Boys Love Butterflies Too

Recently, I read a Twitter feed by a children’s entertainer, who described how a 4-year-old boy had asked for a blue butterfly to be painted on his face.

The boy’s mum had stepped in and told the face painter that the boy didn’t want a butterfly. The Dad agreed, saying he didn’t want the boy to have a butterfly on his cheek. Instead, the mother advised the entertainer to “give him something for boys” instead. ⠀

Trailblazer Grayson Perry has said that gender stereotyping starts when babies are in the womb. We buy blue clothes for boys and pink clothes for girls. We do it even though we know that we’re gender stereotyping. We give boys toy guns to play with and girls dolls to play with.

We teach our boys that it’s not okay to feel anything other than anger and that nature is something to be conquered, rather than nurtured. No wonder that little boy’s love of butterflies wasn’t supported. It feels risky to nurture sensitivity in our boys, almost as if we’re putting them in danger by allowing their hearts to stay open.

Boys are expected to abide by a certain set of rigid rules and expectations, many of which revolve around being strong and tough. This is not news anymore — a long overdue and much needed conversation is taking place about this. Sadly, countless boys are still being sentenced to spend life as metaphorical caterpillars instead of the beautiful butterflies they are destined to become —men with open hearts and minds, aware of their connection to all living beings.

That little boy ended up with a skull and crossbones on his face. I wonder whether one day his parents will regret this, quietly yearning for the spirit of their 4-year-old boy who loved blue butterflies.

Is it really so risky to acknowledge that boys love butterflies too?

It’s time to break the vow of male silence. Join the movement. Spread the word.

Husband and wife team Nige and Elloa Atkinson write and speak about breaking the vow of male silence. Join them in this vital conversation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

With over ten 5-star reviews on Amazon UK and US, their new book, Odd Man Out: Breaking the Vow of Male Silence is a must-read for men who want to know more about themselves and women who want to know more about men. Available in paperback and Kindle.