Cross-dress course is a real drag;Briefing;International

25th June 1999 at 01:00
GERMANY

Ministers in Germany have been forced to backtrack over an "anti-macho" course for boys that forces them to dress up in women's clothes.

The course was part of a pound;92,000 drive this year by the state of North Rhein Westfalia to soften up "laddish" boys and reduce playground conflicts and bullying. Boys must loosen up and let themselves cry, as well as "put themselves in women's shoes".

But the cross-dressing met with ridicule from the boys themselves, told to "reflect critically on the old gender cliches". "It's really dumb", said Andreas Zimt, 16, who drew the line at dressing up.

And boys are not convinced that the anti-macho course should be pitched at them. Andreas Vogel, 16, said: " These days girls are dominant and need it more than we do. The macho era is past" Cross-dressing is no longer a course requirement. Instead the state education ministry now recommends boys dress up only if the course leader "believes it to be helpful".

EBD

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