A woman went along with her husband's sexist family tradition in which the men in the family always ate first.
After years of tolerance and trying not to ruffle any feathers, Redditor "IllustriousPickle20" finally asked her father-in-law why all the women had to eat after the men.
The Original Poster (OP) – who is not a native English speaker – asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for repeatedly challenging the misogynistic tradition.
"When I (F) first met my husband's family, I noticed they had a tradition where all the females (it's a huge family living together) would cook the food together and the men would eat first after which the women would eat."
"I didn't initially comment on it, not wanting to get into a conflict with people I didn't know too well."
After a while of going along with the senseless tradition, the Original Poster (OP) became annoyed.
"As years passed though, I got more annoyed with this tradition."
All of the following reasons to criticize the preferential order of eating made perfect sense.
"For one thing, the food would be cold by the time I (and other women) begin to eat. We also usually visited during holidays and festivals, and a lot of expensive delicacies that is not normally prepared otherwise is made then, and I don't always get any because their might not be leftovers."
"Not to mention, I help cook, so it seems absurd to me that I have to wait hungry while others are done. None of the other women seem to mind this."
A conversation regarding this was long overdue, so the OP recently addressed the sexist ritual with her father-in-law.
"A few months back, before eating, we were all in the living room and I thought I would ask them about this."
"Me: Can we all eat at the same time?"
"FIL: No. This is an old tradition in our family because men would be really hungry after coming back from work."
"Me: Most of the women work nowadays though."
"FIL: It seems really wrong to suddenly stop something we have been doing for so long now."
It was a stalemate situation, and she would have dropped it were it not for the members of her husband's family – including the women – calling her an a**hole for challenging their cultural tradition.
"This continues on for a while - FIL insisting it's a tradition and shouldn't be broken and me saying it's sexist."
"Nothing changed, men ate first like usual, and I dropped it. However I had several of my husband's relatives come up to me and say that I am an a**hole for questioning their traditions, and that I don't stay with them and asking this makes me an a**hole."
"A lot of the women also think I am an a**hole because they think I made a big fuss about nothing."
Although the OP did not specify the culture, she most likely referred to the Indian culture in which the custom is commonplace.
Eating together as a family is not traditionally encouraged in the patriarchal society. Men and children eat first before the women can sit down and join them.
In millions of impoverished homes in rural areas of India, this practice has led to malnutrition among women.
The deeply entrenched tradition is something that continues to be challenged in modern society.
Redditors slammed the tradition and sided with the OP as NTA (Not the A**hole) for her constant inquiry.
"NTA. This is a dumb tradition. It's just a sexist control thing, and you are right for calling them out."
"How is your husband handling this, though? He would also be TA if he's fine with this. He should be the one calling out his family with you." – Dizzy_Business
Redditors pointed out that the husband is just as complicit with his participation.
"If he's eating with the men before you eat, he's a part of it." – bluebell435
"I'll bet he's eating when the men eat, so yeah, he's a part of it." – Gagirl4604
"Yeah, he presumable benefits from it and takes part in it, therefore by refusing to speak or act against the tradition, his silence is a support of it." – MissAylaRegexQueen
"There are several things he could do."
"Make you a plate when he makes his."
"Wait to eat with you."
"Support your questions."
"Agree not to go anymore." – AlmaReville
These guys would break from tradition if they were from the same culture.
"I think I would wait and eat with the women personally. I can't absolutely say this of course, I don't know all the circumstances, but I'd rather eat with my wife than a bunch of sexists." – boogswald
"I would insist that my wife join me at the table to eat the food she helped prepare, or no longer attend gatherings that treat women like slaves who get the scraps once the masters have had their pick and fill." – Seeker131313
This Redditor is convinced the OP's confrontation did not go unnoticed by the women in the family.
"I know it's hard because a lot of people gave you sh*t."
"However it sounds like there are quite a few women there? There is NO doubt in my mind that even just one woman felt validated by you, who has been too scared to say something herself."
"The good you did may be invisible but I bet you helped at least 1 woman there by trying to stick up for them. Self esteem sounds like it's probably in short supply in that household... sometimes girls raised in an environment like this want to speak out but do not have the confidence or the support to do so."
"You helped someone. I swear you did."
"Also I can't imagine your husband going to eat without you and first. That's despicable. The problem lies primarily with him. I really doubt he's not affected in other ways by being raised in a sexist household." – the_shiny_guru
The husband should follow this admirable man's example.
"My father grew up in the deep south, and similar traditions were in place there. He tried to keep my mother away from that side of things as much as possible, but eventually Thanksgiving happened and they had to go."
"They tried to make my mom sit outside and wait to eat with the other women. My dad fixed a big plate, went outside himself and ate with her. He got a ton of flak for it."
"Super proud of that man." – TheBaz11
The OP was encouraged to be more aggressive.
"Stop going orrrrrrr because I'm a little sh*t, I'd be right up there along side the men because godd*mn If I cooked I get to eat it. Try to stop me." – Come-on-nowww
"I would just not cook and eat with the men. Then go 'I thought those who cook had to wait, so I fixed my issue. No cooking or waiting for me.'" – Gwennie333
If the husband is clearly aware of his wife's uneasiness and cares about her, it's time to dispense with the antiquated customs.