This Viral Story About Face Painting Shows How Early We Teach Toxic Masculinity To Our Kids

The societal narratives surrounding gender are put into place from the moment a woman finds out she’s pregnant with a child–if you really think about it.
As soon as a woman gets the news that she’s expecting, immediately, people are concerned with “what she is having”–a boy or a girl. From there, people begin to purchase “gender appropriate” gifts and accessories. For girls, it’s only acceptable to buy things with bows, pink, flowers, hearts, stars. For boys, it’s only acceptable to buy things with dinosaurs, trucks, blues. As our kids get older, we enforce them to play with things that are “gender appropriate” by buying them gender-specific toys. While society has progressed and there are many parents who raise their children to believe they can play with anything they desire–even if it’s “against the gender norms,” there are those parents who are still stuck in their old school ways.

One Twitter user shared the harrowing story of parents who were pushing the heteronormative version “masculinity” onto their young son.

Many people online were outraged by the mother’s reaction to her son simply wanting to have a butterfly painted on his face. As well, they applauded this “clown” for doing the right thing.

Instead of teaching our sons and daughters that they are only allowed to like or play with certain things, we should be debunking this narrative and allow them to enjoy everything life has to offer. No matter what, our children will always be our children–even if we don’t “love” everything they do. Pushing them to become people we want them to be instead of people they’re destined to be is not only toxic but also outright cruel. Do better.