The Profound Simplicity of a Father’s Love

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.

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2 Comments

Filed under 5-100, Awesomeness

2 responses to “The Profound Simplicity of a Father’s Love

  1. Ashley

    Great post Jill. A dear friend of mine, (you know Amy), has a young male cousin who prefers to wear dresses. He has always wanted to do so since he was old enough to voice his own preferences. His parents are wonderfully supportive, but do try to limit his cross-dressing to within the home, around family and on Halloween because they fear the ridicule he would undoubtedly receive should he go to school in a dress. I’ll never forget a more poignant story that Amy shared with me. This young boy and his twin sister were ring bearer and flower girl in a family wedding and the young boy felt such immense sadness for the fact that he had to wear a tux while his sister got to wear the pretty dress. Its so unfortunate that our society is so judgmental, preventing this child to embrace his innocent and primal desires…

    • Thanks for sharing that Ashley. You point out the ridicule protection and I really liked it that the article addressed that point – that the son is shy because of teasing, but that with his father’s support he is brave enough to face the teasing with self-confidence. No doubt he will be crushed by ridicule at some point (that’s a rite of adolescent passage, right?); but it probably won’t be about wearing a dress, it’ll be something else. I hesitate every time I post something like this because of the judgers out there, but I’m right there with that dad…er…I would be if there was something I could do that would be as meaningful to my kid (hypothetical kid, of course). I also hesitate to even call it cross-dressing because I think labels are really powerful and I’d love to see a day when we can wear whatever feels attractive and comfortable to us…and because I think kids are too young/innocent to desire dressing to emulate the other gender’s stereotypical characteristics (men want feminine; women show masculine) (which I think is part of cross-dressing), whereas it sounds like these little boys just want to express themselves with ruffles, frills and pretty colors. Any way you slice it, I’m with you!

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