Mar 6
2015

DO NOT TREAT YOUR DAUGHTER LIKE YOUR SON

Boy-Girl-Statue“I treat my daughter just like my son.”

“She is not my daughter, she is my son.”

If you are not an Indian, the above statements may sound odd. However, if you are an Indian, you have heard this over and over again. Many of us (Indians) will not find anything wrong with the above statements. Mostly because the ones who have heard it repeatedly, have been conditioned to believe that this is either a compliment (to the child) or a parenting best practice.

To an extent, I agree with this, because this is almost always meant in a good way. However, sometimes we need to take a step back and think about what we mean to say vs what is the implied meaning of what we are saying.

Let’s take an example:

What is said: “My daughter is awesome, she is like a son to me.”

What is meant: I love my daughter, and I don’t believe in gender bias.

What is implied: Having a son is awesome. Having a daughter is not quite at the top of the awesome scale. But, hey I am all about equality, and she is as awesome as my son. Note: Son being the standard for awesome here.

It is like saying, this carrot is so awesome, it’s almost like a cupcake (can you tell I am bad at examples?). This is a compliment to the carrot. It tries to elevate the carrot to something more desirable like a cupcake. I am just saying that it is enough to be a carrot. You can be a good carrot without being a cupcake, or like a cupcake (Okay – this sounds weird, but you get the point).

Still not convinced that there is something fundamentally wrong with the above statements? Here is some food for thought. Have you heard anyone say?

“I treat my son, just like my daughter.”

“He  is not my son, he is my daughter.”

Not likely. More often than not, a compliment for being an awesome son will go like this:

My son is awesome. He is such an IDEAL son.

Also, when you say my daughter sings like Lata Mangeshkar (top Indian singer) or my son plays like Sachin Tendulkar (everyone knows him- well okay not EVERYONE *wink wink* ) – THAT is a totally acceptable comparison.  Here, you are essentially trying to attribute superior qualities of those people to your child. However, a child, just by being a son does not become superior or have superior qualities.

All I am trying to say is:  A daughter is good enough. She does not need to be like a son. She does not need to be like anything or anyone. She is good enough being who and what she is.

We all mean well, we really do. Let’s just try and make a conscious decision to avoid all forms of gender bias, in our actions and our speech (explicitly or implied) as that will be the next generation’s standard. If we all work towards it, I am sure we can MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Women's-Day-Quotes

It is said that: Wherever you find a great man, you will find a great mother and/or a great wife standing behind him. I think that it is equally true for great women, who have had great fathers and/or husbands behind them (Of-course, both parents play an important role).

To all the awesome men, no offence meant- you guys are total rock-stars! 😀 To all the amazing women out there, a very Happy Women’s Day! 🙂

Lots of Love
Shantala

Linking this post to International Women’s Day #Makeithappen Link Up 2015 and Blog-A-Rhythm

Comments

  1. Prathima says:

    There are so many things like things , we have grown up to accept. It is good that we are questioning it now. I loved the example btw:)

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Yes Prathima, some things are ingrained so deeply in us, that we do not question the logic behind it- especially things that are said in a positive (?!) way.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and leave your thoughts 🙂

  2. Excellent post. I love how you explain your points. Happy Women’s Day to you and may we see that change – won’t happen overnight but someday we will see that shift.

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Thank you so much Suzy 🙂 Yes, I am sure that one day this will happen, especially when we make a conscious choice to leave a better world behind us for our kids 🙂 A very Happy Women’s Day to you too. Have a great one 😀

  3. sulekha says:

    Liked the fact that you wished the awesome men too, we do have them in our lives and they are with us in our efforts to make it happen. Great example of carrot and the cupcake, loved it. Happy Women’s Day to you too.

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Thank you so much, Sulekha 🙂 Yep, like you said, they are our partners in our efforts to make it happen. I added that, just to assure them that we love & appreciate them equally.
      Hope you have a great day! 🙂

  4. Santosh Deshmukh says:

    Excellent way you explained,what I see that whole world’s community not only indian community driven by male from ancient times. it will take long time to change the mentality of human because these things are ingrained so deeply.I hope that it will change but we will not be there to see the change.

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Thank you Santosh for taking the time to visit and comment. Appreciate it. 🙂 I agree that gender bias is not only an Indian issue. It is present in some form or another across the world. I do know, that this will change going forward. The pace of change will depend on how many of us consciously choose to make it happen. 🙂

  5. Good post, I am happy to be visiting your blog.
    I think the onus to change things around lies upon each one of us. India’s social psyche has always been about a gradual change without any outer outrage. Every society suffers from many different prejudices, biases. I lived for a decade and a half in the US, can’t tell you how many anti-girl-child biases I saw/heard about in the average American psyche. Meaningless social license to behave like boys in bars and nightclubs doesn’t really solve anything. Each society has to figure out how to get rid of social inequality and raise its children in an equitable way that allows each child, regardless of gender or any other social identity, to blossom fully to his/her potential.

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Yes, I completely agree. I currently live in the US and there are gender biases present in the American Society too. You said it very well *India’s social psyche has always been about a gradual change without any outer outrage.* Change will come, and soon enough- as long as we stand together and make it happen! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. 🙂

  6. True! Treat your daughter as your daughter…why treat her like a son? Is being a daughter any less ? Not at all !

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      She is born a daughter for a reason. There is no need to treat her any different. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by, Naba.

  7. Loved your post. I have heard these statements as a teenage but back then it never struck me to question or at least wonder why is a son considered to be a benchmark for a girl ? Your post definitely made me correct the meaning of the comparison in my head and see to it that I never say such statements to my baby girl. Great going !

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂 Yes, our children are beautiful, unique and perfect as they are. 🙂

  8. This is such a cute post and it is well written too. The change will happen for sure. I am sure we women think a lot different from women even 20 years our senior, so this mindset change will happen for sure. It is all about equality. I don’t want to be special (woman/Man), I just want to be normal(human). Normal is cool. 🙂

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Thank you so much, Jyothi. Totally agree – The change might be subtle, but it is very much there and yes, normal is super cool. 😀

  9. You made so much sense there. Many times people make statements without understanding their implications. This thing about girls and boys irks me no end. Wish we could just forget to compare and contrast them and accept them for what they are.

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Very true Tulika. When we can understand our own prejudices and expectations, then it becomes easier to accept. I am positive that things will change soon enough. Thanks a lot for stopping by. 🙂

  10. Well said, Shantala…
    * A daughter is good enough. She does not need to be like a son.

    WIsh people begin thinking like that …they will be doing their daughters a world of good!

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Thank you so much Shilpa. I am optimistic on this one. Things will change coz we will make it happen. 😀

  11. you explained it so well!! Love the way you gave the example, no you are not bad at it! 😛 On a serious note, I wish everyone could understand that a Son is not honorable term to be given to any daughter. If she is good, she is good in her own way, why compare and belittle her achievements!!

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      You mirror my thoughts exactly. Loved the way you put it *Son is not honorable term to be given to any daughter.
      Thanks a lot for stopping by, Nibha 🙂

  12. Loved your post, especially the example of the carrot and cupcake: I totally get it! 😉 I agree that we need to change our thinking and watch our languaging around boys and girls. 🙂 <3

  13. Meghana says:

    Excellent Shantala.. This reminds me of the commercial in which a couple – where the guy is at home & the lady is the sole earner. Their friend after knowing this comments “So you r the man of the house?” The lady aptly answers – “Even better…I am the WOMAN of the house”. here you’ll see even the husband is proud of his wife.

    We’ve come a long way now from the time where women were not considered worth comparing..so now we’re in the stage where ppl r making conscious effort to show tht they’re fine with having daughters or tht they treat their daughters equally or like sons. what u say here is the future where daughters will be only DAUGHTERS & not like sons keeping their individuality.
    Keep writing such wonderful posts.

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Yes, however I hope this is the near future and not too far into the future 🙂 I haven’t seen the commercial but will check it out. Indian TVCs are the very best. 🙂

  14. I lost count how many people have actually told me there’s nothing girlish in me rather than the fact that I am born as a girl. I never understood why girls cannot be just girls and like a son. Loved your post. Every parent, should read this and should let their daughter to be a daughter rather than bring her up like a son.

  15. I have been hearing for years, that no behavior or character in me is like a girl rather than the fact that I am born as girl. It’s hightime family bring up a daughter as a daughter itself. But in our society daughters are considered weak or soft and cannot handle the men’s world alone. First that should be changed.

    Loved your post. Powerful and much needed one.

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Very true. Our kids do not deserve to be stereotyped in any way. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sheethal 🙂

  16. Excellent post. Gender bias has seeped so deep in our society, that we are incapable of making a compliment without being chauvinist.

    I remember being not too happy as a child, when my mother sometimes referred to me as “like her daughter”, for being a good and empathetic listener, even if it was meant to be a compliment.

    I found it necessary to qualify the “as a child” bit, since I am neither as empathetic, nor as much a chauvinist anymore; well, you win some, you lose some.

    Best,
    A random reader

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      That is an interesting perspective, Piyush. I can understand that it irks the guys too when some qualities are attributed to a particular gender only. We all have our personalities and a wide variety of traits- some of which the society stereotypes as being manly or feminine. It is high time, that we stop accepting the societal definitions for ourselves. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your thoughts 🙂

  17. Excellent post, Shantala. Loved the carrot cupcake example. It doesn’t matter whether we have sons or daughters.we just have to concentrate on raising them as good kids.

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Thanks Vinitha 🙂 Glad you liked the example. At first, I was unsure if it made any sense to anyone except me. Thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂

  18. Well said! I like the carrot and cupcake comparison too..maybe because I’m fond of carrots! 😀

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Thank you so much, Roshni 🙂 I like carrots too. That is why I had my doubts about the use of that example. But the in-house critics found it OK, so went with it 😛

  19. I had never thought about this but reading your post, I feel like its true. Btw loved the cupcake carrot comparision 😀

  20. I think many times people make these statements without really understanding the larger significance of these words. In their opinion, they are actually complimenting or stating an aberration to a social fact. As awareness spreads, they will realize their folly. Nicely written.

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Very true. I am sure it is a well intentioned statement, but now is good time to move on from such subtle biases too. Thanks for stopping by, Rachna. Glad that you liked it 🙂

  21. The thing about comparison is that it is so debilitating. People make casual, offhand remarks. Nobody really thinks before they speak. Life would be that much simpler if people did, you know. Thank you for a lovely post,Shantala 🙂

    • Shanaya Tales says:

      Thank you, Shailaja 🙂 Yeah, the offhand remarks and the subtle biases will eventually influence the next generation’s mindset. There is one only thing that our kids need to know – that they are unique, beautiful and perfect in their own way 🙂

  22. I’ve always felt annoyed when people make that comment, but I never realized why it was so irritating. Your comments are apt.
    Nish recently posted…Prettifying Indra Nagar One Wall at a TimeMy Profile

  23. Great post about men-women equality. And I agree with you there. Sometimes those comments said with all positive intent indicate something else..
    I also think, this was a great entry for IWD 😀

    Check out my post on IWD – https://happinessandfood.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/everyday-women-who-inspire-me/
    Parul recently posted…G for Glass CeilingMy Profile

  24. Loved your take for Women’s Day. And what you’ve written is thought provoking. I never thought that way, and now I won’t make that mistake. The analogies that you’ve brought out are amazing..!!

    Cheers
    Geets recently posted…#DilKiDealMy Profile

  25. Loved the post. You mirrored my thoughts completely.
    Nidhi recently posted…Iced Temp-tea-tionMy Profile

  26. This is my favourite topic and I can go on and on discussing about it. I agree with all the examples you have given here. And I have one more to add.
    Whenever a girl is born in a family, people especially the elders make it a point to drop in habitually – “these days girls and boys are all equal (aajkal ladka ladki sab barabar hain)”. It is a very decent thought on gender equality but delving deeper you know they are convincing who else but themselves of this fact.
    I wrote a somewhat related post ‘Raising a boy like a boy’ a few months back. There is a hue and cry on social media that if we raise our sons like our daughters we can achieve gender equality. The question to be asked here is will doing so is going to help? Why not raise our children as just humans without the differentiation?
    The link to the post is -https://thebespectacledmother.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/raising-a-son-like-a-son/
    Anamika Agnihotri recently posted…2015 in reviewMy Profile

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