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Is it wrong to paint your son's nails bright pink?

This picture from shows the company’s creative director, Jenna Lyons, applying flamingo-tinted nail polish to her five-year-old son’s toenails.

Don't be fooled by the racks of sensible merino crewneck sweaters and shelves of pressed chinos at apparel retailer J.Crew. There is something wildly flamboyant lurking beneath the company's clean-cut image: a gender-bending agenda!

Yes, it's time to take your business elsewhere if you want to protect your kids, say the usual crop of conservative commentators in the United States.

According to the New York Daily News, they've taken offence to a photo on the J.Crew website that features the company's creative director, Jenna Lyons, applying flamingo-tinted polish to her five-year-old son's toenails. The photo is captioned, "Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favourite colour is pink."

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Sinister, right?

In a op-ed, psychologist Dr. Keith Ablow says, "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."

He says the toenail painting is an example of a cultural shift towards abandoning "all trappings of gender identity" - a move he says could be dangerous since its outcome is not known.

Erin Brown from the conservative Media Research Center said the ad was "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children," according to ABC News.

But on Twitter, the overwhelming sentiment was a little different.

"much ado about nothing," tweeted @insanemomposse.

"J.Crew has always toyed with gender boundaries in style, colour and fit … why is this shocking and/or wrong?" wrote @joeyrqueue.

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On a related note, if you noticed a surfeit of flamingo-clad students at your child's school today don't assume it was J.Crew's operatives at work (at least not this time). Today also happens to be So What Speak Out day, on which students are encouraged to wear pink shirts pink shirts to take a symbolic stand against bullying. The idea grew out of a few students in Nova Scotia wearing pink tees in solidarity with a student who'd been bullied for his choice in attire.

Sinister indeed.

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About the Author

Dakshana Bascaramurty is a national news reporter who writes about race and ethnicity. She won a 2013 National Newspaper Award in beat reporting for her coverage of changing demographics in the 905 region. Previously, she was a feature writer for Globe Life. More

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