After a stranger criticized her parenting for allowing her son to wear a tutu, mother Jen Anderson Shattuck struck back with a powerful response defending her son’s right to wear whatever he wants.
Shattuck posted a photo of her 3-year-old son Roo wearing a tutu on Facebook last week, recounting the traumatic encounter in the caption.
“My three-and-a-half-year-old son likes to play trucks,” she wrote. “He likes to do jigsaw puzzles. He likes to eat plums. And he likes to wear sparkly tutus.”
“If asked, he will say the tutus make him feel beautiful and brave,” Shattuck continued. “If asked, he will say there are no rules about what boys can wear or what girls can wear.”
Roo wears tutus everywhere: to the church, the grocery store, on the train, and even in the sandbox. “It has been, in our part of the world, a non-issue,” his mom explained. “We have been asked some well-intentioned questions; we’ve answered them; it has been fine. It WAS fine, until yesterday.”
Click to the next page to read about the confrontation, and how Shattuck responded.
Shattuck and her son were walking to a park when a man approached them and demanded to know why Roo was wearing a skirt. Though they didn’t know him, the man appeared to have been watching them for some time, Shattuck wrote.
“I’m just curious,” the man said. “Why do you keep doing this to your son?”
He wasn’t curious. He didn’t want answers. He wanted to make sure we both knew that what my son was doing—what I was ALLOWING him to do–was wrong.
“She shouldn’t keep doing this to you,” he said. He spoke directly to my son. “You’re a boy. She’s a bad mommy. It’s child abuse.”
He took pictures of us, although I asked him not to; he threatened me. “Now everyone will know,” he said. “You’ll see.”
Shattuck then called the police, who came, took a report, and even complimented her son’s skirt.
Still, my son does not feel safe today. He wants to know: “Is the man coming back? The bad man? Is he going to shout more unkind things about my skirt? Is he going to take more pictures?”
“The world may not love my son for who he is, but I do.”
Shattuck doesn’t know if she’ll get any more trouble from the man or other people like him in the future. But she has resolved to support and love her son, no matter what.
I will not let angry strangers tell my son what he can or cannot wear.
The world may not love my son for who he is, but I do. I was put on this earth to make sure he knows it.
I will shout my love from street corners.
I will defend, shouting, his right to walk down the street in peace, wearing whatever items of clothing he wants to wear.
I will show him, in whatever way I can, that I value the person he is, trust in his vision for himself, and support his choices—no matter what anybody else says, no matter who tries to stop him or how often.
The response to Shattuck’s post has been overwhelmingly positive, and has even started a viral movement. Click to the next page to read more.
Moms from all over the world have been showing their solidarity by sharing similar experiences:
Some even posted photos of their sons in skirts as well:
As of this writing, Shattuck’s Facebook post has garnered almost 48,000 shares and over 60,000 reactions, and has spawned a viral movement call #TutusForRoo.
“We need to let kids be kids.”
“Roo may not always want to dress this way, but we hope that he’ll remember that, when he did, he was loved,” Shattuck wrote in a separate Facebook post. “We hope he’ll know that no matter what other people thought or said in response, there was always peace and safety in our home.”
READ: Adele let her son dress up as Princess Anna from Frozen because ‘why not?’
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