Self expression through clothing is an important part of many people's identities. For young people, it's often one of the first ways they express their individuality.
A 40-year-old mom is dealing with clashing with her 15-year-old daughter's personal style and the expectations for formal events. The mom thought she found a fair compromise, but her daughter disagreed.
So mom turned to the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit for feedback on her idea.
Redditor amiwrong6321 asked:
"AITA for forcing my tomboy daughter to wear formal clothing?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"My family is Indian-American, but I like to think I am pretty progressive. I have a [16-year-old] son and a [15-year-old] daughter."
"My daughter has started to become a tomboy over the last 2 years, despises feminine clothing and style. While it has definitely been an adjustment in my perception, I have always tried to be as supportive as possible, and have let her pick her own clothing, only eliminating anything that was graphic or inappropriate."
"However, my niece was getting married in a traditional, big Indian wedding. While generally all the girls would be wearing formal lehangas (Indian traditional dresses), I dropped it after asking my daughter if she wanted to wear that and she said no (only mentioned it once because she really looks up to my niece and I did not want her to feel left out)."
"When I asked her what she wanted to wear, she said that she would wear a t-shirt and slacks."
"But, I insisted that she wear a formal clothing of her choice, whether it was a suit, a dress or traditional Indian clothing. This was black tie event."
"I was making my son wear a formal suit. Everyone was going to be dressed to the nines."
"I was going to get my son a new suit tailored for the event, and I insisted that she come with and pick a fabric and suit style as well."
"It could be to her desire (as long as it was appropriate); like a very typical men's suit or feminine twist like what Zendaya wears."
"She got angry and said I was constricting her expression."
"I think she will have to wear formal clothing in other points in her life, whether for work or other formal events. She can express herself however she wants but dressing appropriately for the occasion is a necessary skill."
"The wedding has been postponed for now, but I still want her to wear a formal outfit and she is still mad at me about this. AITA?"
The OP returned to add a few more details after their post garnered attention.
"While some of you have labeled me as the a**hole, I think a lot of you are saying that I am not which is good to hear. But, I want to stress that I don't think my daughter is really the a**hole (a little right now) but she is the sweetest little girl in the world (I might be biased haha)."
"She is usually very respectful, gets excellent grades and works really hard. I am very proud of her."
"Some of you have mentioned there is an underlying problem that I am not seeing. I do not think my daughter is trans, but I think I have made it clear that it's okay if she or anyone else is."
"She also generally seems pretty happy with her body; she is actually really fashionable and doesn't really wear baggy clothing or anything, but is more into 'streetwear'. She is the one who showed me who Zendaya is!"
"Are there additional signs I should be looking for or things I should be doing?"
"I think she is at the stage in life where she knows everything, and I, her mom, knows nothing. She wants to rebel for something, but isn't really the type to rebel with something really bad (thank god), so she decided this is a justified area to rebel."
"She is also at home, and I haven't really allowed her to go out because of the current circumstances; so think she feels cooped up and now everything about me is annoying her."
"That being said, a lot of you said to tell her she can't go to the wedding if she doesn't wear formal clothing, and I may be the a**hole here, but SHE IS GOING."
"That is a thing I have decided to take a hard stance on."
"(1) because my daughter really, really wants to go! She loves her cousin and my family, and she is a really social person who would love weddings. Telling her not to go would hurt her I think and would be counterproductive in the longterm."
"(2) This is the first wedding in our family and the first time my kids will see a traditional Indian wedding. They have never seen one before, so I think its important that they learn and feel connected to our culture."
"(3) If she decides not to go as an act of rebellion, I know my daughter, and I know she will feel really, really sad afterwards."
"Parenting is hard, and I was always a girly-girl and so were all the people around me, so this is uncharted territory for me. Thank you to all of you for your kind words and encouragement."
Redditors weighed in with their judgment be declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- NAH - No A**holes Here
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors gave the mom the judgment she asked for, but may not have wanted based on her updated post.
"NTA. You even gave her the choice of what type of formal wear to wear."
"It's extremely disrespectful to show up to a wedding in a t-shirt." ~ SonicPetrichor
"OP, you said your daughter looks up to your niece. Perhaps if you explain that wearing a t-shirt is not just inappropriate but also incredibly insulting to the bride and groom, she may come around?" ~ stellesbells
According to the guidance of the subReddit, NTA is for cases where the OP is not doing anything wrong, but the other party is, even if it's a minor infraction or "normal teenage rebellion."
While mom pled her daughter's case, her insistence on wearing a t-shirt to a formal event—instead of any of the many options provided—made her the a**hole in the scenario.
"NTA. Sorry you don't want people to call your daughter the a$hole, but that's what you asked for in this forum. If you want advice and no judgment, this is not the place for it."
"You're being very accommodating of her fashion choices. She has a wide range of things to choose from, but she's insisting on something that is completely inappropriate for the occasion."
"This is disrespectful to the bride, groom and their immediate families that have invited her to their formal event. Ask your daughter how she'd feel if someone showed up in a bikini to a beloved family members funeral."
"She needs to recognize this isn't about you or about her. It's about her cousin and her fiancé. If she cares about them at all she will respect them by wearing a formal outfit, whatever that ends up being, to their formal wedding." ~ LakotaGrl
"NTA it's a formal event where everyone has been asked to attend in [traditional/formal attire]. Don't go if you're not going to respect the wishes of the hosts."
"It's not about her."
"I come from an ethnic background and I think you're being wonderful about the way you're handling this as most people from our communities would try and force traditional expectations on her, but your alternatives are really open minded and creative."
"The bride and groom would likely be pissed to see someone show up looking like that. My wedding was not a particularly formal affair but even I would be annoyed if someone rocked up in a T-shirt and slacks." ~ Little-bit_
Redditors should know the rules for the subReddits they consult. While this mom wanted to be judged for her choices, she was unprepared for that judgment to fall on her child.