Strangers and unsolicited advice can be a toxic combination.
Have you ever been in public with your child or a child in your care, only to have a stranger swoop down on you and start offering their best parenting tips? Was it welcome?
Reddit user seher154 was in such a situation when a stranger decided to berate her for treatment of her niece. She went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to tell the story:
Our original poster, or OP, detailed an incident that brought her 3-year-old niece to wearing a hijab in public:
“My little niece had a head injury a few months back. They had to shave her beautiful locks and she was very sad.”
“Bc she loves Elsa she always wants braided hair. She put on her moms hijab and asked me to braid it so it looks like its her hair.”
Her niece fell in love with the look:
“Since that day she does not want to stop wearing it and honestly it is adorable. Tho we don’t put it on her for kindergarten we do when we go on a trip and she asks for it.”
But a random stranger disapproved and tried to tell OP as much:
“Anyways yesterday a women went off on me about me brainwashing my ‘daughter’ by covering her hair and teaching her misogyny. She went on about how I should be a feminist and let her have freedom. She just did not stop so at some point i slightly raised my voice and told her off.”
And the telling off was rich:
“I said she was a moron for getting involved in the first place but also for judging without asking ANY questions. At this point I was so frustrated I called her a fake feminist, moron and an idiot before leaving.”
“I do think I was in the right but at the same time the woman did look apologetic in the end.”
So OP wanted to know, did she go a step too far?
Redditors gave OP feedback by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Reddit could not find any fault with OP.
“NTA and I didn’t know you could braid a hijab, but I looked up pictures and it’s very cute. With a gold-colored or white one (don’t know if that’s allowed by religious rules), it would look just like one of those goofy Elsa wigs for kids!”
“The person who confronted you sounds like a TERF but for Muslims (Muslim-Exclusionary Radical Feminist?).”~FekketCantenel
“NTA- strangers should mind their own business. The child is happy, you did nothing wrong, and she just wanted to complain or gets off on being offended. Unfortunately, the need to be a victim runs deep sometimes, and you shouldn’t feel bad for wanting a person to leave you and a child alone….she shouldn’t have minded her own business.”~invasionfromkat
“NTA – ignorance and bigotry always go hand-in-hand and she is no exception. Young children are not required to wear hijab even in the strictest of religious interpretations and harassing a small child and her caretaker is beyond rude.”~HowardProject
“God I hate people like that. There’s so much that needs to be fixed in the world and they decide the best way to go about it is haranguing strangers about things they know nothing about. NTA. How about helping instead of judging? I HOPE she looked apologetic at the end! Maybe she learned a lesson.”~dreadedwheat
The tirade that the woman went on was regarded by Redditors as unnecessary and rude.
“NTA. Children wear head pieces for a variety of reasons all the time. Cancer patients, people with Alopecia and skin conditions use different types of coverings.”~Drapple1382
“What happened to your niece is sad, and if it makes the child feel happy and feel like she is pretty, then do it.”
“I would say if your niece, her mother and you agree, maybe going to find wigs that are different hair color and lengths may be ideal as well where she can have different colors and styles that she can have and have fun with.”~JCWa50
“NTA she assumed it race/religion based instead of seeing a very young child essentially playing dress up (to help her confidence) I bet if the kid was wearing the stereotypical Disney princess dress she wouldn’t of been so outspoken. You have shown your niece that judgement isn’t right and tho she’s young it seems she has to learn early in life that there are VERY ignorant people who speak first and probably don’t think after.”
“You are going to have an amazing bond as she grows 😊.”~wwwitchwelsh
“NTA. Islamophobia is certainly a bad thing, but it is not racism and I’m sick of people not being able to tell the difference. No one can change their race, because it is an innate characteristic that someone is born with, but anyone can become a Muslim at any point in their life and anyone can leave the religion if they no longer identify with it. In a perfect world, former Muslims who have left the religion would be able to say so without fear of being disowned or killed, but that’s not the world we live in.”
“Equating Islamophobia with racism is such a western-centric thing to do, and people only do it because Muslims often look different from the majority of the population in the west. That’s not the case in places like India, where discrimination against the country’s Muslim population is unfortunately commonplace.”~akingy90
And not only that, but the ignorance displayed by the woman in berating the OP and her niece was most certainly not received well.
“NTA. One of my favorite makeup artists on Instagram incorporates it into her looks (Queenofluna). I don’t care what people do. If you want to wear a hijab/head covering. By all means feel free to. As long as you aren’t being forced against your will.”~RipleyHugger
“NTA, Its people like this that give feminists a bad rap; A woman who say ‘Women should be free to make their own choices, as long as they’re ones I agree with’ is not a feminist no matter what she says.”~AussieSkittles81
“NTA. She sounds like the type of woman who’d criticize other women for wearing a hijab and demand that they wear shorts and crop-tops in order to be ‘truly free,’ without even realizing that women can and should wear whatever the hell they want without being judged.”~MissSavior
“NTA. Would it be an idea to buy light yellow yarn and braid a wig from that? Then she really would look like Elsa. I’m not suggesting this to prevent this situations and i don’t condemn hijabs. But i saw some little girls here (Netherlands) wearing them and it looked so cute, one of them a Morrocan girl and one from Nigeria.”~Morrigan-71
All agree that OP was most certainly not in the wrong here.
Her 3-year-old niece will continue to get the support from OP and now, from Reddit.