Thursday, September 27, 2012

Around the World in a Dress and a Skirt

"Since I am an adult, people should feel free to call me out on my decisions. In this case, if you do, I will confess that I don't particularly like wearing skirts or dresses. I'm like a soccer mom who doesn't love the sport -- but does love her kids. 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," wrote Nils Pickert, the father who wears a skirt to support his son.

Read the rest of his words on The Huffington Post.


  1. I think you should care about the decisions he makes. These decisions made without regard or discussion could have a lifetime ramifications. He ultimately will make the decision, but the little one in question hardly looks old enough to make such decisions. They call that parenting. The responsibility of birth is the beginning of many decisions you will make on his or her behalf. You are like their tourguide in life, keeping them out of bad neighborhoods and avoiding potholes. Sure they will make mistakes but if they make them , make them fully informed.

  2. This is the type of father his son will be proud of as he grows older. Not only is he showing respect for a child's controversial decisions, but he is putting the welfare of his son first - in a society which would like try to mold that son into something he is not....

  3. Here is the rest of that story which makes me feel I was a little harsh.

    Nils Pickert's 5-year-old son likes wearing dresses. If anyone thinks that's odd they can take it up with Nils. He's the guy in the skirt.

    The German dad has become a role model not only for his son, but for parents around the world, after a photograph of the pair holding hands in red skirts spread across the internet.
    "Yes, I'm one of those dads, that tries to raise their children equal," he explained in an essay published alongside the photo in Emma, a German feminist magazine.

    Celebrities who were bullied as kids

    Pickert never minded that his son liked dressing in little girl's clothes, but when his family moved from West Berlin to a small southern town in Germany, he learned that other people did. In fact, it became a "town wide issue," according to Pickert, whose essay was translated by Tumblr user steegeschnoeber.

    A new school didn't make life any easier for his young son. Shortly after his first day, he stopped reveling in his own tastes and Pickert worried about the damage it could wreak on his self-confidence.
    "I didn't want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts," Pickert explained. "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."

    PHOTOS: Father and son sports stars at the same age

    That's where the red skirt came in, a pants-free option Pickert himself would sometimes take back in Berlin, without getting even a second glance. He'd stopped wearing skirts when they moved to their small village, knowing a man in women's clothes could cause rubbernecking accidents at the very least. But when his son asked his father to wear a skirt again, he decided to step up to the challenge.
    For that he's been hailed as "Father of the Year" by Gawker, and praised in parenting blogs around the web for his progressive approach to nipping self-esteem issues in bud.

    Hand in hand, the Pickerts paraded their custom together around their small village, and soon the shame died away. His son became emboldened again, even giddy at the reactions his father got from slack-jawed strangers. Being different, he found, wasn't so scary after all, especially when Dad's got your back.

    After Pickert's son learned that lesson, he began passing the wisdom on to his classmates. If he's teased now, he tells them: "You don't dare to wear skirts and dresses because your dads don't dare to either."

    For parents and educators, bullying is a critical issue with no clear-cut prevention method. How do you protect a child from the cruelty of others and how can a bullied child walk away without feeling defensive or ashamed? Pickert's plan comes down to more than just a dad in a skirt. It's an approach that translates across borders, both physical and theoretical: If a child is attacked for being different, don't leave them hanging. Be different with them.