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.



  • I do think that no one at the age of 5 should be wearing nail polish – regardless of gender. But where do kids at the age learn what is for boys/girls?!


  • 100% agree!! It broke my heart when my 4 year old told me that the kids at childcare called him a girl cos he wore pink runners (his favourite colour at the time). As much as I explained that we can all wear whatever we want and it is very normal for boys to wear pink he still refuses to wear pink! How on earth do 4 year olds know enough to make these comments!!


  • I wouldnt care if my daughter had a preference for ‘boys’ toys over ‘girls’ toys. Their purpose it to teach and/or enhance certain skills needed as a human being so who cares if she would prefer a truck over a barbie. The same goes for boys, if the child wants to wear nail polish, let them do it.


  • Yes those special words be kind are so important.


  • Kids shouldn’t be bullied full stop and should be allowed to be themselves, as should adults for that matter.


  • 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.


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