Why Can’t He Wear a Dress?

A German father is showing support for his 5 year-old son who likes to wear dresses, by wearing skirts himself. Nils Pickert started wearing skirts in order to support his son, who was hesitant to wear dresses and skirts in public due to the threat of ridicule by peers and the overall community.

The story has drawn a lot of attention, and one commentator on the Huffington Post website felt that Pickert was completely in the wrong when allowing his son to wear women’s clothes: “If a boy (at the age of 3 or so) wants to wear girl clothes and act like a girl that means it’s time to explain to him that he is a BOY. There is NOTHING wrong with being a boy or a girl, but be who you are. Fashion and style do not make us who we are, but they do characterize us to a degree.”

We find this comment particularly peculiar since there is a distinction to be made between the sex and gender of a person, which the commentator completely ignores. If one believes in social construction, gender roles are socially constructed and not dependant on one’s sex. There is nothing about a person’s sex that makes it unfeasible for a man or a woman to wear a skirt or a dress, except for societal pressure and normative assumptions about gender. When the commentator states “be who you are,” she really means, “act according to stereotypical notions concerning gender.”

At the same time, do we need to point out the double standard of this thinking when the commentator says both “be who you are” and “fashion and style do not make us who we are”? Also, who is the commentator to say “be who you are” and then decide that the dad and son are wrong when attempting to be who they are and dress however they like?

In terms of fashion, the ancient Romans were known to wear tunics and togas, while some Scottish men wear kilts, and both women and men in many parts of the world wear sarongs. And it wasn’t until fairly recently in history that women started wearing pants. Not to mention that traditionally, men and boys in America were more likely to wear pink than girls and women–the now-common trend of girls wearing pink and boys wearing blue did not start until around the 1940s.

Nils Pickert is supporting his son’s clothing choices while letting him be who he is. We think this father’s compassion, love, and respect for his child is truly admirable in light of all the criticism, negative comments, and ridicule.

Comments

    • How can you raise someone gay and how does letting your son wear dresses make him gay? There are plenty of straight men out there who like to wear dresses and skirts. These type of clothes are not reserved for women only but are worn mostly by women because it is believed to be “feminine” and the “proper” clothes to wear in our very gender policing society.

      I never liked wearing dresses and skirts, not as a child and not now. I never wanted to be a princess and my life never revolved around getting married. This is not what all girls dream about. Despite this I’m straight so the argument is ridicilous. If i wasn’t why would anyone else care?

  1. I am a straight male in my late 50′s and I have discovered the comfort of wearing a skirt. I would wear one whenever I could but am limited to within the house because my wife isn’t comfortable with me wearing one outside. I think that she is more concerned about what the neighbours would think, something that doesn’t worry me. I have lots of skirts and my wife says that I have good legs and do suit a skirt. I don’t want to look like a woman and I think wearing a dress isn’t for me as they tend to be low in front on the neckline and that combined with a hairy chest just doesn’t go somehow. I do have one dress that is quite high at the front that I might consider wearing. Funnily enough my wife gave me this. The skirt just doesn’t have this disadvantage. I’ve always said that I wasn’t normal and I suppose this proves it!

  2. It’s a good thing that the dad believes his son should wear a dress now and then. I would suport the dad in his movement and by him wearing a dress also shows that men can look good in them and feel comfortable in them. why should the ladiesw have all of the good clothes?

  3. Here’s the straight dope from a very regular joe. The only reason I don’t wear dresses and skirts in public if fear of ridicule. Women would make comments and the more agressive men would attack. My company certainly wouldn’t allow it, and it would probably jepardize my job. Heck, even I don’t think I look good in a dress, but I do love having them on. I’m so envious of women’s choices in clothes. Compared to men they live in a wonderful world of color and style. As a man, if I want to put on a pair of shorts I have a choice of knee length or …… NOTHING ELSE! If I dare wear short shorts I’d be called gay, and I have been. Keep in mind, I don’t want to be a woman, I just like their clothes. But sadly, I think it will be long past my lifetime when men can go out in public dressed in women’s clothes. We aren’t nearly as advanced as we like to think we are.

  4. Is this Huffington Post commentator a Class A-1 moron, or did she fall asleep at school during
    History lessons? I think she did, so allow this humble 52-year-old epileptic man to rectify the
    problem. In Ancient Greece, 600 B.C., it was perfectly normal to find men and boys wearing
    short, white tunics. And if they wished to look more fashionable, they would tie a piece of
    cord around their waists-which made the lower half of the tunic resemble a fluted white skirt.
    The Romans did the same kind of thing when they invaded England, because their armour
    below their waists ended in separate metallic strips that resembled metal skirts. And let’s not
    forget that in Elizabethan times, the great playwright William Shakespeare hired young, 100%
    straight young men to play the female roles in his plays. And then there are the Highlanders
    who in 1746 A.D. fought the Duke of Cumberland’s men at Culloden, wearing their kilts. And in the early 19th century, boys wore pink dresses, even, when he was a young boy in America, the future President of the U.S.A, Theodore Roosevelt. And for your information, Mary Janes were originally boys’ shoes. But because of the name, they were given to girls. As Michael Caine would say, “Not a lot of people know that!”

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