Shine On

Dad wears skirt to support dress-wearing son

What would you do if your son liked wearing dresses? One dad in Germany decided to put on a skirt of his own in support his little dress-loving fellow.

When Nils Pikert's now 5-year-old son started wearing dresses, it turned a few heads but was generally not a big deal in their cosmopolitan hometown of Berlin. But when the family picked up and moved to the smaller South German village, all that changed, reports Gawker.

Even though he loved wearing dresses, Pickert's son was too shy to put one on in public for fear of being laughed at, especially by his pre-school classmates. "I didn't want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts," Pickert told the German magazine EMMA (translated here by blogger Steegeschnoeber). "I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself.  After all you can't expect a child at pre-school age to have the same ability to assert themselves as an adult. Completely without role model. And so I became that role model."

And so Pickert put on a skirt and strolled around town with his son in tow. One lady apparently stared so hard she walked right into a pole, which they both found to be hilarious. A day later, the little Pickert was back at his dress-wearing ways, first for the weekend and then to school.

[See also: Controversial 'genderless' baby]

Would you encourage your son to wear a dress if he liked it? It's something we've pondered here at Shine before. In an article last year, Jennifer Hamilton pondered whether it's wrong to cross-dress our children, after a couple in Australia posted a photo of their foster son in a dress of Facebook. Is it really anyone's business, she asked? A recent article in the New York Times titled "What's so bad about a boy who wears a dress" asks the same question, and drew a massive response, with the majority of readers agreeing that "dress is a cultural construction affecting gender and identity" and "children should be free to be themselves."

What do you think? Should kids be allowed to make their own choices about what they wear? Should we encourage them to bravely flaunt societal norms?

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