Toxic masculinity has become one of the buzz concepts of our times, as certain ‘traditionally masculine’ traits and behaviors have been identified by some as a corrosive influence on our society. Aaron Gouveia, from Massachusetts and a father of 3, is the voice behind parenting blog Daddy Files, where he shares his experiences, thoughts and practical tips to being the best possible father while balancing a career at the same time.


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Recently he uploaded an angry and emotional Twitter thread about his middle son, Sam, being bullied at school for wearing nail polish. Sam hadn’t been exposed to overriding social expectations of gender norms yet, and was about to get a shock. “My wife and I spent five years successfully preaching tolerance, acceptance, and the importance of expression and your kids unraveled that in one school day,” Aaron wrote.

Sam simply liked having his nails painted. His grandmother used to do it for a living and he thought it looked cool. Simples. He was blissfully unaware that these kind of things were supposed to be ‘for girls only,’ and that not following this ‘rule’ would leave him open for ridicule, even from his friends.

After Sam came home heartbroken and in tears, Aaron decided that enough was enough. His passionate outburst quickly went viral and drew praise and support from thousands of people, impressed with the way he took harmful expectations of masculinity to task. And he is right. Of course there of some who take the concept too far, but some aspects of ‘toxic masculinity’ teach young boys to suppress their natural expression and emotions in ways that can be harmful later on, and this needs to be addressed.

Meanwhile Sam, inspired by other men and boys painting their own nails in solidarity, went back to school with his nails painted and a newfound confidence to be himself. “Sam had a great, incident-free day at school yesterday,”Aaron wrote. “Also, the school’s response and the community’s outreach has been really heartening.”

Scroll down to check out Sam’s kickass nails for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments!

This is Aaron Gouveia, dad of three boys and author of the parenting blog ‘Daddy Files’

This week something happened to his middle son at school, which led him to post an angry and emotional outburst on Twitter

People were really supportive of Aaron and Sam

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Image credits: megrarick

Watch this video to learn to stop bullying: