“Thus I am, I know that by now, part of the minority that makes a fool of themselves from time to time. Out of conviction.”
This German father and son are enjoying an afternoon together. The father is wearing a long elastic-waist skirt in solidarity with his son, who likes to wear skirts and dresses. The father explains his viewpoint in the original article (in German). Then the blogger over at Tumblr‘s Mea Culpa reposted and another blogger translated and I got the link here on the Feminist Philosophers blog. It reminds me of a wonderful blog called Raising My Rainbow. Isn’t the internet great?
I am one of those people who see every human being somewhere on a giant matrix of gender and sexuality. Gender norms are human-made, derived from the trends and social expectations of a culture. I used to say that everybody is on a spectrum of sexuality, that we’re all attracted to both men and women, but that many of us have a strong preference that overshadows the other. Current social norms implant that expectation in us, certainly, by posing the question “Straight or Gay?” – as any of us is 100% one or the other.
I still believe in the sexuality spectrum, and when I add in social norms based on gender, I think I am starting to talk about a matrix. The matrix is a night sky full of stars, simultaneously sparkling brilliance and throbbing darkness, without clearly defined boundaries or design, yet after some study patterns and rhythms emerge: there is a place for everybody in this matrix.
Finding our social place in life is difficult, no matter what advantages or disadvantages we are born into in life. This young boy is certain to experience angst, stress, fear, sadness, and all of the other difficult emotions life brings for us all. This father recognized his opportunity to be a positive and empowering part of his son’s life when he opted not to attempt to convince his son to conform to social norms. Instead, this father opted to embrace the beauty of a child’s innocence, to delight in a moment spent chasing happiness in a dress, and to crush compassionate hearts like mine with the profound simplicity of a father’s love.