(NEW YORK) -- A mother paints her son's toenails hot pink because it's his favorite color. Does that mean he'll become gay or transgender?
That is the controversy surrounding a J. Crew ad that is swirling around the Internet.
It began when a photo of J. Crew's president and creative director Jenna Lyons painting the toenails of her son Beckett in an ad was sent to customers last week in a feature, "Saturday with Jenna."
"Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink," says the caption. "Toenail painting is way more fun in neon."
Social conservatives reacted with outrage. Fox News' Dr. Keith Ablow ran an opinion piece on the issue and Erin Brown of the right-leaning Media Research Center called the ad "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children."
"Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow, Jenna's indulgence (or encouragement) could make life hard for the boy in the future," Brown wrote. "J. Crew, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics."
Reaction to the reaction was appalled at the notion that the child was being "turned" gay or transgender.
One of Brown's online readers wrote, "A small child, with no secondary sexual characteristics, cannot be considered 'transgendered' or even a transvestite. On the other hand, a fully grown person such as yourself can definitely be considered a small-minded a**hole."
Another noted that Speaker of the House John Boehner loves pink ties -- does that make him gay?
Advocacy groups are also fighting back, calling the reaction to the ad "ridiculous."
"This is not how the world works and not how children work, and not even how trans advocacy works," said Mara Keisling, executive director of National Center for Transgender Equality.
"Complaints about the ad are totally blown out of proportion," she said. "It's just a cute ad with a cute mom-and-son scene and the kid wants to wear pink nail polish...It could be the kids just wants to spend time with his mom."
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio