This family portrait of a father and son in a small town—deep in the province and deeply religious—in Southern Germany has been traveling around the world. When his five year-old boy expressed a love for dresses but found himself alone on the playground, Nils Pickert writes in Emma magazine that the only way to make sure his son knew that he supported him 100% was to be a role model of self-confidence and don a skirt himself.
“Yeah, I’m one of those fathers who believes in liberation when it comes to parenting,” he writes. “I am not one of those academic dads who ruminates and lectures about equality between the sexes, and then, the moment a child arrives, slips back into the old comfortable gender roles: He does his own thing by having a career, she takes care of the rest.”
When he switched to a new kindergarten, the teasing got to be too much and the author’s son stopped wearing dresses to pre-school. But he turned to his father and asked, wide-eyed, “Papa, when are you going to wear a skirt again?” So Dad made sure to keep wearing his skirt out in public. He writes, “I’m very grateful to the woman who stared at us on the street until she walked into a lamppost. My son roared with laughter. And the next day, he fished a dress out of his closet again.”
I don’t have much to add to this story besides the smile it brought to my face. And a hope that someday these two will be models for a poster that will take its place in history alongside Rosie the Riveter.