THE SEX FILES: Christ, It’s Getting So Gay in Here
You might recall back in April, J. Crew’s President Jenna Lyons appeared with her son Beckett in an online newsletter, painting Beckett’s toenails? This fueled the usual anti-gay contingent to protest Lyons, saying she risked “turning” the boy gay or trans; Lyons’ response to such nonsense was “”Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink. Toenail painting is way more fun in neon.”
Now the J. Crew company is featuring a gay employee and his same-sex life partner in their most recent May catalog. This current photo feature, entitled The Highlight Reel: the latest collection, modeled by some of our favorite guys and those they hold nearest and dearest, shows pictures of the company’s staff putting their “money where their fashions are” by modeling Crew’s clothing themselves. In the photo spread of Crew employees-a rather multi-racial lot with equally diverse families-was the controversial one of a gay designer and his significant other.
The photo’s caption reads: “Our designer Somsack and his boyfriend, Micah.” Matter-of-fact, simply stated, but certainly out there for everyone to read.
“Nothing is unintentional in this kind of marketing,” Cathy Renna, the head of LGBT-focused company Renna Communications, said. “As an activist, it’s great to see a diversity of images and to see gay families represented in more regular media.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Companies like Abercrombie & Fitch as well as a slew of others have skirted any alt sexuality issues in their ads when it is only logical to assume they have gay clientèle as well as straight, but straight guys and girls are what ads still play to more often than not. And according to ABC News, the gay community will shell out over $769 billion this year, representing an increasingly larger portion of consumers.
So why is Madison Ave missing the boat?
Do any of us really think pictures/ads can make us suddenly turn gay…or straight even? There are plenty of straight guys still convinced that any play ‘back there,’ with a girl, can turn them gay. There are plenty of theologians, politicians and just plain folk that believe painting your kids toenails or encouraging specific typical gender play activity creates a preference in a child to lean this way or that. And there are plenty of people out among us that believe our sexual preferences are choices we make, like flipping a light switch on or off.
It’s good to see a company as influential as J. Crew come out-as it were-boasting not only a gay couple but all couples and people. Clothes might make the man, but not make the man what he is.