Guest Post: Josh Copeland // @jbcopeland
It's just one month's catalog - April 2011. It's just one photo in almost 100 pages of photos. It's just one casual moment captured in a mom's day. And yet, it has become this lightening rod of contention about the broad subject of gender roles & heteronormativity -- a big fancy word for boys playing with trucks and girls playing with dolls.
The "mom" in the catalog photo above happens to be JCrew's President & Creative Director Jenna Lyons. And the boy in the photo happens to be her son...wearing pink nail polish.
- Fox News equates this picture with JCrew encouraging humanity to abandon all trappings of gender identity.
- The Media Research Center decries it as blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.
One photo in one catalog from a clothing maker.
I consider it a happy moment between a mom and her kid. A random Saturday-morning-hanging-out moment. Why does it have to boil up and over to JCrew leading the extinction of the human race? It's moments like these that surprise me that society actually does notice what's done in marketing. Occasionally one creative decision made by one person (or a small team) really does lead to having all kinds of conversations about touchy subjects. Even if that's not at all what was intended.
JCrew's photo of Jenna and her son is a nice fuck-you to anyone who freaks out at the notion of anything outside the "norms" of what's expected. JCrew's catalog photo inspires me to think twice about using "typical" situations for product photography. It inspires me to be more authentic, casual and take life less seriously.
Who decided what was right for boys anyway? In the 1920s, ads for department stores depicted boys wearing pink
(not blue) and a few hundred years ago, men wore wigs, tights and powdered their faces.