SINGAPORE: In a recent social media post on Reddit, user Jihae0706 sparked a conversation on the persisting issue of gender bias within traditional families. Sharing a personal experience, she questioned the outdated belief held by some parents that daughters are somehow less valuable or capable than sons.
Jihae0706 revealed that her father openly expressed a disheartening sentiment, asserting that even if she were to have children after marriage, he wouldn’t consider them his grandchildren because daughters, according to him, do not carry on the family surname. She added, “My brother is estranged from the family and does not talk to any of us. Hence my father says that he does not have a “heir” and that my children will not be considered his grandchildren.”
She also stated, “My mother used to be the same, but since my brother has stopped talking to them; she’s pressuring me to hurry up and get pregnant lmao. I’ve done everything for my parents when I lived with them, their laundry, grocery shopping, cooking for them, making sure everything in the house is clean. Yet they’ve always cared or placed more importance on my brother because he’s a son.”
Her father, holding onto traditional gender roles, deems housework and cooking as the “woman’s job”, refusing to do such chores. She also shared that when she was younger, she requested her father to buy sanitary pads for her, but he “flipped out” at her. She shared her father went on to rant that he’s a man and that she’s trying to embarrass him by buying “disgusting products” for her.
Jihae0706’s experience, unfortunately, resonated with others. Redditors expressed their disdain for such antiquated viewpoints.
Financial-Top1199 suggested that parents clinging to outdated mindsets should evolve or risk losing contact with their children. The sentiment was echoed by laojiao_techworker, a father himself, who proudly shared his commitment to breaking gender stereotypes by engaging in activities traditionally labelled as “girly.”
He shared, “Am a father of a daughter, married to a wife. I will do any “girly” stuff my daughter or wife asks me to. I carry my daughter’s pink bag and wife’s handbags in public because it’s too heavy for them. I cook and clean while my wife gives my daughter her revision. When my wife ask me to buy her pads, I would stand in front of the shelf to find the right brand for minutes (because they all look the same) – I also remember to buy chocolates at the same time because period = tigeress and offerings are a must. Everything I do for my family makes me MORE manlier, not less. A true man cares little about what the little people thinks with their inferiority complex. Wow, I feel angry for you. My daughter is my universe. Your father is embarrassing himself.”
Fantastic-River shared a positive experience with her father, who defied conventional norms, emphasising the importance of breaking away from restrictive mindsets. Sharing her experience, she stated, “My dad is the same! When I ask him to get specific things like famous Amos cookies or wanton mee from a specific shop bc I’m craving it, he’ll “complain” (like aiyo im so far but I’ll see how) and then come back with it. Also I never realised how good my dad treated me until I went out with some friends and it was raining. We were roller skating and it was raining. If I went out with my dad, he would bring my slippers and an umbrella and come find me since I can’t walk properly. But when my friends dad would ask us to come find him and walk there in the rain in skates, I realised that my dad was the best”.
Amid the empathetic responses, Then_Panda4459 cited a Chinese proverb, saying, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” noting that chosen bonds are stronger than familial ties. He said, “It means that relationships you make yourself are far more important than the ones that you don’t choose.”
Others also shared stories where they faced gender bias from their parents, mirroring Jihae0706’s struggles.
Cute_Meringue1331 shared, “My parents are from china, they def think like that. regrets giving birth to me bc im a girl Wants a grandson Say no matter how i do at work, if no kids=failure”.
Shania87 added saying, “My parents are local (well mum is from malaysia) and they shared the same mindset as your parents. Think its an Asian cultural minset at work.”
Every_Put6120, a parent who shared she has both a daughter and a son, stated, “I have children from both genders. So I can safely say from experience that the truly useless one is, the son.”
Hucks22 added, saying, “Nobody deserves parents like this in this day and age. Please don’t ever feel bad about fulfilling nothing but the barest minimum of filial duties to him.”
As societal norms evolve, it is evident that some individuals still grapple with deeply entrenched gender biases within their families. These stories serve as a call to challenge and dismantle such archaic beliefs. /TISG