Parents Are Applauding This Dad's Viral Thread On Toxic Masculinity

by Julie Scagell
Image via Aaron Gouveia

Classmates made fun of his son’s painted nails and he explains exactly what’s behind their awful reaction

It’s 2018, and most people have at least started to understand that there’s no such thing as “boy” and “girl” clothes/toys/behavior. Of course, some people remain stubbornly in the past, which is what one dad found out when his son was being made fun of for wearing nail polish at school. He wrote a series of tweets that perfectly sums up how this behavior is learned and how it should never, ever be tolerated.

“This is my son, Sam. He’s 5. And today he learned how shitty and harmful #ToxicMasculinity is,” Aaron Gouveia wrote in a tweet from his page, Daddy Files. “My rage meter is spiking right now so excuse me if this is a little raw but there are some things I want to say about BS #gender norms.”

The father of three boys went on to say Sam loves what most people associate with as “boy” and “girl” activities, including both trucks and purses, and that he shouldn’t have to pick a side for someone else to feel comfortable.

He explained that one of the things Sam’s always loved is having his nails painted, which had never been a problem until a recent day at school.

In further tweets, Gouveia explained Sam got heat from his classmates because he was a boy with nail polish on, with the teasing lasting throughout the school day. He said when his wife picked him up he “cried uncontrollably,” telling her even his friends made fun of him and that only one kid stood up for him.

Gouveia said Sam was so distraught that he wanted to take his polish off so he didn’t get abuse from kids at school the next day, which broke his dad’s heart. But, he explained it wasn’t because of how the kids acted, it was because this is taught at home. “I know these kids are only in kindergarten but this toxic masculinity bullshit is LEARNED. Learned most of the time from parents.”

Gouveia talked with his son about what happened and said he could take it off if he wants to, but to never feel like he needed to do something because of what someone else thinks, “..because what you wear and how you look should make YOU look good. And to hell with everyone else,” he wrote.

Since he posted about Sam’s experience, it’s gone viral with tons of positive support coming back for the little boy. “I’m really grateful for the wonderful and kind response and all the people who have reached out with support, their own stories, and lots of pictures of men and boys with painted nails,” Gouveia tells Scary Mommy. “I showed them to Sam early this morning and read him some of the supportive tweets, and it meant the world to him. He was on the fence about wearing his red nails to school this morning but seeing all the positivity helped him decide to do it.”

Gouveia also said his son’s bravery prompted him to paint his nails, too.

Other parents were very much here for the dad’s message:

And if anyone still has a problem with his or his son’s painted nails, he’s got a message for them, too:

Well said, Dad.