Lincoln has pink toenails.
You know what? He’s still a boy, and whatever he grows up to be will not be because I painted his toenails pink when he was one.
Linc asks me to paint his nails when I’m painting mine and sometimes when I’m not (when he finds that nail polish bottle). He thinks it’s fun. I’m not going to deny him this fun because it’s not what he’s supposed to do. Ugh, I hate that phrase—supposed to do.
Earlier this year J. Crew had a photo of a mom painting he son’s toenails pink and some people had a problem with it. Some experts said (and not in a good way) the ad “celebrates transgendered children” and it’s an example of how we’re being “encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity.”
Ever since my mom said I couldn’t play drums in third grade because it was a “boy’s instrument” and dragged me kicking and screaming toward the flute, I’ve always wondered why people think this stuff defines our gender identity and/or sexual preference. It’s the drums!! It’s nail polish!! (Later, my parents changed my life and got me a guitar. My mom said it was OK because it was a “feminine guitar” shaped like a star. That makes me laugh every time I think of it.)
To be clear, I’m not someone who’s into challenging people or doing the opposite of what society expects of me all the time. I do what I want, and I hope you do the same. What an awful life it would be to not be able to do the (legal) things you wanted to do if you had the opportunity because it wasn’t what was expected of you.
If Linc asks for a dress or a Tinker Bell lunch box (as one of my friends said his son did), I don’t know what I’d do. It depends on the situation I guess. If I did say no, it would be more to protect him from what others would say (particularly school mates) than trying to prevent some gender confusion (what does that even mean?).
For right now, this is what’s going on and it’s OK. Really—it’s OK!
Linc’s pink nails will not lead him to a certain lifestyle that he wouldn’t have had if I didn’t paint his nails, and I do not “need” a girl (that’s so weird that people say that). I’m not hurting him, and he has no idea right now what his “role” is as a boy—so I’m painting his nails because he loves it. I want my boy to be happy.
Erin Hill is a first-time mom to Lincoln, who was born in January 2010. She's learning as she goes and is experiencing everything a new mom goes through while seeing the humor, irony, and enjoyment in her adventures.
Erin is a full-time technical writer and features freelance writer in her "spare time." She lives in Plum with Lincoln, her husband, Adam, their dog, Roxie, and five (yes, five) cats, Nirvana, Gary Roberts, Elvis, Talbot and Forrest.