In the US, the painting of a young boy’s toenails with pink nail polish by his mother, in promotional material for J. Crew (a clothing company) has created a furore in conservative America. An article outlining this outrage can be found here.
Conservative proponents have expressed concern that such “nontraditional activities … can be destructive and damaging to a child’s identity and self-esteem”, with one psychiatriat even suggesting that the mother should be putting aside money for future counselling treatment for her son.
However, it seems to me that the problem here is not the mother, it is these conservative groups who push their own views of what they restrictively think is the “right” behaviour for each gender. Indeed, I suspect that this abhorence from conservative groups is more about homophobia and the erroneous belief that pink nail polish might result in the son growing up to be gay.
Yes, there are some gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered teens who end up needing therapy. But I think that need for therapy speaks a lot more about how these groups are treated by society (and particularly by conservative groups) and less about what they did as a child.
In complaining about a perceived problem these groups are creating much bigger problems with bigotry, homophobia and intolerance.