Five-year-old Sam Gouveia from Franklin, Massachusetts, had never been exposed to the concept of gender norms. He likes bright colors and thinks it’s fun to paint his nails. He had no reason to think that there was anything strange about being a boy who liked nail polish, so he proudly wore his brightly colored nails to school. Unfortunately, many of his kindergarten classmates did not think it was so normal. According to Today, Sam was mocked by his classmates to the point that when he finally got home he wanted to remove the polish that he’d previously loved.
His father, Aaron Gouveia, was understandably upset when he learned about the bullying his son had endured. He turned to Twitter to express his anger over the way gender norms are infiltrating even the youngest of our society. He made the point that his 5-year-old clearly wasn’t trying to make a statement through his choice to wear nail polish. He wasn’t trying to go against any sort of norm. He was just expressing himself in a way he thought looked good. Sam didn’t think anyone would have a problem with it. “But his classmates did have a problem. A big one. Sam was ridiculed for being a boy with nail polish. They called him names and told him to take it off. This lasted the entire day,” Aaron Gouveia said.
So 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 would possibly have a problem with beautiful nails. pic.twitter.com/WsHHupgw9H
— Daddy Files (@DaddyFiles) October 23, 2018
Upon seeing Aaron Gouveia’s posts, many spoke out in support of Sam. One of many that stood with the young boy was Patriot Rob Gronkowski. The NFL player tweeted Sam a video message commending him for being himself.
“Hey Sam, what’s up? It’s Rob Gronkowski here,” Gronkowski said. “I heard some kids at school were giving you a hard time for wearing some nail polish. I just want to say, stay strong and do what makes you the happiest, and keep being yourself.”
Do what makes you the happiest and keep being yourself.
We love the color choice! pic.twitter.com/LFslsmIAUl
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 27, 2018
Aaron Gouveia has thanked everyone who has sent a kind message or tweet in support of his son. He too decided to paint his own nails in solidarity of his son. He even let Sam pick the color! As far as the message to be learned here, Aaron hopes that people will look at his son as a source of inspiration to live their lives in a way that makes them happy, even if they receive criticism. Sam has shown that there is no shame in men or boys enjoying something feminine if they are proud of the way they are expressing themselves.