A Dad has called out ‘toxic masculinity’ after his five year old son was bullied for wearing nail polish to kindergarten.

Aaron Gouveia, a father of three, has launched a twitter tirade after his five year old son Sam was bullied for wearing red nail polish to kindergarten. A popular parenting blogger, with 16,000 followers on his account ‘The Daddy Files’, Aaron tweeted “He proudly wore his red nail polish to kindergarten this morning because Sam has absolutely no concept of nail polish only being for girls or reason to think anyone could possibly have a problem with beautiful nails.”

The Importance of Expression

Aaron describes his son as a typical boy. “He’s rough and tumble, he’s loud, he’s always dirty, he loves trucks, plays sports and knee drops me from the couch.” “But he also loves a lot of girl things.”

Aaron says celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, who has sported nail polish as part of the Polished Man campaign, have helped him encourage his son to continue expressing himself. “My wife and I spent five years successfully preaching tolerance, acceptance and the importance of expression and your kids unravelled that in one day” he tweeted. “After careful consideration, he’s leaving it on because he likes it and it makes him feel good.”

Learning By Example

Aaron believes that most of the time, children learn behaviours associated with ‘toxic masculinity’ from their parents. How else would a five year old know what is or isn’t socially acceptable?

We think he makes a very interesting point. Perhaps the greatest lesson we can take from this story is the kind of attitudes and opinions we share, particularly around our children, and the impact these can have on their treatment of others.

Be kind people. You never know if your children might be listening.

Do you think we still label hobbies/interests as being for boys or girls? Let us know in the comments.



  • We definitely still label things but we are slowly moving away from this. We need to teach our kids to be kind and practice this ourselves and then kids and adults will feel freer to just be who they are.


  • Every child should be able to express themselves Without fear of ridicule. In a perfect world it would be great. However we live in a time where everyone is so critical and lacking empathy.


  • It saddens me that children are learning this behaviour so young :( children should be able to express themselves without the fear of others bullying them from other children who have learned behaviours from the adults in their lives.


  • While I fully support the dad and his son, it’s sadly a fact of life. If you are going to be what’s considered to be “out of the ordinary” then you can expect backlash. Acceptance of all things different just isn’t possible. Definitely, be kind, everyone


  • OMG! I can’t believe a 5 year old gets bullied. How do they even know to do that or have such ingrained commentary or understanding. Clearly, this comes from parents or family.


  • This is so ridiculous that he is being bullied. He is a young boy who loves colours and thinks this makes his nails bright and pretty. Those bullies need to mind their own business. To a young 5 year old it’s all about the colour and how that makes things look, it’s not about it being for girls only. I know a few boys (15 to 20) who paint their nails and no-one dares to bully them.


  • I don’t even understand this, at 5 I would never have cared if someone had their nails painted or not. Sounds like a great father.


  • It makes me very happy that this father is supporting his son.


  • Kids dont see things as girl things and boy things – they play with what they like. Let them be kids and experiment with different toys and clothes etc. It’s us as adults that put these labels on everything. A boy wearing lip gloss or nail polish because he saw his mum or sisters doing it and wants it too is fine and people who think otherwise are the problem


  • They look awesome Sam, wear them with pride.


  • Children should be allowed to experiment and express their individuality, they can define themselves as they grow.


  • Kids don’t know what is for the boys what is for the girls.Parent always telling them boys don’t do this. Girls don’t do that.Let them to do try.


  • Kids are so cruel sometimes I hope the kinder used this as a good learning experience to teach the kids that behaviour cannot right but also educate the parents also


  • Its sad how kids can be so mean to each other. I have 3 daughter and my youngest is my son. One day we all did our nails in pretty colours and my son wanted his done too. In the past he coloured his nails with a texta!! But after I did it and when he went to wash his hands it didn’t come off, he cried and wanted it off. He’s like that with temporary tattoo’s too. I don’t have a problem with it at all but he just decided himself he doesn’t want it to stay on. He likes to have it on his toes so he can cover them up at will with socks!


  • It’s sad how truely hurtful other kids and be.


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