A California man took his toddler son for a mani-pedi after the boy’s teacher told him “painting your nails is only for girls.”
“My son came home from school upset because his teacher told him that painting his nails is only for girls, so today I’m taking him to the nail shop!” the 3-year-old’s father, Christian Shearhod said in a video shared to TikTok.
The clip – which as of Thursday had more than 4 million views and had garnered more than 700,000 likes – shows Shearhod’s son, Ashton, at a West Hollywood nail salon, excitedly shouting, “I want pink!” before the service.
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Ashton’s dad also a teacher
Ashton’s dad is a math teacher in Los Angeles County, and in an interview with NBC News, he said his son first expressed interest in nail polish about age 2.
“Since then, we started painting our nails together,” he told the outlet.
When Ashton came home upset after his teacher’s remark, Shearhod said he and his girlfriend hoped to cheer the boy up by taking him to the nail salon.
“I really just wanted to make sure that he didn’t have guilt or shame, because it is something that he enjoyed, and we had done together multiple times,” Shearhod said, adding that he wants his son to enjoy life to the fullest at his age, without “strict gender norms.”
‘Cultures have different gender norms’
In a TikTok he posted three days ago, Shearhod is seen speaking to an unknown person at the boy’s school explaining what took place.
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“So before anyone tries to cancel his school; we have to remember that different cultures have different gender norms,” Shearhod wrote in a caption below the video. “His teachers love him and are really so good to him! As a teacher myself I know his teacher probably thought she was helping him and I highly doubt there was any malicious intent.”
Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.