By now you’ve likely seen the photo. It features a dad in a red skirt holding the hand of his son clad in a red dress.
The German dad, Nils Pickert, wrote an article in a popular German magazine about how he wears women’s clothes (including nail polish) to help his 5-year-old son feel good about going out in dresses and skirts. In the article, Pickert says he chose to become the role model he knew his son needed.
Now, finally, he is reacting to the mostly positive feedback he received when his article, and the photo, went viral.
As Huffington Post reports, Pickert begins by saying “Let me introduce myself: I’m the dad who wears a skirt.” He goes on to explain that he wrote the article and, when the magazine asked for a photo, sent in a few shots. However, on the day the story came out online, Pickert says he happened to be on vacation. Unbeknownst to him someone translated the article and it spread across the world.
Here, in part, is his response:
Of course, the work of teaching our son how to interact with people — and how to get along with society and understand its rules and patterns — is mainly up to his mother and me. But he is my son, not my property. I don’t own him. If there is such a thing as owning a human being, he owns me. I made him, I dreamed of him, I longed for him; now he is in my life, and I am responsible for him as long as there is breath in me. So I teach him the rules and what to do with them. Not every rule makes sense. Some rules tell us to behave with violence and cruelty to other human beings, even if we have a distinct feeling that our actions toward them are wrong. It is not OK for anybody to mess with my son about his outfit. Hence I wear dresses and skirts so that any person who has a problem with that and feels the necessity to express his or her resentments can mess with me.
I love this so much. And everything else Pickert has to say in his article on Huffington Post called Around The World in a Dress and a Skirt. I am so happy to live in a time where so many men, including my husband, aren’t afraid to be who they really are, to act out how they really feel as opposed to conforming to some ancient concept of what it means to be a man. What it means to be a man is to support your child’s interests, their likes and dislikes, without foisting upon them society’s often ridiculous expectations.
As Pickert says, it’s about raising a happy child no matter what society thinks, no matter, even, what we as their parents think about some of their proclivities. “I couldn’t care more about my boy being a happy, self-assured, compassionate person. I couldn’t care less about the choices he makes on the way to becoming that person — as long as they cause no harm to himself or others. The ability to make these choices is his birthright — a right that I should help him to exercise, since I am responsible for his birth.”
More From Monica on Strollerderby:
- Sh!t Our Grandparents Say
- The Way We Live: What Your Fridge Door Says About Your Family (Photos)
- When Classic Turns Trendy: 7 Hottest Girls Names That Have Been Around for Ages
You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.