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J.Crew ad creates conservative backlash April 24, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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A new J.Crew ad featuring a young boy having his toenails painted pink by his mother led to serious protests by conservatives in America. For example, Dr. Keith Ablow wrote an op-ed for Fox News, and claimed, “Yeah, well, it may be fun and games now . . . 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.” He continued, “If you have no problem with the J. Crew ad, how about one in which a little boy models a sundress? What could possibly be the problem with that?” Similar comments by conservatives flooded the internet following the controversy.

Conservatives, however, were almost instantly challenged by advocacy groups calling the reaction “ridiculous.” Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, contended that conservatives saying that J.Crew was promoting a transgendered lifestyle were oversimplifying sexuality. Others called the criticism silly and homophobic. Although J.Crew probably had more supporters than critics, the drama it created was undoubtedly unexpected.

For more on the reaction to J.Crew’s pink toenail ad, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Was J.Crew’s ad too risky for its target audience? Why, or why not?

2.  Were the conservative “culture warriors” at least a little right? In other words, is it wrong to use children as props to advocate alternative values?

3.  Will this controversy hurt J.Crew’s image? Why, or why not?

4.  How should J.Crew have formally responded to the criticism?

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