Men threatened by the idea of femininity or “traditionally” feminine things are almost impossible to reason with.
They often take any form of grace, poise, or beauty as a threat to the idea of being a man and they project this idea onto any other men around them. Ballet, one of the most difficult art forms, is often subject to this.
Redditor balletnephew found himself dealing with this when it came to his brother. His nephew wanted to pursue ballet, only to find that his brother’s toxic masculinity got in the way in a really intense way.
Unsure if he’d overstepped his bounds, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for objective feedback from strangers.
“AITA for telling my brother to fuck off and ‘forbidding’ him from seeing his son again?”
Our original poster, or OP, set up his girlfriend’s career and his nephew’s fascination with it.
“My girlfriend is an extremely talented ballerina. I try to support her in any way that I can, especially after her industry took a hit because of Covid.”
“My 7 year old nephew absolutely idolises my girlfriend (I swear everyone that comes into contact with my girlfriend falls in love with her.)”
“He’s attended a few of her shows pre-pandemic, watched the show in awe, and now has set his sights on becoming a ballet dancer and being my girlfriend’s dance partner.”
“I find it really endearing and my girlfriend encourages him a little.”
He also talked about his brother’s absent-father role.
“When my nephew was first born, my brother wanted nothing to do with him and had no intention of being an actual father.”
“He practically left his baby-mother in the dust and stopped showing up at family gatherings, stopped answering calls etc.”
“My family took my SIL in and supported her whenever we could. Over the past year or so, his mindset has definitely changed.”
“He (apparently) apologised to my SIL and promised to be a better father.”
The tension started when OP’s sister-in-law had to be hospitalized.
“My SIL fell ill and had to be hospitalised, which meant that my nephew came to live with us.”
“My brother wasn’t happy about the arrangement (as he claims that he should take care of him as the child’s father but he didn’t make too much of a fuss. He comes over to visit regularly.”
“My girlfriend practices/stretches in our living room and my nephew sometimes likes to watch and ‘follow along.’”
“My brother caught wind of this, and while he came to spend time with him, he started to get really passive-aggressive with my girlfriend, telling her that she’s turning him gay.’”
“Spouting a bunch of BS about how ‘men doing ballet is too feminine and I need him to be masculine,’ and the whole thing about, ‘no son of mine is gonna be a dancer.’”
“My girlfriend laughed it off, telling him that he was just having fun. She told me about what he said after he left.”
After catching his son practicing ballet, OP banned his brother from seeing his son after an extreme overreaction.
“There’s a few good online beginner classes so she bought him the correct clothing/shows (which he was so excited for) and took the class with him in the living room.”
“My brother walked in on this, and started verbally accosting my girlfriend for teaching him in front of him.”
“She was trying to diffuse the situation but I just yelled and told him to f**k off and that he can’t ever see his son if he’s going to act like an a**hole.”
“My girlfriend wishes the situation was handled better, as she sympathises with my nephew quite a bit.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors cheered for OP.
“Nta. Your brother doesnt get to come back after abandoning his ex and child and make decisions like he is the father.”
“He is the sperm donor until he starts acting like an actual decent dad. His misogynistic ideals are toxic and disgusting.”
“Boys can be feminine and dancers if they want to. He doesnt get to decide whether his son wants to be a dancer or not. That is not his decision.”
“Continue to support and love your nephew. Also make sure that once your sil feels better she gets a lawyer and has all papers in order incase anything were to happen to her.”
“You wouldn’t want your nephew to grow up with someone as cruel as your brother.”-Jamescookstan1
“NTA, your brother has just been in the picture recently and already demanding how he wants his child to be raised.”
“I don’t think he has the right to make all those decisions just cause he now decided he wanted to be a dad to him.”
“I feel like the only person who can have a proper say is his mum and based on the fact your nephew has attended previous shows and shown interest I don’t think his mum has a problem with it.”
“Hopefully his mum gets better and from there have a discussion with her regarding her son interests, as well as talk if anything does happen, who would look after her son.”
“Who would make sure his best interest are kept at all times because at the moment it feels like you and your gf have done more for him then his dad.”-UltimateBe
“NTA. What a homophobic jerk! He needs to be educated, seriously. His son isn’t going to turn gay because he wants to learn ballet!”
“Good grief. What a moron. Keep encouraging your nephew to always feel free to pursue his dreams.”-LoveBeach8
“NTA, your nephew doesn’t need to be raised by a misogynist and homophobic father, which would in the end make him uncomfortable and detached of his emotional side and that would cause and order of other problems.”
“No matter what it is your nephew wants now or in the future, I hope he gets to grow up fully comfortable with it, without people shaming him for his passions.”
“I hope he gets to do whatever makes him happy and excited.”
“Ballet is beautiful, it represents strength, elegance, bravery, it teaches you control and focus, it teaches you steadiness. It teaches you to be in touch of your emotions and movements.”
“Ballet dancers go through a lot of pain during a performance and yet they manage to represent it as something soft, smooth, easy and elegant.”-AreYouSureHe
Ballet takes a lot of strength and discipline, aside from having no affect on a person’s sexuality.
“NTA. I used to be a ballet dancer and what your nephew has going with your GF (private lessons! A stretching buddy! And passion for it!) is really rare and special.”
“That is NOT going to make him gay and even if he was gay who gives a fuck? He has a great support system aside from his homophobic father.”
“Keep on feeding his passion and protecting him. You two will obviously be awesome parents if you choose to have children some day.”-TheRestForTheWicked
“So he rather have a child without an involved father, one who didn’t care for them. When the child found someone to look up to, didn’t want them to be an influence because he would ‘turn’ gay?”
“NTA for calling him out on it. I don’t know about the don’t see his son again thing, just because we don’t know what the child wants and how the custody works.”
“Doesn’t the ‘father’ have any say in where the child stays etc?”
“Ultimately the child should have the say in whether or not he can see his father if he doesn’t have custody.”-haveitgood
“NTA – There is a difference between fathering a child and parenting a child. He did the former, and you are doing the latter.”
“The only consideration should be for the child. Protect the child from being harmed. Anyone in a persons life that attempts to stifle dreams is what I call a ‘soul crusher’.”
“It is incredibly hard to shake off their hurtful comments and harms mental health. Don’t let that happen. Discuss this with SO and become a united front of protection for your nephew.”-Dotfromkansas
“NTA, the funniest part is that your nephew wants to dance because he has a crush on a girl and your brother thinks ballet will make your nephew homosexual.”
“It is super sweet and supportive of your GF and I think it is great to get children interested in physical activities.”
“Ballet is a cruel field, if you don’t make the physical requirements, it can ruin your career. Let your nephew have fun and if your brother wants to put such backward thinking into play, he’s not allowed in your house.”
“He gave up parental rights and the parent there for your nephew believes in you over him.”
“When SiL gets better, let her decide your next step. Supporting your nephew and giving him a good healthy lifestyle is more important. Good job.”-LogicalJudgement
And since OP’s brother decided that he didn’t want to be a part of his child’s life, he’s not in a place to be making decisions for his son.
“Nothing more masculine than a man that isn’t scared of gender stereotypes. Pretty god damn lame to foster fragile masculinity.”
“I am a dancer, and many of my male friends really envy me for feeling so comfortable with dancing, and it’s so sad.”
“Boys should be allowed to dance. They should be allowed to do what they love so long as it doesn’t hurt them, full stop.”-DitaVonPita
“Nta, set up a camera to record his future homophobic outbursts for your sil to bring with her to court to ban him from seeing the kid and possibly get his rights terminated (if he has any legal ones at all).”
“She also needs to get a will in place cause if something happens to her, the kid may be raised by this excuse of a sperm donor. But i must ask, does the childs mother approve of the dance classes?”-ForestFlower13
“NTA. I literally hate men who think of feminine behavior as emasculating or somehow turns you gay. I have seen the strongest and the most masculine straight married men with nail polish on their hands and dancing to very girly music.”
“Liking feminine stuff doesn’t make you gay it shows you have diverse thinking and are open to different life option and aren’t an idiot who followed everything society throws at you.”-Ok_Composer_9458
“NTA. There are lots of hetero men that are in ballet.”
“Besides that, I’m not sure if it’s still done but during the 80’s and into the 90’s there were some football players (high school, college and NFL) that would take ballet classes to improve their performance on the field.”
“There’s nothing, literally nothing that is stopping your nephew from learning ballet. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
“And if your nephew ‘turns gay’ as you very intelligent brother ( /sarcasm ) stated then there’s nothing wrong with that either.”
“Who knows, maybe down the road in the future your nephew may decide he wants to be a rock star instead.”
“In the meantime, just let him be who he wants to be. And yes your brother can just f**k right off into his own fantasy world.”-whoozywhatzitnow
Regardless of the fact that his ideas are outdated, OP’s brother’s control over his son’s life Is problematic.
Hopefully OP’s nephew continues on his ballet journey with joy.