-- The Massachusetts mom whose photo of her 3-year-old son in a purple tutu has been shared thousands of times and sparked a #TutusForRoo hashtag said she is “grateful” for the overwhelming support.
Jen Anderson Shattuck, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, posted the photo of her son, nicknamed Roo, Aug. 24, on Facebook. Accompanying the photo was a long post describing an incident in which Shattuck said she and her son were “accosted” by someone demanding to know why Roo was wearing a skirt.
Shattuck wrote that the man called it “child abuse” and took photos of Roo in his tutu against her wishes. Shattuck’s response on Facebook was to say that she would not be “intimated” and would let her son wear whatever he wanted.
“When we were accosted, the man took pictures and said that, ‘Everyone would know,’” Shattuck told ABC News today of what inspired her Facebook post. “I thought they should know, know what had happened to us and know the strength of my love for Roo.”
Shattuck’s Facebook post has been shared nearly 55,000 times. Supporters also used the #TutusForRoo hashtag to post photos of themselves in tutus.
“I’m so thrilled about about and grateful for the huge number of positive responses we've gotten,” Shattuck said. “Thousands of people from around the world have been moved to send us messages of love and encouragement.”
Shattuck said Roo, an only child, was gifted a tutu by family friends whose own daughter had outgrown hers and has since worn either a tutu or dress over his clothes nearly every day.
“At first we didn't ask many questions, but when I finally did ask why he was choosing to wear them he said, ‘Because I feel beautiful. I feel brave,’” Shattuck said of her son with her wife, Audra.
Shattuck said she hopes her Facebook post helps “change the culture and conversation around gender norms and harmful stereotypes, one family at a time.”
“I've gotten dozens of messages from people writing to say that they had been afraid to let their sons dress the way they wanted to because they, the parents, have been afraid,” she said. “Because of my post, they're less afraid.”