Toxic masculinity is pervasive in today's society. It's the shared idea that there is only one way to "be a man," and that any deviation from that is considered to be shameful. Strength, aggression, even hyper-sexuality: all of these are acceptable "male" traits. Meanwhile, showing too much emotion is considered to be "feminine." And of course, those ideas go into the larger picture of gender stereotypes: things that only men wear, or only women can do, and more.
One little boy learned about this concept in an upsetting fashion, after deciding to wear nail polish to school. Sam, a five-year-old boy with frankly fantastic red-nails, feels good in nail polish. But, when he went to school sporting his new style, Sam's classmates decided to give him a hard time about it. After hearing about the bullying, Sam's father handled the situation in an amazing way.
Keep reading to see what Sam's dad had to say on Twitter. Sam isn't obligated to stick to gender stereotypes (nor is any other person), and his dad made sure everyone knew it!
The Daddy Files Twitter account shared this thread:Apparently, Sam had a run-in with the ancient establishment we like to call "gender norms."
Here's some background on Sam:
Sam is my middle child & he’s a terror. A “boy’s boy” as so many (not me) would say. He’s rough and tumble, he’s lo… https://t.co/l4HMJUBDKV— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540253968.0
Sam perceives a number of girl-like things to be fun.
Sam has a collection of purses because he likes to carry things around. And he also loves to have his nails painted… https://t.co/obPAsAHkF1— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254002.0
He can pull off bright red nail polish like a pro:
So he proudly wore his red nail polish to kindergarten this morning because Sam has absolutely no concept of nail p… https://t.co/09evpoGUlS— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254036.0
Unfortunately, his classmates didn’t agree with that.
But his classmates did have a problem. A big one. Sam was ridiculed for being a boy with nail polish. They called h… https://t.co/wPApNigEs0— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254058.0
Sam’s friends joined in.
When my wife picked him up from school he collapsed into her arms and cried uncontrollably. He was devastated at ho… https://t.co/CoQshmk5KK— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254077.0
Sam called his dad at work.
He called me at work, his words barely decipherable through the sobs, and I told him nothing those kids say matters… https://t.co/f0BCZzs6yg— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254094.0
Because Sam wanted the bullying to end.
“Daddy, I want mommy to take off the nail polish so they don’t make fun of me.”— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254112.0
Remember, different isn’t bad.
My son is far from perfect but he’s got a huge heart and empathy for miles. He finds beauty in everything around hi… https://t.co/PttpreMWYL— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254129.0
Where could the other kids have learned such toxic ideas?
I know these kids are only in kindergarten but this toxic masculinity bullshit is LEARNED. Learned most of the time… https://t.co/faQREXnS4v— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254148.0
Understandably, Sam’s dad was not happy with how his son had been treated.
I hope you sleep well tonight knowing order has been at least partially restored and gender norms solidified for on… https://t.co/fqjGMuvWHW— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254163.0
Especially since Gouveia had been trying to teach his son something different.
My wife and I spent five years successfully preaching tolerance, acceptance, and the importance of expression and y… https://t.co/4H6ykxjmOS— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254178.0
So, Gouveia told Sam to try something the next day:
But I want you to know I talked to Sam and I told him those other kids are just jealous of his nails. I told him to… https://t.co/HRRBg1UiYx— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254198.0
What reason would they have to be upset?
I bet they don’t know. I bet their parents don’t even know. But what I do know is Sam is a goddamn fireworks show o… https://t.co/I4qUTfJA9U— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254214.0
He told Sam about some other guys who wear nail polish.
I told Sam he could take off the nail polish if he wanted but lots of guys wear it like Thor (@chrishemsworth) & Ca… https://t.co/AVmpDE9eG0— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254238.0
Personal style is all about feeling good in your own skin.
But more importantly I told him it doesn’t matter what anyone else does because what you wear and how you look shou… https://t.co/OkKrqWtp6h— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254256.0
So, Sam made a decision.
After careful consideration, he’s leaving it on. Because he likes it and it makes him feel good. Then Sam’s 10-year… https://t.co/7F9BOlnOpS— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254273.0
Gouveia painted his nails too.
That moved me to paint MY nails. Sam picked out this color called “Main Squeeze” & I think it’s understated but lov… https://t.co/uUUly4Yhcj— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254300.0
Let’s hope Sam (and kids like him) keep up the fight.
Intolerant parents and their offspring scored a minor victory today but they won’t win the war. I know that because… https://t.co/tibXhsghMi— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254322.0
Gouveia ended his thread with a final thought:
Be brave and shine bright, my beautiful polished boy. Know that mom and dad always have your back and if the rest o… https://t.co/UC4ac4MidH— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540254380.0
Here’s what other people said about this:
@DaddyFiles I work at a daycare and every time I hear a kid say something is "only for boys/girls" I always say "Wh… https://t.co/nSwXwjPOTi— 47 gremlins in a trench coat (@47 gremlins in a trench coat)1540371018.0
And, he isn’t the only Dad painting his nails in solidarity.
@DaddyFiles “Painted nails are for everyone! Not just girls! Let’s stand up to bullies by sparkling it up!” - Lane,… https://t.co/UiIOfg7EPy— Ferdalump (@Ferdalump)1540410515.0
Sam isn’t alone.Just look at this little guy and his gorgeous blue nails.
He’s not the only male Patriots fan who paints his nails!
@DaddyFiles If you zoom in on this pic, you’ll see that my 5 y/o, Nadav, is wearing bright red nail polish while at… https://t.co/L9w3ztxZWR— The Dad Life - Dave Cutler (@The Dad Life - Dave Cutler)1540396265.0
Don’t freak out, parents!
@DaddyFiles a similar thing happened when I painted my lil bro's nails after begging for 5 mins. (I was 7, him 4).… https://t.co/cqMUrWtONL— em🏳️🌈🐘😈 (@em🏳️🌈🐘😈)1540355453.0
Look at this family:
@DaddyFiles Hey Sam just keep enjoying what you enjoy. My youngest son gets me to paint watermelons on his toenails… https://t.co/YaShuu2dKg— candace (@candace)1540359658.0
Overall, Gouveia’s post received an outpouring of love and support!
The response to my thread about Sam's nails is overwhelming. I just showed Sam some responses and he literally sque… https://t.co/VBWLi4Yf4w— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540290275.0
Sam was able to get some free polish from OPI!
Wow, thank you. This is amazing and he's going to lose his mind! https://t.co/WqumGw1lY1— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540328148.0
Here’s Sam’s adorable thank-you for the support he got:
Today has been overwhelming. Sam wants to personally thank each and every one of you who reached out to support him… https://t.co/mNnXeVnPMK— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540339100.0
If you’re wondering how the story ends:
FYI, Sam had a great, incident-free day at school yesterday. Also, the school's response and the community's outrea… https://t.co/NLayJ7pwVD— Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋 (@Bye, Trump! 👋👋👋)1540378069.0