Helping your child be as healthy as possible is something most parents aim to do.
Unfortunately, sometimes people have different ideas of what “healthy” is and parents end up at odds with one another, and sometimes the children they’re trying to care for.
Reddit user “Sad-Drawer-6864” asked for people’s thoughts after his ex-wife dismissed him as “mansplaining” when it came to their daughter’s health.
Mansplaining is definitely an a-hole moment, so what better place to ask than the AITA (“Am I The A**hole?”) subReddit?
“AITA for ‘mansplaining’ my daughters health to my ex-wife?”
The original poster (OP) shared their conundrum as a post. Other redditors commented to share their thoughts and cast votes for whether the OP was the bad guy in the situation.
Voting options are:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Here is dad’s whole story.
“So my daughter has been staying with me since she turned 18, but visits my ex-wife a few times a year. She’s always been pretty heavy, but not in an unhealthy way—she’s 5’10 and weighs over 200lbs, but a lot of it’s muscle—she lifts weights, plays rugby, and runs every week.”
“In my opinion as a personal trainer this is fine. I don’t really care how she looks aesthetically, as long as she’s fit and healthy (which she absolutely is).”
“My ex wife and her husband see things differently. They’ve always been on at her to lose weight and slim down, even though she’s quite an impressive athlete.”
“To an extent, I think this is partly out of fat phobia (she’s said some horrible things about my current girlfriend’s weight).”
“Anyway, under lockdown, my daughter has kept her muscle mass, but also put on some weight—about 10 pounds since January. She still works out every day, but she struggles a bit more with some of the exercises.”
“As far as I’m aware, it’s made no real difference to her health—the workout routine she does every day isn’t an easy one (I should know, I worked with her on it),and also, there’s a pandemic, she’s allowed to get a little flabbier.”
“My ex-wife doesn’t think so. She sent a long email to me, saying I was being ‘negligent’ in allowing her to gain weight, and that our daughter was ‘turning into a whale’.”
“She told me I needed to tell her to get it together and lose some weight, or that she would have to do it herself. She also sent me a diet plan which she wanted to put my daughter on.”
“She also implied that my girlfriend was a bad influence on our daughter due to her weight.”
“To give full disclosure, I responded like this:”
” ‘Sorry, but you’re being a Karen. Everyone I know has had changes in weight during lockdown, so I don’t know why you’ve chosen to single (daughter) out’.”
“‘She’s also well aware that she’s gained weight, so I don’t know why you think I have to tell her (daughter) is a grown woman, and it’s not up to me to put her on diets’.”
“‘Even if it was, the diet you’ve chosen is ridiculous and insubstantial—it’s not designed for someone who lifts weights and works out every day. If I recommended that to a client who was doing as much exercise as she is, I’d be fired’.”
“‘I understand you only want what’s best for (daughter) but so do I, and I know much more about diet and exercise than you do. Please leave this stuff to me as I’m worried you and (new husband) could unknowingly do harm to (daughter)’.”
“This, apparently, was not the right thing to say, and she kicked off.”
“Both she and her husband accused me of ‘mansplaining’ to her, and trying to be ‘the fun parent’ rather than the responsible one. My girlfriend and daughter, meanwhile, think I did the right thing.”
“I don’t think I was mansplaining as it was genuinely a topic of which I am an expert and her and her husband know nothing, but that could just be me mansplaining what mansplaining is.”
Reddit was not at all moved by moms claim of “mansplaining.”
“Right. While I’m sure one could mansplain their own profession to a layperson, I think it would require said professional to be condescending, infantilizing, and rude.”
“This was just his professional opinion, mixed with a bid of protective dad. That’s not mansplaining, that’s just pointing out that the ex’s idea of ‘healthy’ is unobtainable and dangerous for her daughter. NTA” – Jade_Echo
“NTA. Sounds like Mom wants her daughter to live up to impossible beauty standards. She doesn’t care if she causes her daughter to end up having an eating disorder, so long as she looks like the photo shopped models in magazines.”
“An athletic woman has to eat a certain way to be able to do everything they do. If she goes on a diet, it will affect her badly and possibly make her pass out from not getting enough of what she needs.” – WeeklyConversation8
“Hi, I’m a woman who lifts weights. Just wanted to add that women naturally have a higher percentage of body fat.”
“Under 14% would be unhealthy for most women. Athletic women typically have 15-24% body fat. 25-31% is fine. Over 32% body fat is when it could have some negative effects.”
“Weight is not an effective measurement of health. Muscles are more dense than fat, so a person could gain weight by becoming more active.”
“Muscle can disappear with both lack of use and with dieting. If there isn’t enough nutrition to support the muscle, it will atrophy.”
“Anyway yeah, you’re NTA. Mom can go toss her hopes of a model-thin daughter in the trash, where they belong.” – TheOtherZebra
“That wasn’t mansplaining since you didn’t explain anything. Mansplaining is when a man explains something to a woman who didn’t ask and who may very well know that subject better than he does.”
“Mansplaining is NOT when a man who is an expert in a field tells a woman who is not an expert in that field to back off b/c he knows better than she does. Once again, you literally didn’t explain anything, you just told her to f*ck off, which she deserved.”
“Next time, go harder: tell her she’s fat phobic because she is. NTA.” – usernaym44
“First off, it’s not mansplaining. Taking all other issues out of it for a moment, mansplaining is when a man with less (or equal) expertise speaks over or for a woman with expertise in the subject.”
“You are the expert here. Your post stated that you are a personal trainer.”
“Mansplaining is also not having a difference of opinion and arguing it.”
“Your message was firm but polite. Keep pushing back. And you’re right, of course.”
“Trying to impose a diet on another adult is ridiculous. NTA.” – PeggyHW
“NTA. Your daughter is an adult, so your ex-wife has no right to mandate a diet plan for her. And the pressure and shaming your ex and her new husband are subjecting your daughter to could damage her self-esteem or cause her body image issues, if they haven’t already.”
“Your daughter is healthy and taking care of herself—that’s the most important thing. And regardless, she’s an adult and entitled to bodily autonomy.”
“Parental weight pressure is a huge pet peeve of mine. My mother was extremely fat-phobic, a trait she passed to my brother.”
“I listened to her critique her overweight sisters for years—not within their hearing, thankfully, but within mine. I’ve had huge body image issues in my adulthood, regardless of where my weight actually sat.”
“I’ve worked through a lot of it with a therapist, but now I’m pregnant and it’s really difficult seeing my weight go up on the scale—even though that’s exactly what it’s SUPPOSED to be doing. Anything you can do to keep your ex’s malignant influence away from your daughter will help her in the long run.” – Puzzleheadedhurry26
“NTA. You are a personal trainer, you know about nutrition better than your ex.”
“Though 200 lbs is still definitely overweight for someone of your daughter’s height, even if it is more muscle than fat.”
“I wouldn’t say that losing weight is something she should entirely ignore, but a small calorie deficit while keeping the workout and a sustainable diet could fix that with time and patience, not some of those weird cut out everything fake diets you read about in women’s magazines your ex clearly seems to be so into.” – sinceritasinfernalis
“Daughter’s body. Daughter thinks you’re right. Daughter is an adult. End of discussion.” – BurnAccount1974
“NTA. Your daughter is now legally an adult and parenting regarding diet and weight needs to stop. Ex-wife is super the A-hole, calling your daughter a whale, even if it was just to you.” – Bravo_Is_Over
It’s pretty clear where Reddit stands. Dad was not the a**hole, nor was he mansplaining.