You’re not likely to find the nicest folks in Reddit’s AITA forum, where people present a dilemma and ask users “Am I the Asshole?” But one dad’s post is so full of red flags, it might just be the worst one we’ve encountered this month.
The title alone is pretty problematic: “AITA for telling my wife and daughter that if my daughter wears a two-piece bikini I will not take her with us to the lake the next time we go?”
It appears we’re dealing with a dad who thinks he should be able to “tell” his wife and daughter what to do, rather than treating them like human beings who deserve a voice of their own. And, yep, that’s exactly what we’re dealing with.
“My daughter is only 15. She is way too young to be dressing in a two-piece, but my wife agreed to let her buy one without my knowledge,” he begins his rant.
Hey, Dad, guess what? It’s your daughter’s body, and she’s definitely old enough to get a say in how she dresses it.
But his post gets worse. When he realizes his daughter is wearing a bikini during a lake trip, he badgers, threatens and coerces both his wife and the poor teen in front of her friends.
“I stop the boat and ask her and my wife why she is wearing a bikini,” he continues. “They tell me that it’s no big deal and that all of her friends wear them so why should she not wear one too. I tell them that she’s too young to wear something so revealing and I disapprove. I tell her that either she covers up or I will take the boat back to the ramp, so she agrees, mostly because some of her friends were there and she didn’t want to ruin their trip.”
The dad continues to issue threats and edicts. “I told them both that next time if she did not wear a tankini, one piece or something that covered her up more she would not be coming with us to the lake. She would stay at home or else I would refuse to get the boat out and we would all stay home.”
It apparently hasn’t occurred to him that he can simply have a conversation with his wife and respect her opinion as his partner. Not to mention, by belittling his daughter and ignoring her thoughts and feelings, he’s doing far more damage than any scrap of cloth ever could when it comes to how she presents herself in the world.
Thankfully, Reddit users roundly agreed this dude is, in fact, an asshole. They pointed out the many flaws with how this dud of a dad behaved:
“I think that it sets a bad precedent for a father to tell his daughter what she can do with her body. She should be comfortable in her skin and she should have bodily autonomy. You can think these rules begin and end with you but they don’t. I wouldn’t want my daughter to go through life thinking men can control her body,” one user said.
“You don’t own the women in your life,” said another. “They are allowed to make their own decisions, even if they go against yours. Instead of a hard no, you should have opened the floor for discussion—asked your wife and daughter why they thought it was okay, explained your concerns, and allowed each party to address the others concerns.”
“By making a fuss about her covering up, you objectified and sexualized her a 1000% more than ‘wearing a bikini’ ever did. She’s reduced to what she was wearing and her body parts,” another user astutely noted.
Hopefully this dad has seen the comments and has had some time to reflect on his controlling behavior—and will let his daughter enjoy lake trips without his weird hang-ups interfering. Based on his comments in the thread below his post, there’s reason for optimism.
“I think I was too harsh, but the comments have given me a lot to think about and made some really good points,” he says. “I was being too overprotective and shouldn’t have made such a big deal about the bikini.”