Jen Anderson Shattuck's three-and-a-half-year-old son Roo likes to wear tutus. Just like he likes to eat plums and play with trucks and do jigsaw puzzle. She has never taught her son "rules about what boys can wear or what girls can wear".
Earlier this month, when Jen was in the park with her son, a stranger demanded to know why the boy was wearing a skirt.
In a very strong Facebook post that went viral, Jen narrates the incident and slams everyone who thinks like the stranger in the park.
My three-and-a-half-year-old son likes to play trucks. He likes to do jigsaw puzzles. He likes to eat plums. And he...Posted by Jen Anderson Shattuck on Wednesday, August 24, 2016
"My son has worn tutus to church. He has worn tutus to the grocery store. He has worn tutus on the train and in the sandbox. It has been, in our part of the world, a non-issue. We have been asked some well-intentioned questions; we've answered them; it has been fine. It WAS fine, until yesterday," she writes.
This is when they had an encounter with the strange man.
"'I'm just curious,' the man said. 'Why do you keep doing this to your son?'"
Jen says, "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."
The stranger went to the extent of calling her a "bad mommy" and called it "child abuse".
Jen's post, which has been shared on FB nearly 50,000 times, garnered a lot of appreciation and support from social media user.
"I will not be intimidated. I will not be made to feel vulnerable or afraid. I will not let angry strangers tell my son what he can or cannot wear," she added. "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."
Moved by Jen's story, her friend Tim Atkins started the #TuTusForRoo. He posted a picture of himself wearing a tutu and described how he felt about the entire incident.
"I wanted to show her three-year old kiddo, nicknamed Roo, that it was just fine for him to wear a sparkly tutu if that's what he wanted to wear. So, I ordered up my own TuTu and thought up the idea of #TuTusForRoo," Tim wrote on his page.
I was incredibly moved by my buddy Jen Anderson Shattuck's story about how her son was bullied by a grown man for...Posted by Tim Atkins on Friday, August 26, 2016
Jen's story has struck a chord with many on social media, with several users expressing solidarity by posting pictures of themselves in tutus or skirts.
â€” Mark Brewer (@DaddyBearMark) August 29, 2016
#TutusForRoo - here's my mechanic son. Posting for Tim Atkins, who says: I was incredibly moved by my buddy Jen Anderson...Posted by Andrea Perry Lerner on Friday, August 26, 2016
#TutusForRoo I stand in solidarity with the little dude rocking the tutu whose mother posted the following story about...Posted by Wade King on Monday, August 29, 2016