Should a five-year-old boy wear a dress?
One German father is backing his son’s desire to wear dresses by doing the same thing — donning women’s attire.
In an essay published in German magazine Emma, Nils Pickert explains that his son’s attire is nothing new, but when the family relocated from West Berlin to a smaller city in southern Germany, Pickert’s son’s clothes become somewhat of an issue.
Pickert’s son opted to forgo dresses not long after starting at a new school. Worried about how that could wreak havoc to the young Pickert’s self-esteem, the elder Pickert decided he needed to do something about it.
"I didn't want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts," Pickert wrote in an essay that was translated to English via this Tumblr account.
"He didn't make friends doing that in Berlin … so 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."
A photo of daddy and son walking through town wearing dresses has made the rounds online, including in this Yahoo story.
Blogs and magazine websites seem to have offered nothing but praise for Pickert’s actions. Gawker even referred to the daring dad as “father of the year.”
Pickert says he’s “not one of those academic daddies that ramble about gender equality during their studies and then, as soon as a child’s in the house, still relapse into those fluffy gender roles.”
So what do you think? If your young boy wanted to wear girl’s clothing to school or elsewhere in public, would you support his desire?
I don’t know a father who wouldn’t stick up for their kid who was being bullied, but I’m hard-pressed to find a dad who would don a skirt regularly in public for their kid.
It was heartwarming seeing the photo of Pickert and his son holding hands wearing dresses. I’d like to believe a father would do anything for his child, even if it meant being … different than the norm — whatever the norm is.
This story made me think of a big hullabaloo around Halloween in 2010 in which a then-five-year-old boy dressed as Daphne from “Scooby-Doo.”
In a blog post about the incident, the little boy’s mother wrote: "Two mothers went wide-eyed and made faces as if they smelled decomp...Mom A says in disgust, "Did he ask to be that?!" I say that he sure did as Halloween is the time of year that you can be whatever it is that you want to be...And then Mom C approaches [and says that] I should never have 'allowed' this and thank God it wasn't next year when he was in Kindergarten since I would have had to put my foot down and 'forbidden' it."
She later writes, “If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.”
Is it a double standard? Girls can wear football jerseys, dress as Batman for Halloween and wear blue, but a little boy can’t dress as a female cartoon character for Halloween or wear a dress if he chooses on any other day of the year?
I regularly wear pink polo shirts, pink button-up shirts, pink board shorts, pink socks … and yes, even pink underwear. While many folks compliment my fashion decision, many others have made comments about my pink attire. I wasn’t aware women had a trademark on the color pink.
Does Crayola know this?
Conversely, pink clothes and items for professional sports teams are no different.
Why are we to believe that just because a fan is a woman, she wants to wear a pink Pittsburgh Steelers jersey? Can she not wear the team’s official colors of black and gold?
Seeing a boy wear a dress might look odd if you’ve never seen that before, but it makes him no less of a human being than anyone else. Likewise for a boy who wants to be Daphne or a twenty-something (or any age!) man who wants to wear pink polo shirts. If we’re striving for gender equality and a world with no bullying, we’ve got to look past these archaic beliefs. Besides, life is much more fun in color than black and white.
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