Teen's Text Exchange With Mom is Why Representation of All Types of Men Matters

April 28th 2017

Almie Rose

It's easy to follow the advice "be yourself" when you have support from your family. But what if you don't?

PrinceJauan tweet

Jauan went viral on Twitter when he posted a text exchange with his mom who expressed disappointment in him — solely for wearing makeup.

"I do not approve of this bullshyt [sic]," his mom texted him. "Wth is wrong with u? I am so disappointed. U are a male wth do u have on eyelashes, eyebrows, and make up? I'm completely done."

The 18-year-old college student from Atlanta, Georgia, responded to her with a simple "OK" and then shared this message on Twitter:

"Lol, this hurts. It really does. But I'm going to live in my truth until the day that I die."

That's when Twitter users stepped in to vocalize support:

But in a follow-up tweet, Jauan noted some felt differently:

As Jauan told Popsugar, what cut the deepest was his mom's reaction.

"I want to cry man,'" he wrote. "My mom ain't disappointed in me because I'm on the streets not doing anything with my life. She's disappointed because I have on makeup. I'm in college. Heavily involved in Student Government and bettering myself and my community. And she's disappointed in me because I have on makeup because she feels makeup is only for women."


The notion that men cannot and do not wear makeup goes back to issues of toxic masculinity.

Toxic masculinity is an issue men face - especially, men of color.

As Esther Armah wrote in Ebony in 2016 on the subject, "for Black men, toxic masculinity presents particular challenges. We are a people for whom emotionality was alien. Our origins in America meant Black men and women were robbed of the privilege of emotionality, humanity. That created a generational inheritance where emotionality — just feeling normal human emotions — was somehow a sign of some kind of frailty. And frailty and Blackness simply could not be together."

A photo of a black father and son cuddling throughout the years sparked backlash from people who thought it was "the weirdest shit ever" and "a man shouldn't be raising his son to be on him like that."

But like the dad in the photo, there are more dads who are happy to show their love for their sons — some by wearing makeup themselves.

A 16-year-old from Arizona posted a tweet of him in full makeup, alongside his dad.

And Manny Gutierrez, a makeup artist, posted a tweet of his dad shutting down another man who saw a fully made-up Gutierrez. He wrote in a tweet: "dads, this is why you need to be there to raise your sons."

By Jauan putting himself out there, and to do it without his parents' support, he's not only challenging the notion that makeup is "only for women" but he's also encouraging others to live their own truths. As he wrote in a tweet on April 25, "I just want everyone to be able to express themselves without ridicule."