Tag Archives: red herrings

Verum ipsum factum convertuntur

Yesterday I saw a link to an essay by America's Psychiatrist, Dr.Keith Albow (I thought it was Charles Krauthammer too), on Fox News about a little boy who likes pink, and who paints his toenails with his mother.  He writes:

A recent feature in J. Crew's online catalogue portrays designer Jenna Lyons painting her son Beckett’s toe nails hot pink. The quote accompanying the image reads, “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”

Here's the feature.  What's his problem with this?

Yeah, well, it may be fun and games now, Jenna, but at least put some money aside for psychotherapy for the kid—and maybe a little for others who’ll be affected by your “innocent” pleasure.

This is a dramatic example of the way that our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity—homogenizing males and females when the outcome of such “psychological sterilization” [my word choice] is not known.

In our technology-driven world—fueled by Facebook, split-second Prozac prescriptions and lots of other assaults on genuine emotion and genuine relationships and actual consequences for behavior—almost nothing is now honored as real and true.

As far as I can tell, the little kid happens to like pink–and let's assume for the sake of argument he likes to paint his toenails as well.  Kids do that stuff.  So do grown ups. 

This, Dr.Ablow argues, will lead to psychotherapy for the kid and for others.  Don't know about the latter claim there (which others?).  One reason for this–not the one that Ablow is thinking about presumably–is the rigid enforcement of heteronormativity–boys better act like boys, otherwise someone will have to bully them into doing so.  Bullying will lead to psychotherapy for the pink-loving boy and perhaps for the bully. 

But rather than this obvious side-effect of the rich tapestry of humanity story here, Dr.Ablow goes off on a tangent about the "real and the true." 

As far as I know, there is nothing "real and true" about gender color selection.  That is entirely conventional.  Sure it's real and true that people think there's something real and true about these things.  But that's a different matter. 

And if there's anything homogenizing going on here, it's the idea that boys have to wear blue nailpolish.