I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised at Dr. Keith Ablow's recent commentary about J. Crew's Creative Director, Jenna Lyons. He clearly has a thing for her. Remember when she painted her son's toes neon pink? Remember when he stated that this image was part of a transgender agenda and would surely lead the little boy into years of therapy? Remember when Ablow made the link that boys wearing pink would make them question their gender identity? No? Okay, here it is. And here is my original response to his preposterous claims.
I thought that after Toemaggedon 2011 (coined by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show), this would all just go away. However, Jenna Lyons is back on Ablow's radar because she is getting divorced and currently dating... wait for it... a woman. Yes, Jenna Lyons is dating a woman. Does this now make her a lesbian? Does this make her bisexual? Who knows. And really, who cares?
Oh, Keith Ablow cares. And his care for her has caused him once again to evaluate the issue of the pink toenails. According to Ablow, Lyons' new relationship is disturbing:
What it says is that my worry that Ms. Lyons might be expressing her own discomfort with masculinity and projecting it onto her son -- and mine, and yours -- seems to have been justified.
Wait. What? Having a relationship with a woman means that you're uncomfortable with masculinity? Hold on, what is this, the Stone Age? Are we still making the assertion that lesbians hate men and gay men hate women? What about bisexuals? Do they love everyone or hate them? This line of thinking (perpetuated by a media Medical Correspondent) is factually incorrect, dangerous, and in this case, misogynistic. He gives so little credit to women that he assumes that one failed relationship with a man would make us despise all that is male. Oh, and did I happen to mention that Ablow makes sure that his readers know that Lyons was the "breadwinner" in her marriage? Obviously she's a power hungry woman who wants to put men in their place and this example of challenging traditional gender roles is exactly what Ablow wants to stamp out. Don't believe me? Read it for yourself:
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.
Last time I checked, boys are different than girls, Keith. They have different genital and reproductive anatomy. They also have different amounts of testosterone and estrogen. So I'm not really sure what you're getting at. More importantly, let me pose the following question: What on earth does it mean to look like a boy, act like a boy, and feel like a boy? This idea that there is one very limited expression of boyishness and (eventually)masculinity will cripple our society. It will perpetuate stereotypes, the sexual double standard, homophobia, transphobia, and gender inequality of all kinds. Hair length, clothing color, preferred hobby, does not change whether or not someone has testicles and a penis or a vulva and vagina. Nor does it mean that one has issues with their gender identity. It means that for this brief moment in time, this is what one likes. That may change tomorrow or it may change ten years from now or it may never change.
In the end, I am more than uncomfortable with Ablow's statements. I am frightened by the notion that there is one "right" way to be. Hasn't history already taught us that this is a deadly line of thinking?
Follow Dr. Logan Levkoff on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LoganLevkoff