Remember when Fox News accused J.Crew‘s Jenna Lyons of encouraging America’s young to disassociate themselves from their gender roles because she painted her son’s toenails pink? Well, now the news organization is trying to use the news of her rumored lady lover Courtney Crangi as proof that she has “discomfort with masculinity.” I would like to tell you why that’s bullshit.
When Lyons appeared painting her son’s toenails hot pink in a J.Crew catalog last April, Fox News‘ medical correspondent Dr. Keith Ablow (a psychiatrist who believes that being transgendered “is an exact parallel” to diseases like heroin addiction), wrote that she was willfully visiting “psychological turmoil” upon her son — and upon the millions of children who might see the photo of a boy doing something so downright girly.
Now that it’s been reported that Lyons is divorcing her husband of nine years Vincent Mazeau, and has entered a new relationship with Crangi, a jewelry executive who happens to have a vagina, Ablow says that his original theory was right. In his view, Lyons’ lesbian relationship proves that her agenda includes “promulgating her perspectives on gender roles having no value.” Ablow writes:
See, I don’t think it’s so terrible that boys are different than girls. I think it’s just fine, in fact, that a central supporting beam of the architecture of most boys’ senses of self is that they look like boys and act like boys and feel like boys. I don’t think that’s pathological. But I think that Jenna Lyons—and maybe J. Crew—would disagree with me.
But that’s the thing: I’m not so sure they would disagree. Lyons has built her career — not to mention the $3 billion business that J.Crew has become — by designing clothing that line up pretty squarely with what most people think of as “guy clothes” and “girl clothes.” Her aesthetic, both personal and design-wise, seems to suggest that men should look dress like men and women should dress like women. She wears dresses and colorful skirts and high heels and bright red lipstick — and so do her women customers. Her men’s clothing, meanwhile, is pretty sturdy, masculine stuff that tends toward the tweedy, hard-wearing, plaid-covered manliness of traditional men’s clothing — and we’ve seen pictures of Beckett wearing these duds. These are not the kinds of garments someone who is confused by or uncomfortable with gender roles designs and stands behind for a living.
So while it’s pretty clear to us that the whole toe-painting scandal was really just a mom having fun with her son, it’s also clear that that toe-painting isn’t tied to an anti-gender crusade — least of all because Lyons is currently, as far as I can tell for the first time in her life, dating a woman. That’s just crazy talk. Lyon’s personal life (including who she dates and how she raises her son) has nothing to do with J.Crew’s mission to influence the children. All they really want kids to do is ask their parents for more striped socks.