In praise of sons who wear skirts, and the fathers who love them
A recent story popularized by Gawker tells the story of a German father who was spotted wearing a skirt.
This doesn't sound all that interesting, until you learn that the aforementioned father was wearing a skirt so that his son, who likes to wear dresses, can feel good about his wardrobe choices.
Via Gawker: "I didn't want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts," Pickert tells the German feminist magazine EMMA. "He didn't make friends in doing that in Berlin already and after a lot of contemplation I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself. Now[...]he's simply smiling, when other boys ( and it's nearly always boys) want to make fun of him and says: "You only don't dare to wear skirts and dresses because your dads don't dare to either." That's how broad his own shoulders have become by now. And all thanks to daddy in a skirt."
This reminds me of something I saw recently. I was at my niece's fourth birthday party. There were five kids there, all girls, save for one boy. The boy was about three and was having fun playing with the toys, having cake and ice cream. He also liked to push my niece's toy vacuum cleaner around the house. When it was time for presents, my niece received a gift of a collection of "princess" dresses. She tore open the box, begging to be allowed to put on the dresses "right now!"
My sister acquiesced, but only on the condition that she let the other girls at the party wear the dresses, too. Well, the little boy felt a little left out of the festivities and asked to put on a dress, too. Without skipping a beat, the boy's father helped the boy put on the princess gown. He put on the accompanying tiara, smiled, picked up the vacuum and posed for a picture with the rest of the princesses.
I sent my sister a message to relay to the boy's parents.I can't tell you how much it meant to me to see *'s dad help him put on a dress. I know it seems like a trivial thing -- as it should be, I think -- but the fact that *'s parents thought it was great, creative, productive, inclusive and normal to let * express himself in whatever way he saw fit -- whether they fit binary gender norms or not -- was amazing to me.
There are great parents out there. And they should be praised.