and foundational intuitive processing is established by the age of 5. Therefore, since young children under the age of 6 are predominantly unable to make hypothetical judgments – naturally consistent with the preschool brain's open-ended learning structure, creating the foundation for ALL subsequent cognitive learning processes – it is ludicrous for us adults to make judgments about how this will influence or affect preschoolers when they are judging nothing. Anyone making criticisms about the influence of such an activity on a preschooler knows nothing about how preschoolers learn, or how the brain is processing learning activities at that stage. It is still the emotional interaction that children experience with parents that will establish how children will progress and achieve throughout their lives. I think we have all learned enough by now to know that emotional intelligence is the foundation of all intelligence. Judgment requires reasoning (a frontal lobe development taking place during the teen years) – and "reasoning" requires objective intuitive processing. Reasoning is only the highest form of adult intelligence when it is intuitive.

    April 16, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  36. Shawn

    I feel bad for the kid. Just because we are free to do almost anything we want, and just because we're over obsessed with being politically correct, doesn't mean we should constantly stray from the social norms. Soon we'll have no meaning of the word "tradition".

    April 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  37. Travis Jones

    I grew up with family friends putting me in dresses and putting on make up. I am a well adjusted heterosexual man. I don't have any identity issues and even allow my 5 year old to wear pink, or dresses if he wants. I don't understand why we are so rigid in our gender assignment ideas. Pink toe nails on a boy? Who really thinks this makes a difference?

    April 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  38. Susan McIntyre

    Why is pink only for girls? Why is blue for boys? In these times do we have to think that pink nail polish is wrong for a young male child who is sharing a momen with his mom? i think its sweet.

    April 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  39. Rachael Takei

    I am appalled that CNN and other networks consider this news. The picture was adorable. That's it.

    April 17, 2011 at 10:32 pm |

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