A father’s touching Twitter thread about “toxic masculinity” has gone viral after his five-year-old son was bullied at playschool for wearing nail varnish.
Founder of parenting blog The Daddy Files, Aaron Gouveia from Massachusetts, wrote about how one of his three children was teased for wearing nail varnish, and how they planned to stand up to the bullies.
The thread, which contains some strong language, aims to dismantle “toxic masculinity” and make children feel comfortable with however they like to express themselves.
Gouveia explained that his middle child Sam loves activities stereotypically associated with both young boys and young girls, with the youngster enjoying both sports and painting his nails.
He said: “Sam has a collection of purses because he likes to carry things around. And he also loves to have his nails painted bright colours because he thinks they ‘look beautiful’.”
While Sam was very happy to sport red nail varnish to his playschool, Gouveia explained that children in his class teased him for it.
He said: “He called me at work, his words barely decipherable through the sobs, and I told him nothing those kids say matters. That his nails are badass! The only thing that matters is whether he likes his nails. And then my heart broke …
“‘Daddy, I want mommy to take off the nail polish so they don’t make fun of me’.”
Gouveia encouraged his child to wear even brighter nail varnish to school the next day, claiming that bullying and toxic masculinity could be learned from parents.
He said: “My wife and I spent five years successfully preaching tolerance, acceptance and the importance of expression and your kids unravelled that in one school day.
“Sam is a goddamn fireworks show of a human being and I won’t let that be dulled for a second.”
Sam’s 10-year-old brother then decided to paint his nails “in solidarity” with his younger brother, with Gouveia then following suit and painting his own.
Gouveia said: “It doesn’t matter what anyone else does because what you wear and how you look should make you look good. And to hell with everyone else.
“Intolerant parents and their offspring scored a minor victory today but they won’t win the war.”
The thread reached over 27,000 retweets on the website, with many praising Gouveia’s stance on masculinity and even sharing their own photos of their children with painted nails.
One Twitter user said: “Go Sam! My nephew loves lipstick because he just simply finds its beautiful!”
Gouveia ended the thread with a photo of his own painted nails. He said: “Be brave and shine bright, my beautiful polished boy.
“Know that mom and dad always have your back and if the rest of the world has a problem with your nails, they can check out my nail polish!”