She was called a bad mum because she let her son wear a tutu. Her response was perfect.

Roo Shattuck is just like any other little boy. He likes to play with trucks and jigsaw puzzles, he loves to eat plums. Sometimes, he also likes to wear tutus.

He’d never received anything more but well-intentioned questions about his outfits. Until vile comments from one “bad man” left him afraid to pull on his favourite skirt.

In a passionate Facebook post that’s been shared more than 48,000 times, Roo’s mother Jen Anderson Shattuck told of being approached by a man on her way to a local park, who rounded on three-and-a-half-year-old Roo.

“She shouldn’t keep doing this to you,” he said, according to Anderson Shattuck. “You’re a boy. She’s a bad mummy. It’s child abuse.”

Roo Shattuck. Image: Facebook.

The man then reportedly took photographs of the pair and threatened her, saying "now everyone will know".

"I called the police. They came, they took their report, they complimented the skirt," Anderson Shattuck wrote. "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?'"

Anderson Shattuck admitted she couldn't honestly assure her boy that it would be the last time he would be confronted with such ignorance. But, she wrote, she could show him that angry strangers needn't change who he is.

"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 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 Anderson Shattuck's post has been immense and overwhelmingly supportive. It's so far attracted over 62,000 reactions, more than 48,000 shares and at least 90 comments from sympathetic Facebook users, many of whom were able to directly relate to her story.

"I also have a little boy who is the same way!" wrote one commenter. "People are always going to be ignorant and cruel, but you handled the situation with incredible restraint and dignity for his sake, and I say Bravo momma!!!

"You are a wonderful mother for recognising the qualities that make your boy who he is, and that you protect him from intolerance and hate. He will grow to be an outstanding man," wrote another.

And this from a supportive father: "If you find a purple (or whatever colour) tutu in my size, tell Roo I'm up for a walk anytime."

In a later post, Anderson Shattuck thanked the Facebook community for the support.

"Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your kindness (and for the many photos you have sent of your dress-, skirt-, and tutu-loving offspring, who are adorable.)," she wrote.

"Roo may not always want to dress this way, but we hope that he'll remember that, when he did, he was loved. 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."