JCrew: Gender Warriors?

I just did something I almost never do – send a letter of SUPPORT to a company. I know… wow!

In their recent catalogue, JCrew included an adorable picture of Jenna Lyons, their company president and creative director, painting her son’s toenails neon pink. And then the internets freaked out, writing about how she was promoting a transgender agenda, a gay agenda, recruiting, damaging her child, blah blah blah. All the freakout things the people who say these things like to say. I’m not going to repost or go into it, and I’ll leave the rebuttal to other commentators (including this awesome bit on The Daily Show).

Previously, I’ve had mixed feelings about JCrew, mostly stemming from the fact that I don’t understand why I find their WASP-fantasia so incredibly appealing. And I still do (have mixed feelings). It’s not like their clothes suddenly got larger sized or more affordable, nor have they become a bastion of gender-liberation. Clothes on the kid’s site are divided into “Boy” and “Girl,” and like most mass retailers this season they are pushing the ballerina look big time for the girls. But still. I know they are getting TONS of critical press and TONS of ugly letters. And I wanted to support images that celebrate boys having fun with accessories, make-up, style, etc. So I wrote the letter below. If you want to write one too, try contactus at jcrew.com.

Dear People of JCrew,

I’m writing to send you hugs and kisses. I love your stylish but classic clothes. I love that you sell ties with embroidered whales on them. I love your “weddings and parties” dresses – my sister is getting married in July, and you will not believe the relief I felt when she sent all of us bridesmaids a link to your website as a starting point for dress shopping. But above all, I love that you recently showcased a photo of your creative director/company president a mom painting her son’s toenails pink.

I know you’re probably getting a lot of hate mail for this one! After all, it came to my attention via a slew of blogs and newspaper articles criticizing her for promoting transgenderism. At the risk of sounding flip… WHATEVER! I don’t know any child who doesn’t love to play dress up, and I believe that supporting our children in their fullest expressions of selves is key to their longterm happiness. (His glasses are cute too!)

For all of the flack you might be getting right now, I bet that most of your target demographic (stylish people who secretly dream of hanging out at a clambake even though they have high-pressure jobs nowhere near the sea – yes, I’m describing my mid-western self) wouldn’t even have paid any attention to this photo except to smile. And frankly, because of this controversy, I’m paying more attention to your offerings this season. Partly out of spite, and partly because my 2 year old daughter finally fits into the Crew Cut line.

Keep it up!