Stepdad 'Body Shaming' Teen by Giving Him a Dress Code Slammed Online

Internet users have criticized a man who asked his wife's son to stop wearing inappropriate clothes around the house, and many Reddit users are urging the poster to be more accepting of the teenager's gender-fluid choices.

Reddit user u/CoffeeAdventurous263 asked fellow social media users if they think he is being unreasonable by asking his wife's 19-year-old son "to stop wearing crazy revealing clothes" in the family home. Despite the post generating plenty of debate online, it has since been removed by Reddit moderators.

The 38-year-old poster explained that his wife has a son named Luke who has started wearing what he deems to be inappropriate outfits. The post explains: "He wears thigh shorts, so tight you can see his boxers, crop tops, women's blouses," and the poster also notes that he's caught the teenager wearing a skirt before too.

While it's unclear what gender the teen identifies with, there's been a rise in recent years of people veering away from gender stereotypes and instead identifying as non-binary, gender fluid or gender non-conforming.

Man criticized for views on son's clothing
A file photo of a man arguing with a teenage boy, and a man applying makeup. A Reddit user has been blasted online for his outdated views regarding male clothing. T Turovska / Ladanifer/Getty Images

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggested the ways in which people and businesses can develop to become more inclusive of a changing society. One suggestion they make is for more inclusive dress codes, to "remove gendered language and use greater specificity as to acceptable and unacceptable clothing," allowing individuals to feel comfortable wearing what they see fit.

As the traditional gender norms dissipate, companies such as Virgin Atlantic made a statement by allowing their male crew and pilots to wear skirts, and celebrities such as Harry Styles have bridged the gap between men's and women's fashion. Styles was the first man to cover Vogue magazine in 2020, and he did so in a dress, to normalize the idea of gender non-conforming style.

The poster also said: "In another instance, he would sit for dinner with a pearl necklace, eyeshadow and a fur coat. For example, my mother and sisters and their kids visited us for Christmas and they agreed that it was odd to have a guy dressing like that around the house."

Licensed clinical counselor Linda Whiteside spoke to Newsweek about how pivotal good communication is when it comes to generational differences. She said: "One way to approach this issue is to communicate with your family, and let them see your side of the story. It is best to inform them of everything and to also hear them out as well.

Father asks teenager to dress more appropriately
A file photo of two parents arguing about their son. A man has asked his wife's 19-year-old son to dress more appropriately in his home, leading to a fierce debate online. Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

"Generational gaps can be challenging and this can be a wide chasm of communication that can be very hard to cross. Success lies in how well you communicate your side and ensuring that you are precise with your information so that they will not be confused."

Whiteside also believes that it's vitally important for older generations to "keep an open mind in learning about new trends and ideals that the new generation is currently experiencing." The counselor added that it works both ways and that people of all ages need to be accepting of each other's beliefs, as she said: "It is not healthy to be close-minded and impose your beliefs on another person; and this applies to both the young and old."

Reddit user CoffeeAdventurous263 spoke to the teenager about his feelings but that talk went south and ended in an argument as the teen regarded his stepdad as "body shaming" him. When addressing matters with his wife, the poster believed she was being condescending towards him, and treated him like "an angry old man from another century".

"I don't feel like I was asking something unreasonable, and I felt they were bullying me for expressing a reasonable concern and what my twins and my family are seeing in their own home," the post reads.

Since being posted on February 1, the post has received more than 9,500 votes, and with over 5,500 comments on the post before it was removed, social media users certainly got their point across.

One comment with over 45,000 upvotes points to the problem being with the poster, not the teenage son. The comment reads: "We know because you said this was about him dressing revealingly, but you still had a problem when he was covered up at Christmas dinner (when a pearl necklace is totally appropriate, I might add). Your problem is not that it's revealing, but that it's gender non-conforming."

Another person in agreement commented: "He's saying that the pearls and fur coat are especially bad around women. Why? He's projecting his own fragile masculinity."

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