a voice of reason

April 17, 2011

family life

As a family we loved watching The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. That is until some wise person somewhere decided to take it off the telly. Two funny, smart American men critically analysing American media and culture. The interviews that they conduct are humourous but respectful. We Aussies love to see Americans anyone poking fun at Americans. We really miss these shows, and have had to resort to nefarious means to view them.

On the 13th of April, Jon Stewart of The Daily Show heaped masses of criticism onto the American networks that made a HUGE deal of the following picture…

The “fuss” was about the mother painting the child’s (a boy) toenails pink. Apparently, it makes boys gay. Didn’t you know?

I personally dislike nail polish on any human, but my boys play with dolls and prams, and a dolls house, and they dress up. And they like pink. We are a non-gender stereotyping household. If I catch my boys saying something stereotypical about anyone, I ask “are you gender stereotyping again?”. My five-year-old sighs and says “yes mum, I am”. I feel sorry for my kids sometimes.

Anyway, see what Jon Stewart said about it here…


or, if you can’t view the above video, here it is on YouTube…


A voice of reason. Long live Jon Stewart!!!!

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About hakea

groupworker, parent educator, therapist, mother of three boys.

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17 Comments on “a voice of reason”

  1. InsideJourneys Says:

    I miss them too, hakea!
    I could look forward to hearing a bit of sanity into the otherwise crazy discourse on culture. Miss them a lot.


    • hakea Says:

      Hi Marcia

      I think they are on pay tv now.

      You can catch up with video clips and full episodes from the website http://www.thedailyshow.com/ but you need a fast connection for the episodes.


      • InsideJourneys Says:

        Thanks, Narelle. Will definitely have to catch them then.

        I had to log off very quickly last night because my laptop needed to be charged — I was already on red when I wrote. But wanted to comment on the main topic of your piece.

        A friend of mine and I had looked into the idea of going to FESPACO – the PanAfrican film and television festival in Burkina Faso this year – but she chickened out when the situation in the Ivory Coast started to bubble. That was back in January. It’s only now become news in the US — at least it was when I left last week. It might have been pushed to the back burner by Charlie Sheen’s latest antics.

        I’m glad to hear that your 5 y-o understand this. It is parents like you who will make sure children know that the world is multi-everything and everyone counts.

      • hakea Says:

        Hi Marcia

        At least when they show Charlie Sheen carrying on like a twerp, I can say to the kids “see that’s what drugs and alcohol do to people”!

        My 5 y-o is gender-confused and I haven’t even painted his nails. He says he hates girls but counts some girls as his best friends. When I say Caitlin and Amy are girls. He tells me in a matter of fact way that they are not girls, they are boys. So I’m not sure I’m doing all that well really!

    • InsideJourneys Says:

      Hahaha, Narelle, there could be some quality that he sees in them that reminds him boys. Plus, at that age, aren’t they still recognizing/sorting out differences?

      I just think that most people who are enlightened are passing on the right message – that their children are loved and wanted whether they want to wear pink nail polish or not!



  2. kidspartyheaven Says:

    I’m still amazed at how much attention this one picture is getting. I’m not so much offended by the content of the picture (its pink, it’s just a colour , get over it already) but by the fact that the woman who took it knew EXACTLY what she was doing when she took it and her agenda behind it. She was being provocative in order to create a buzz around whatever she was promoting and personally I think it is a cheap shot.

    There are so many more serious issues that could have been dealt with here but we all just fuss that pink toe nails makes a boy gay.
    Even if it did ( just playing devils absurd advocate here) I’d say so what!


    • hakea Says:

      Hi there!

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      If that was J Crew’s intention, then that’s what they got. I’m glad they did it, because we need more debates like this. Maybe I’m a radical, but I think we need extremes so we can find a middle ground. I’m also glad for Jon Stewart.

      Here in Australia, I’m not sure that anyone would have even noticed it. I was surprised when I saw the clips on The Daily Show of the networks beating up the story. Australia is about 10 years behind America. I hope we never get to that stage, but I suspect we are already headed down that track, with ‘current affairs’ shows reporting trashy headlining stories and our ‘news’ services reporting on supermodels and singers rather than the floods in Pakistan (a Pakistani friend of mine told me that the floods killed about 200,000 people, but who knew?).


  3. kidspartyheaven Says:

    I’m a Londoner, so like you, I’m glad this really didn’t make the press here either. Only came to light in this very US biased blogging world. And as my fella says, people in the States don’t really get what goes on in the rest of the world so therefore it doesn’t really matter or exist.

    And believe it or not, I identify as a radical too, a radical feminist. Don’t get me started on things like breastfeeding and how marginalised women are who choose to feed their babies the natural way…

    I just don’t like real kids being used as part of an ideology/social experiment in whatever arena but I can see why you appreciate the debate. It still really upsets me when I see the volume of small minded responses though, I can never quite get over how so many people can live in such a trivial bubble of a world.
    Thanks for stopping by on my blog btw!


    • hakea Says:

      I see your point about using kids in the media. The featured child will get a lot of attention at school.

      Love your work with puppets and storytelling. These are skills I would like to develop. Are there any courses or books you can recommend?


  4. eof737 Says:

    Good for you that your five year old understands the term – gender stereotyping. Hopefully, more of us adults will get on-board and get on with it. Nail polish does not determine/define our orientation. When will we learn?
    As for your beloved show, nothing surprises me… they keep all those reality shows and cancel shows with substance… Oy Vey!


  5. Santo Says:

    Thanks for the link, hakea!

    Yes, the level of hypocrisy over here in North America is staggering. We think nothing of raining bombs down on innocent mothers and children, then get worked up into an insane outrage over a bit of innocent fun.

    Stewart’s last line (where he suggests that that fool is calling Brock Lesnar effeminate) fits right into the twisted mindset on display.


  6. kaet Says:

    I hadn’t come across this story at all, or Jon Stewart, but I think that this has become a big deal is ridiculous. I live in a community with decidedly different clothes for men and women, girls and boys (although thankfully not as much for babies), but even here, if we had any nail varnish at all I’d be happy to let a five-year-old boy try it out (probably happier than a 5yo girl, actually). As Stewart pointed out, it comes right off! (And even if not – it’s on his toes! Slap some socks and/or shoes on his feet and no-one will see to be offended.) I might make sure an older child knew what reactions they might get, but that’s it.

    I know we’re going to have a harder time ridding our daughter and any future children of gender stereotypes when in a society that actively encourages many gendered distinctions, but that’s a task we’re committed to.


    • hakea Says:

      You raised an interesting point Kaet about your culture and gender distinctions.

      Aboriginal culture also has distinct male and female roles with ‘men’s business’ and ‘women’s business’. Traditionally each sex and age had a certain amount of knowledge they were entitled to. Was it exclusion? Or was it honouring their role and place in the group? Depends on which way you look at it, I guess. From the outside it looks strongly patriarchal, but ask any Indigenous male Elder and he will tell you that the women hold all the power.

      It would be interesting to hear your perspective from your culture.


  7. kaet Says:

    That’s a hard one. I’m not knowledgeable enough to try to comment on Aboriginal culture, but for us… I don’t believe the gender distinctions in orthodox Jewish belief and practice are inherently sexist, but I do think some orthodox Jews are, and some of those will attempt to justify that from those distinctions.


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