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Wildlife Biologist Called ‘Disrespectful’ For Calling Out Her Dad After He Questions Her Research

female biologist
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Family gatherings can always be a bit tense given the plethora of personalities, beliefs, and general likes and dislikes confined in intimate space.

But we usually make at least some effort to be pleasant and polite to make the most of the rare time we spend together.

Sometimes, however, it seems impossible, especially when a loved one discredits your life’s passion.

A woman on Reddit experienced some family friction when her father completely disrespected her expertise in her field of work. She turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subreddit to seek feedback from fellow Redditors.

Redditor SchemeLong4640 asked:

“AITA for telling my father ‘I do know about that?'”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (F[emale]/28) am a wildlife biologist.”

“I have a master’s degree in Wildlife Conservation and hope to pursue my doctorate soon.”

“I have worked in this field since I was 16 and am very passionate about it.”

“When visiting my family recently for Easter, my mom asked me to tell the family a little bit about work.”

“I was very excited to talk about my current research!”

“Here’s where the issue comes in, though.”

“My father (M[ale]/60) would respond to almost everything I said with ‘hmm, I don’t know about that…'”

“At first, I tried to ignore it, but it just. Didn’t. Stop.”

Soon, she had enough.

“Eventually, I responded, ‘Well, I do, given the two degrees and all!'”

“I responded in a light, playful tone, but he did not take it well at all.”

“He immediately accused me of being disrespectful.”

“I responded ‘I’m sorry, but it’s disrespectful of you to insinuate that you know more than I do about my field.'”

“Dinner got pretty quiet after that.”

And apparently, there were still hard feelings.

“I finished the meal, helped with the dishes, and said goodbye before leaving, but on the ride home, I got a phone call from my mother asking me why I felt the need to aggravate my father and why I had to ‘talk back.'”

“I am a 28 year old professional, this feels insane to me.”


OP has offered the following explanation for why they think they might be the a**hole:

“I may be the a**hole because I was unable to ignore my father’s behavior, potentially ruining the night instead of choosing not to take it personally.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.

“NTA. At first you used a playful tone so you weren’t confronting him in front of other people.”

“He was being disrespectful to you to start with.”

“Is this a pattern with him?” – serioushobbit

“NTA, your dad is obviously uncomfortable with the idea of you being an authority. Does he have any post-grad education?”

“Many older gen folks without education feel threatened by being perceived as ignorant so they posture as compensation.” – ExamAcademic5557

“Every. single. family dinner.”

“My humungous family has an opinion on everything.”

“The number of times they are flat-out wrong about biology is stunning.”

“I have had every possible reaction, anger, bemusement, deafness, irritation, debating.”

“In the end, whether I take the high road or the low road, I often feel like sh*t.”

“Deafness or shrugging is usually my best defense against vague ‘I don’t knows.'”

“I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you. (then give a cheeky wink)”

“I don’t have the time or the crayons to explain this to you. (then laugh as if everyone is in on the joke)”

“Finally: Mark Twain: Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

“Good luck going forward.”

“NTA” – jensmith20055002

“NTA at all!”

“He needs to realize he’s raised an intelligent and educated child who is capable of teaching him a thing or two, and that he doesn’t know everything.”

“I can’t help but wonder how he’d respond if you had been his son instead of his daughter.” – StellarPhenom420

“Honestly, your dad sounds rude, but your mom was 100% wrong with the phone call.”

“SHE instigated a conversation about it specifically because it’s what you have studied, you weren’t ‘aggravating’ your father, he was insulting you by undermining your knowledge on something you LITERALLY HAVE DEGREES IN.”

“And all you did was point that out.”

“The audacity 😒 NTA op” – Mental-Woodpecker300


“Your father is an ‘armchair expert’ by the sounds of it. Thinks he knows everything about everything. “

“He obviously didn’t like it that you know more about XYZ than he does.”

“The fact that you were playful, and didn’t mean your response to him as rude and obnoxious, goes in your favour here.”

“If you had been condescending, my judgment would be that you’re a bit of an AH for your tone/phrasing; but that’s not the case.”

“You have 2 degrees in the subject, and your father still thinks that he knows more than you.”

“It seems to me that his nose has been put out of joint, and he’s embarrassed that you—albeit playfully—put him in his place.”

“Your father is an AH for accusing you of being disrespectful to cover for his own embarrassment.”

“He also sounds a tad misogynistic, like a woman cannot possibly know more than a man. Or that a child couldn’t know more than their parent.”

“Seems like he still sees you as a kid rather than a 28-year-old woman.”

“Do you apologize to keep the peace? That’s up to you.”

“I wouldn’t, but then if he refuses to talk to you unless you apologize, it could get uncomfortable for your mom.”

“Although she sounds like she is in agreement with your dad, it could just be that she feels put on the spot having to choose sides.”

“In an ideal world, she should have more of a backbone and be able to stand up for you when you are clearly in the right.”

“But, as we all well know, this is far from an ideal world.”

“Mom might be a bit of an AH for agreeing with him, but she could also be doing that because she has to live with your father, and doesn’t want any arguments with him.”

“But I digress. The fact is that you were not an AH.” – JaneDoe_83

“Why do so many parents suck, and the other parent just enables the suck?”

“NTA.” – SpaceyScribe

“NTA. You (or your parents or your grant committee) paid a freaking fortune for you to become an expert in a field.”

“You’ve worked hard and you’re accomplishing something.”

“Your parents should be proud of you. You should be proud of yourself.”

“If he says, ‘well, I don’t know about that.’ You should say, ‘No, reason why you should. I’ve studied for more than ten years and I still haven’t learned all about the mysteries of (fill in the blank here). It’s a fascinating study.'”

“Your father sounds a little insecure about your superior knowledge.” – Aggravating_Net6733

“NTA. First of all your father is a misogynist, it accepting that he raised an intelligent, accomplished woman, having to put her down at every opportunity because his ego was threatened.”

“Second, your mother jumped on you because she is used to capitulating to him, probably because she is used to him making her life hell when he doesn’t get his own way.”

“Good for you for standing up to a father who felt the need to bully his own child to bolster his own ego.”

“And your mother needs to start standing up for her child against this as opposed to always taking the easiest path.” – bamf1701

“NTA, here are some more comebacks to ‘I don’t know about that'”

“‘It’s alright, I don’t expect you to! It’s pretty high-level stuff in my field'”

“‘Well good thing you’re not doing biology then! Don’t worry about it too much!'”

“‘If something confuses you, I would be more than happy to explain it! Biology can be really difficult, that’s why it took me x years to get where I did!'” – high_on_acrylic.” – OldMetalHead


“You reminded me of a car game we used to play where we’d take turns naming animal species beginning with each letter of the alphabet.”

“When someone couldn’t think of one, they lost the round, and we’d move on to the next letter.”

“My dad would not let us use any species he hadn’t personally heard of because he thought we were making them up.”

“Nothing exists outside his personal sphere of awareness lol.” – ttnl35

Though OP hasn’t updated her invested commenters on the current state of the situation, she should be able to rest easy knowing the Reddit community doesn’t think she was not out of line for calling out her father.

It’s not easy when someone – especially someone very close to you – tries to humiliate you in front of others with absolutely no grounds to do so.

We truly hope, yet highly doubt, that OP’s father learned a lesson about respecting others’ expertise and acknowledges that perhaps he doesn’t know everything.

Written by AB Keith

AB Keith is an educator turned roadtripper who is currently teaching virtually while touring the USA. Her dream is to visit all the national parks and create a series of nonfiction children's books about NP adventures through the eyes of her dog, Backpack Benny.