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Man with 'image oriented family' is asked to hide his heterochromia for sister's wedding. AITA? UPDATED

Man with 'image oriented family' is asked to hide his heterochromia for sister's wedding. AITA? UPDATED


"My family wants me to hide my heterochromia for my sister’s wedding..."

My 21M sister 32F is getting married and they want me to sing at her wedding but also wear contacts to hide my Heterochromia (I have 2 different colored eyes). I’m Asian and my family thinks my heterochromia will never be socially accepted/always looked down upon and may even be perceived as some kind of illness or a disability and they don’t want the new in laws to perceive any flaws about us and our family.

I live abroad so I don’t see my family often, but every time I visit I get urged to go out in public, at events, to see family...wearing contacts. Spring every year (when this wedding is), we have really bad yellow dust and wearing the contacts is going to be a pain. I have good vision so contacts are not part of my life at all except to hide my colored eye.

My mom has always been image oriented. Grooming my sister and I our whole lives and being hyper critical about our looks. My only flaw is my eye condition.

My sister’s flaw was her nose and my mom bullied her into surgery for a small bump no one would have said anything bad about. So should I suck it up and wear the contacts for that day? Maybe I'm picking the wrong time to retaliate. When is the right time?

Later, OP edited the post to include more info"

- I have a complete heterochromia (brown and blue).

- As I mentioned in my post, I live abroad. I grew up and went to school outside my home country from a young age where I never hide my condition. The older I get, the more I receive a lot of compliments for it in the US/Europe. I’ve been told it suits my demeanor and personality, which is on the quieter side. I have been scouted a few times for modelling but in all honesty I am not that good at it.

In my home country, most people have the same eye color (more homogenous society). And while enhancing your eye color is popular, it still tends to lean very natural looking. I was raised to hide my eye color from a young age there, so admittedly it's been hard to move away from that because I got so used to wearing contacts every time I visit. I'm not a shy person, but i'm an introvert and not having attention on me when I don't want it has always been a personal incentive to comply.

I have gone without contacts in my home country on a few occasions. The responses have been mixed. There have been some comments from older people, which are in alignment with my mom's fears. But when it comes to younger people, the reactions are often positive. Not always though lol. Some people know what heterochromia is and clock it.

I have also been told I come across intimidating to approach in general (even in contacts), so most of the time no one will say anything to my face, they will just steal glances and whisper to each other. When people do end up talking to me they say things like "but then I talked to you, and you were kind," "you have a calm energy," "your eyes are really cool/beautiful"...

I am aware many people find my eyes attractive but my mom is an older woman who has been conditioned by her own upbringing; her worries are things heterochromia will hold me back from success, jobs, opportunities etc in the country she grew up in....which holds some truth and is the reality there.

Please keep in mind this post is about my personal experience, I’m not trying to speak for all the Asians of the world. My family is conservative. Their social circle is too. This post is mainly situational, about my sister's wedding.

On that note...I think it’s likely going to come down to me wearing contacts for my sister... just to keep things civil and out of respect for her. I'm not doing it for my mom or grandmother, or anyone else. But for my sister, so as not to add to her stress.

However, I will be doing this on the condition that.. I will not be wearing any contacts on visits moving forward. I am sure once I share my feelings, my sister will understand and back me up on that.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

TheExaspera said:

NTA. Your eyes are your eyes. It’s not a "disability," it’s not an illness, it’s how you were created. Your parents want you to sing, you come as you are.

throwaway930975 said:

NTA, but as an mixed race Asian with a mom who has always been super critical about appearances, I totally understand what you're going through. My mom criticized my sister and I all the time growing up. It's hard to know what to do. It's unfortunate that in Asian culture, it's so important how you are perceived by others and how that looks on the family.

Perhaps your mom has some deeper thoughts about why she wants you to hide it. I know for my mom, she resented my white dad and sometimes took that out on us, especially if we reminded her of my dad. My mom faced some criticism for marrying a white man and then getting divorced didn't help. Not sure what your parents' marriage was like, but maybe there could be some underlying criticism she's faced?

I would try to have a discussion with both your sister and mom to try to come to a resolution. Maybe you can compromise and wear contacts for the singing then take them out for the rest of the wedding? I personally would go without wearing contacts, but I've always not cared much about what my mom thinks cause sometimes she's just so irrational (I've given my mom a lot of grief over the years!).

My sister, on the other hand, would probably give in to my mom and wear the contacts. As I've gotten older and since my dad passed away, I've realized I only have so much time with my mom, so sometimes it's easier just to keep the peace. Whatever happens, just know that you are beautiful the way you are. I hope you and your family have a great time at the wedding and wishing you all the best!

omrmajeed said:

Thats Efed up. I think Hetrocromia is very very pretty. Please do not give into your mom. Thats HER problem. Not yours. This ISNT a FLAW. This is a genetic strength. You were blessed.

prosperosniece said:

I have two different colored eyes and no one thinks anything of it beyond “oh cool your eyes are different colors!” Then they move on. There’s something seriously wrong with any society that can’t socially accept minor physical differences. NTA- tell Mommy Dearest to chill.

DaniCapsFan said:

I'm sorry your family can't accept you for who you are. You have legitimate reasons for not wanting to wear contacts. And are you supposed to wear colored contacts every time you see your sister's in-laws? The jig would be up at some point. If they want you to sing at your sister's wedding, you need to make it clear that you will not wear contacts. If they'd rather you not come at all, that's your decision as well. NTA.

Kind_Limit1303 said:

NTA at all. Sounds like a really hard way to grow up. Your unique eyes are amazing and that’s more her problem than yours! I’m sure it’s very hard to stand up to a mother like that. Your eyes are not a flaw and neither was your sisters nose.

Not one perspective is the right one and she’s projecting all of her fears into you. In a way she’s trying to keep you safe but hurting you in the long run. Your eyes are amazing and what she thinks of them is 100% her problem.


I had a long conversation with my sister. We had to do it over FaceTime because I was still abroad but in a way it was better. She understands and was genuinely feeling bad about having to request this from me, but we both decided it's not the time to defy the family.

I put my personal frustration aside, and after making the first post I began to feel that I was being selfish. I think most people didn’t want me to make the decision I did..I’m sorry. My sister was prepared to let me participate in her wedding without any contacts, but I decided to wear them because it's her wedding day.

I wore contacts. Yellow dust was...yellow dusting lol. But most of the wedding was indoor so it was tolerable. I didn't do the malicious compliance no Halloween demon contact lenses. The optometrists and eye surgeons on the original post convinced me it's not worth the risk. I already hate putting in contacts.

After the wedding, I took the contacts out (mom wasn’t happy) and I haven't been wearing them here during my visit. After the first few encounters about it with family and relatives, it's mostly okay with me now...

It's a little bit exhausting having the same conversations and hearing the same responses...I think I might need therapy or something for some of the feelings I have...and issues with my mom that have been created now because of my choice. But thanks for helping me get over the hardest part.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this update:

Icy_Ability_4240 said:

Your family sucks. It's their fault you genetically have heterachromia. It's not something to hide. It's beautiful and amazing. David Bowie had heterachromia. It sound like your family thinks it's a terrible thing and you should just wear a bag over your head.

Berry_Cat_3526 said:

You did well, you did not accidently cause a scene for your sister at the wedding, because who knows how mom would have reacted, but you showed your eyes after the wedding as they are, its not easy to stand up for yourself.

flindersandtrim said:

Sorry about your mum, its really hard having family that are exhausting.

Mathieran1315 said:

I think it’s totally understandable to make the choice you did. I think most people can relate to not wanting to rock the boat for a wedding. I think from here on out you should stop trying to alter yourself to make them happy though.

Everyone was on OP's side throughout. What's your advice for this one?

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