Internet Backs Mom for Standing up Against 'Sexist' Family Photo Tradition in Viral Post

As the holiday season rapidly approaches, many families are anticipating reunions with their loved ones. While these gatherings are certainly joyous occasions, they can also sometimes highlight unresolved tensions between family members—especially when antiquated traditions or beliefs are involved.

A Redditor recently experienced one of these uncomfortable familial encounters and took the site's "Am I the A**hole" forum with her dilemma. So far, the post has garnered significant attention among readers, racking up over 8,800 upvotes and nearly 1,200 comments.

The anonymous woman, known only as u/mbquestion22, begins by explaining that she has two kids: a 16-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son.

"My daughter is one of the few girls on my husband's side of the family," she said. "He has 4 brothers, out of them only one of them has daughters. The rest of his brothers had sons."

In the past, she said that one of her husband's brothers, known as "Jim," "has made a big deal of taking a picture of just the guys at family parties." Essentially, after taking a group photo of the entire family, he "insists on a photo with just [the men]." She adds that this latter photo is "the one he hangs up in the house and shares all over social media."

"My daughter didn't care when she was younger but two years ago said she felt left out and found the whole thing kind of dumb," wrote u/mbquestion22. "I asked my Jim if we could stop doing the guys group shot and he agreed."

The families haven't seen much of each other over the past two years, given the COVID-19 pandemic—but now that they're all "vaccinated and healthy," they reunited at another brother-in-law's house. At this event, it appeared that Jim slipped into his old ways.

"Nearing the end of the gathering, Jim asked my daughter and niece to move out of the way so he could take a photo of just the guys," wrote the Redditor. "My daughter...asked why they couldn't be in the picture. Jim said it was important to him."

The mom intervened on behalf of her daughter, asking, "Why does it matter who is in the frame? We're all family." In response, "Jim said he just wants a photo of the men of the family."

"I told my daughter to move, but then also told my son to step out of frame," she wrote. "Jim asked why I was doing this and I said he can't exclude one of my kids."

"It's not like he also takes a picture of the women of the family alone," she added. "He's purposefully leaving them out and that's not nice." Eventually, "after some back and forth," the Redditor's husband initiated that they leave. "We left the party," she wrote. "No pictures taken."

After the incident, the Redditor's teenage son confirmed that "he doesn't find it fair that his sister and girl cousins can't be in the picture."

"My husband is on our side but said I should've let it go for the sake of the argument," she concluded. "My [brother-in-law] posted on FB that he was happy to see everyone but he wishes he could've gotten a family picture."

Readers were quick to back the mom for her objection to the family photo tradition—even if it ruffled a few feathers.

"NTA, reply to his post that he could have gotten a family photo if he'd stop excluding his nieces from it," wrote u/MadQween.

"[It's] not a family photo if [you're] excluding family members," echoed u/Exotic-Panda9887, who also called the boys-only photo a "gross [and] sexist tradition that needs to stop."

The way the Redditor handled the situation appears to align with research on the subject. A 2017 study from researchers at Rutgers University found that when dealing with a bigoted family member, direct confrontation is often best. "We found that participants who were confronted felt bad about their behavior, ruminated more, showed an enduring prejudice reduction," explained social psychologist Diana Sanchez.

"I think this is important because we need to understand what reduces prejudice," added Sanchez. "Confronting people is hard, and unless people know it will be effective, they won't do it."

Despite the potential benefits of u/mbquestion22's approach, some readers felt, like her husband, that the conflict was "unnecessary."

"He grew up in an all boy family and probably gets a kick out of all of the sons his own brothers have," commented u/QuakerOats9000. "He simply wants a photo of all of the guys and [to] call it a day."

Newsweek has reached out to u/mbquestion22 for comment.

Reddit Logo
In Reddit's "Am I the A**hole" forum, commenters backed a woman who stood up to her brother-in-law for excluding female members of the family out of a family photo. The Reddit logo displayed on a tablet, 2021. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images