The five-year-old bullied for wearing nail polish ‘feels like a superhero’ now
The five-year-old boy who went viral after defying his bullies to continue wearing nail polish “feels like a superhero” after receiving support from fans across the world.
The child’s dad, Aaron Gouveia, who attracted praise after painting his nails to encourage Sam, told PinkNews that following his Twitter thread on Monday (October 22), “thousands” of people have reached out to offer their support.
The Massachusetts-based father-of-three said this “made all the difference in the world to Sam and helped convince him to keep his nail polish on.”
Sam, who was taunted by fellow students, including some who he had previously called his friends, wore a new shade of red nail polish to school the next day—complete with glitter.
For Gouveia, this was a mixed blessing.
“Obviously I was relieved by the fact that he stayed true to himself but, as a parent, you’re always worried about your kids being picked on,” he said.
“But in the end, he had a great next day of school and no one made fun of him, the school rallied around him, and he feels like a superhero with all this attention.”
The dad, who works as a director at a Boston PR firm, admitted he was “glad he’s got two brothers who will knock him down a few pegs if his head gets too big!”
But he added that he was “very proud” of Sam, and also of his “10-year-old, Will, who went into his fifth-grade classroom with painted nails in solidarity with his brother.
“That’s not easy at that age but he did it and he didn’t care if he took crap for it because he was behind his brother 100 percent.”
Gouveia explained that he decided to chronicle Sam’s experience on Twitter—even though, as he said at the time, “my rage meter is spiking”—to try and make a difference in how gender was viewed.
“This issue is important to me because I’m the father of three boys and I think the boxes we stuff boys into when it comes to gender are reprehensible,” he said.
“I’ve tackled this topic many times in the past and when this happened to Sam, I thought it might be a way to find a silver lining and do some good.”
As it turned out, he was completely right.
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Messages flooded in from fathers, sons and businesses who had made their nails more colourful to show they were behind Sam’s self-expression.
Gouveia admitted that he knew there was a chance that going internet famous could backfire, saying: “As someone who has lived and worked on social media for more than a decade, I’ve seen Twitter’s nasty side close up on a few occasions and I was worried about that this time.
“But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how positive and uplifting everything has been.”
He said this had stretched to the local community in the town of Franklin, where his family lives.
“The reaction in our community has been heartwarming,” reported the dad.
“Sam’s school took this seriously and addressed things with him and us, and spoke to the kids involved in a really constructive way that took insults and redirected them to questions which ended in compliments.”