Little Boy Gets Bullied by His Parents for Wanting a Butterfly Face-Painting


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We speak a lot about the ways negative gender stereotypes affect both men and women. They lead to things like misogyny, homophobia, and hurtful actions that are harmful for everyone involved. While a lot of us are learning how to combat toxic masculinity -- or the idea that boys need to be "manly" in order to be accepted -- in our adult lives, we don't always get to see the effects it has on children in real time. At least, not to the effect that one face painter at a picnic got to see it.

  • Professional clown Sandra was working as a face painter at a picnic when a little boy asked her to paint a butterfly on his face.

    The ensuing interaction she had with the boy's mother and father encouraged her to speak out about the dangers of toxic masculinty and the harmful long-term effects it has on boys. 

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  • Even after she tried to stress the fact that the little boy clearly wanted the butterfly, the mother wouldn't budge.

  • The boy's father did nothing to discourage the mom's harmful assertions that butterflies are "not for boys."

  • Obviously painting a blue butterfly on this boy's face would have caused him to burst into flames.

    Either that or it would turn him into a person so sure of himself that his confidence doesn't have to come at the expense of his own self-expression.

  • Sandra didn't give up so easily.

    She tried giving the boy what he wanted despite his mother's protests but, like so many times before, toxic masculinity won out in the end. 


  • She also beautifully expressed what we we're all thinking.

  • Sandra even addressed the crazy double standards placed on boys and girls.

  • The vast majority of the reactions to Sandra's story were positive ones -- some from people praising her for speaking out on such a tough subject...

  • ... some from fathers talking about the things they go through with their own sons ...

  • ... and even some from men who are still struggling to unlearn the harmful views they were exposed to as children.

  • She ended her tweets with a super powerful truth bomb.

    Gender stereotypes are about more than just hurt feelings. Those hurt little boys grow into men, and those men turn into people who cause real harm to the world and to themselves because they've been forbidden from expressing themselves.

    As parents, we must remember it is up to us to make sure that we don't perpetuate these things in or outside of our homes. And as people, we shouldn't be afraid to speak or stand up when we see something like this happening outside of it. 

boys gender bias bullying