Friday, April 15, 2011

Nail polish: the gender wrecking ball

Dangerously Cute

The Daily Mail tells me that celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, and Christina Aguilera don't mind indulging their sons' interest in manicures. When questioned by People, J-Lo apparently shrugged and said, "It's just paint." Too true.

It went on to mention a J Crew ad which has thrown some people into a pink and blue tizzy. This "controversial" ad shows Jenna Lyons, the chain's president and creative director, painting her son's toenails neon pink. And here is the shit-storm that followed:

But psychiatrist Dr Keith Ablow told Fox News: 'This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity.

Media commentator Erin Brown of the Media Research Center also had strong views, calling it 'blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.

She wrote: 'Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna's indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future.

'J Crew, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics.'

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Jo B Paoletti, author of Pink and Blue: Telling Boys from Girls in America, thankfully told Fox that everyone is overreacting.

How could nail polish have such dramatic effects on a person's psyche? Apparently it does a bit because this article is sitting in the "Femail" section. Its power is really that explosive to the other sex. As much as I hate to burst the crazy bubble, I must do it. Little lady-girls are not born with magenta fingernails that need to be maintained weekly, lest their little private bits morph into penises (which consequently shrivel with the threat of polish, the color pink, and voting for Hilary Clinton). These gender trappings are just that-- trappings. Things we've created. A whole bunch of nonsense that we like to label as Girl or Boy with indelible stamps. Just as my metaphor is just so much ink, nail polish is so much paint, and only that. It won't turn your boys into girls, or your girls into Kim Kardashian. It's just nail polish, made by us for whoever cares to use it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm gonna get me a pair of Bossypants

So I just finished Tina Fey's book Bossypants, and it made me want to writer her a love letter that would go something like this:

Dear Ms. Fey,

I think you're brilliant. Not only are you smart, lovely, unabashedly feminist, self confident, but you're so funny that I laugh uncontrollably in public while reading Bossypants, or remembering a 30 Rock scene, or one of your sketches on SNL, and everyone thinks I have some sort of undiagnosed but near debilitating social-awkwardness disorder. And that's awesome for me. You are my role model. You and Edna St. Vincent Millay and the fictional character Dixon Bainbridge from the Mighty Boosh have shaped my personal and professional aspirations to an enormous degree. I realized two important things while reading your book: 1. I feel completely and delightfully pleased with the fact that I am a writer, and I want to succeed. And 2. I need to laugh every day because it dramatically changes my mood, and because of this, I think that intelligent and socially-conscious comedy writers like you are doing wonderful, magical things for the world, and I deeply appreciate it.

Also, if you are genuinely seeking a stranger's advice about whether or not you want to have another child, here's mine: Do whatever feels right to you. And if what feels right is to not have any more kids, then don't worry. As an only girl child all grown up, I can report that I'm perfectly happy and well-adjusted. Sure there were times when I thought it might be nice to have a sister, but there were loads more times when I was grateful that it was just me.

I could go on and on about how great you are, and it would probably weird you out. So I'll just say, I love your work, I love your ethos, and I I think you're the business. "You are my heroine. And by heroine I mean 'lady-hero.' I don't want to inject you and listen to jazz."


In conclusion, I think y'all should buy and read Bossypants, and watch 30 Rock every week. It'll make you better.