Difficult daughters, easy sons?

Many years ago, a woman I know said she was grateful to god that she only had two sons because ‘whatever said and done, if you have daughters your lifestyle chages. You live in fear, worrying about their safety. And she said, ‘for all your worries in the end, they go and take care of their in laws and you are left alone in your old age.’

I wonder if she exaggerated. I do worry about my children’s safety. I am sure I don’t want even my son in a situation where there is violence; but I guess there would be more concern for a daughter in the same situation?

Kislay sent me this inspiring story of this woman he called a Super Woman. She raised two daughters on her own and did a great job too. (Surbhi blogged about her here.)

‘Neera Chopra lived through abuse, poverty and some tough choices to make her once-unwanted girl child, Pooja Chopra, the Pantaloons Femina Miss India-World, she is today.’

Her courage is inspiring.  She didn’t think raising daughters was that tough a task. And I realised I had never thought that either.

Then who spreads these anti-girl-child myths?

Dowry? Just refuse to give any. Let the girl be independent and marry only when she meets the right guy.

Instead of dowry, gifts, streedhan etc, daughters should simply have equal property rights (and equal responsibility towards the parents).

If we weren’t so desperate for our daughters to marry by a fixed age and within the community, under any conditions, at any price (dowry) half the problems disappear anyway.

Abuse by in laws/domestic violence: The moment her marriage stops being the sole aim of a girl’s existence, all these become non issues.

The girl’s parents stop living in the fear of the boy’s parents. They learn that loving, involved, strong parents have happy daughters.

Divorce/separation: ‘Doli and Arthi’ sounds impractical even in Bollywood movies. If a marriage breaks, both the partners need support, not condemnation. If we understand this, another taboo, (and the related fear) is shattered.

Care for parents in old age? Again this is changing, and there are plenty of daughters taking care of their parents in their old age.

Fear of violence/sexual assaults? This worry makes many parents not want a girl child. But the reducing girl boy ratio might make the situation only worse.

Hiding never made anybody safer.  Getting out and going about our daily lives does. Also if we removed ‘honor’/reputation/’what will people say’ from crimes against women, they will be handled without blaming the victim, and that is the only way to put some fear into an assaulter’s mind.

I think we need to take a fresh look at our fears about the difficulties in raising girl children. Laws cannot make parents keep their baby girls – parents must want girl children.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to make little girls into little angels ever ready to make sacrifices for their parents, and not all daughters can be as successful as Pooja Chopra either. Why not just let them be good, happy, equal and free citizens?

I remember being told once that having a daughter was a huge responsibility, – She must be raised well (shouldn’t all children?) –  she must get married to a nice guy (aren’t good marriages equally good for everybody?)

Her happiness did not seem to be the concern, her reputation did. There’s a lot of talk of how important it is that people speak well of her. But does it really matter so much? I thought of what happens to girls who do not have good reputation. The worse I can think of were two girls from my school – we heard stories about them and once when one of them came home with me, my mother said I should not mix with her. (Her eye brows were plucked in class VIII). But for all the ‘reputation’ (not getting into the exact details), both the girls are leading normal lives.

I also wonder what kind of women opt for aborting their baby girls. Many of us have faced gender bias in our childhood. The luckier ones grow up swearing they will not allow this with their kids. The unfortunate ones lose all self worth. They value themselves only as much as their parents/aunts/grandparents/the next door neighbours/some teachers/street sexual assaulter etc valued them. These are the ones we are talking about when we say, ‘Women are women’s worst enemies!”

This religious guru (on TV) was preaching the value of the number of bindis a woman has on her forehead – one if she has a father, one for brother, one for husband, one even for sons I guess… It seems it is a matter of pride to have all the bindis.  So what happens to those women who do not have any bothers or sons?

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65 thoughts on “Difficult daughters, easy sons?

  1. Seriously he said a woman should wear a bindi for the number of men in her life(coz that is what has value?)
    where do these dhongis get all this from?

    Yes Shilpa he seriously said this, I am sure many people must be aware of this custom! I was not aware either.

    My parents raised 2 daughters. They were asked time and again if they had any sons..if they wanted to have a son and they always said their daughters were all they wanted. I am still asked by new people i meet if I have brothers..and when I say i have a sister, their face expression changes to pity!!! WTH

    I know this is the attitude… they don’t see that it is not the child’s gender, but parents’ attitudes that matter .

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  2. On the other hand, there really have been times when I have said to myself “I hope I never have a son if having a son turns you this way”…it happens every time I see parents all over acting unreasonable towards their sons. It seems like a universal thing. They might favor a boy child at birth but in later years, the exploitation totally reverses itself 🙂

    Tearsndreams yes, I have seen this too. Because boys are wanted for selfish reasons – with a lot of expectations from them, like they are made to guilty if they visit only once a year (daughters are excused, they have children,husband & in laws to take care of)…

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  3. Very comprehensive article!

    I might sound repetitive, but again the solutions are:
    1. Loving oneself, so that what “others” will say will become nonissues. And also so that we won’t derive sadistic pleasure out of showing others down and tormenting them. Or won’t seek superiority by subjugating others.
    2. Thinking for ourselves, so that our moral compass can’t be manipulated by others.
    3. Being empathetic. So that we can understand others’ situations.

    Personally, I’ve stayed in a hostel since 17, and have been largely a guest at my own home. Many males have to settle in cities different from their parents’ for professional reasons. So in this regard situation between boys and girls is comparable at least in urban areas. Just adding another point to lower prospective parents’ aspiration for a male child. 😉

    Thank you Ketan! I absolutely agree with these points!

    I’ve posted the link you asked for in your post on BITCH.

    Thanks 🙂

    TC.

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  4. We are 2 daughters too and not once did we hear that we were difficult to raise other than in the usual way parents tell kids when they are disobedient or naughty!! 😛

    But, I always remember my mom saying that she prayed really really hard for 2 daughters and my dad was so sure it was going to be a girl each time that he had only our names picked out!!

    And, my mom says that raising daughters is easier.

    Pixie I have no doubt most parents feel the same, specially when they have daughters, they know… but this woman I have talked about -and I am sure there are many more like her, thought life for parents of daughters was tough; risk of sexual assaults was her biggest worry, including child abuse… I will write about her, she is my idea of a woman who has completely brainwashed herself into believing that being born a woman is the worst thing that could happen to anybody.

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  5. I asked my mom whether it is difficult to raise girls,she says no,she never felt that it is difficult or she has to be more careful in raising the girls.She says it is difficult to raise the boys their is a chance of getting into a bad company and get spoiled.

    My mom wanted a girl child,but my dad always wanted a boy and people also used to spoil him by saying oh my god u have 3 girls,u have to save enough to get them married in a good house.

    When i was young i used to think that it is only girls who are abused but i was wrong,even boys are subjected to these abuses mainly from the friends and the close relatives.

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  6. First of all, IHM, may I tell you that though I don’t comment here often, I love the work you are doing here – Yes, it is ‘work’, because I am sure you are making people think, and even if 2 people change their notions because of your writing, it is so worth it.

    This is a great piece. I don’t think people realise that young boys too are vulnerable to (and often subjected to) sexual abuse; so, this notion of only girls needing to be protected is first of all, factually wrong. All children need protection.

    Yes, our society makes some things harder for girls, but more and more brave parents help their girls overcome it.

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  7. Lovely post.

    My mom has three sisters, and my grand mother is old, so she stays with one of them. She usually stays turn by turn at every house.

    My friend asked me, ” Don’t your mom have a brother?”
    I said, ” No, but I don’t think that has made any difference. She is being taken care of by her daughters. The husbands are understanding!”

    I think he still was saying something about how its important to have a son and all.

    PS: I pray that I have girl babies.

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  8. Daughters are the best blessings one can have… !! period !

    Yes many misconceptions are there… for a long time in my younger life I also thought being a male was much better then a female… but that is not a thing to be proud of.. its pathetic…

    There were silly adages i used to hear.. and also agree initially that if a tomato falls on the knife or the knife falls on the tomato its always the tomato that gets cut… !

    All these things get cooked up and planted in your mind even before you know it… unless you actually get out of this mould and think do you realise how these things were actually being drilled into you without you knowing or the one that was drilling knowing… !

    bout daughters not taking care of parents.. well ..

    My mom took care of her mother till she died.. ! She infact kept her mother with her.. !! So i dont know where this is coming from…

    If there is a fear of the security… then we must be working to change it…

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  9. In the place where I come from, parents who have sons have a major concern, that their son does not get involved with the teenaged gangs operating in their respective areas of influence and get sucked in the muck of crime.

    In my teen age I had my own share of brush with this undercurrent in the society, in order to live with dignity without being bullied, you had to be the part/ leader of one gang or another. I had seen my friends getting sucked into this and progressing from hockey sticks to guns and then bombs. Thankfully I made my choice and that proved to be the right one.

    What you may see in movies like Haasil, Gulaal etc are not a figment of the story writer’s imagination, they are a very real and sad truth. Various scars on my body bear testimony to that.

    A daughter’s parents do not have this fear at least.

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  10. I have a sis and believe me, my mom worries equally about both of us. If I am late while coming back home, she would be up and pacing. A reaction similar to what she will do if my sis is late. And then what are mobiles for?
    Its funny how people live with such prejudices. Its as if they don’t have a brain of their own to think.

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  11. we should all live and die equal. end of story. anything that says contrary should be abandoned. yesterday I was watching ‘Dance India Dance’ and after a girl’s performance one of the judges Remo said – ‘inspite of being a girl, you were great’.

    More often than not the biases are so ingrained that we take it as par for the course – another of our legendary ‘chalta hai’ attitude.

    But the tide is turning rapidly, more so in cities, which helps in breaking many a barrier and setting up examples – based on professional excellence and performance where the gender, caste or region doesn’t matter.

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  12. lovely post IHM as usual. agree with you on almost everything. I just want to raise a point. I dont know how relevant it is to this post but i’ll ask nevertheless. i have heard many parents saying that since we have daughters we need to get them married early because once they cross an acceptable age no one will marry them. i have seen this in urban settings. i just want to know what is the acceptable age to get married for girls? and once if i cross that acceptable age why wouldnt somebody like to get married to me? will i look different once i cross that age? will i change as a person? and if it is so worrisome for the daughter to get married at right age, why is it that almost any age is acceptable for a son to get married?

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  13. Hi IHM,

    It is time we realised that children (irrespective of their sex) are human beings and their presence in our lives is not a curse but a gift.

    In this day and age, what is the difference between a girl child and a boy. We seem to perpetuate regressive thoughts and make living life a continuing hell. People seem so bothered about prestige and social position but in reality nobody cares or remembers. Our own self-esteem needs to be intact.

    Yes, self esteem, and self worth can help handle so many prejudices Mavin!

    The funny part is – if we do not change willingly, circumstance force a change and the knocks we endure are extremely painful.

    Bringing about this social change is the responsibility of everybody and these values have to be taught from a young age and further re-inforced by religious leaders, social workers, opinion makers, leaders and other prominent personalities in society. Even after this one may not get wide spread acceptance, but then the motto has to be “laage raho munnabhai”.

    LOL yes Mavin !! Lage raho munnabhai is exactly what one has to do!! Even ordinary folks 🙂

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  14. I think its all about the person …. one can be a good son or a good daughter, a bad parent or a good parent. Really its all about human beings getting along, not about what a son should do or a daughter ….

    I agree Ritu!!

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  15. I have a huge axe to grind with the “institution” of marriage. I do not frown upon marriage as a concept. What I do frown upon is the fact that it is considered the sole object of a woman’s life. Why? What exactly is the rationale behind this? Why can we not encourage our sisters and daughters to be strong, independent and equal? If only we made conscious efforts to do that, all social problems related to marriage will disappear on their own. I have a female friend who is looking forward to marriage beacause if she stays unmarried for long “people will talk”. Talk, will they? What are these “people” to her, anyway? Do they actually give a give a shit about her or her well being? Then why is their opinion important? I point these things out to her and she just shrugs: because what I say to her flies in the face of what she has grown up believing. Its ticks me off. My own parents’ marriage is falling apart around my ears and I can see that a major factor in this break down is that both of them married out of a supposed sense of duty and not out of choice. But this point is never brought up because neither of them know that it is a factor in the first place.

    You can see it with such clarity and express it so well!

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    • I’d love to have your comments on my 55ers. I’ve posted them on blogspot. TC.

      Commented 🙂 Please take a look,… but I did not understand one of them 😦

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  16. Couch clown,

    A very well-rounded off comment, indeed.

    I’m not justifying this as a reason (especially for modern times), but in ANCIENT times when the lifespan was short and child mortality high, raising a family must have been a huge obligation towards the survival of human race. And hence this idea of raising a family against all odds must have gained such strong currency. Plus, there were no contraceptive methods! So the age-old favorite pastime would make it imperative to marry and raise a family!

    But now all that’s changed, and with passage of time you’ll see people laying less and less stress on this institution called marriage, and putting up stronger rebellion against it.

    In fact, the whole of Europe is seeing negative population growth owing to fewer people marrying.

    TC.

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  17. I have never heard the story of bindis! Really, these gurus create new customs, just to stay in business!

    About the girl child – as far as I know many parents live with their daughters nowadays or stay near their house. Whether it is the parents of the girl or boy, we parents should make up our mind early in life, not to interfere in our children’s lives and try to be as independent as possible. It is not very difficult nowadays. I have noticed that parents are comfortable to relate to their daughters.

    I have also seen very caring sons, who are always there when their parents need them.

    Did you see the interview of Priyanka Gandhi with Barkha Dutt? Priyanka said that Indira was close to Rahul than her! So her character does not resemble her Grandma, but Rahul is more (strong minded) like her. She did not sound to be admiring her grandma very much.

    As you said the girl boy ratio is worsening now. In matrimonials, we see more boys looking for girls than girls looking for boys. And the girls and their parents are very choosy!! I like it!

    I have two sons of marriageable age (?!). I am waiting for them to decide when to get married and whom to get married!

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  18. Pingback: physical education class Blog » an oldie but a goodie: in india, love hurts

  19. I wasn’t aware of the bindi thing…

    Marriage is often the sole object of a woman’s life because society says women are weak and they need to be taken care of by a man – before marriage the father and after the husband…It’s all a matter of control…If women become independent, men lose control over them and this doesn’t bode well with the male psyche…

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  20. u r true when u say that this kind of upbringing either results in self confidence or total loss of it… i never had any till i found a bunch of really good friends and a worthy job…till then i was repeatedly made to “realise” that my talent must revolve around being a “reputable good female”

    Crafty Shines, this just not matter at all. I have seen this is such a silly thing to control girls, all this talk of reputation (one odd unfortunate case can be used as an example) we Indians are too practical to care too much for what we pass off as moral values – you should see Dev D or read my review linked to this post. Live your life sensibly but live by your own rules.

    dad once told me in front of my friends and their parents on class open day “u scoring great guns in your english papers is not a big deal….aptitude in science n math makes careers, english even our peons can talk nowadays!” it took years IHM, to answer him. but i sure did, when i got my appoinment letter as a copywriter.

    That must have hurt and discouraged. There is a whole generation believing that only science and maths can bring success. Thankfully this is changing.

    needless to say, its never been a pretty picture at home…and all my mom’s got is a “girl child”

    And what a brilliant girl child Crafty Shines! Love the way you write, no wonder you excelled in English!!

    she is apprehensive of my future, but i know i can take care of her and do a much better job of it than any male in her life has done till today.

    These are such lovely words, (even if there is hurt in them) … of courage and confidence! My warmest wishes to you, and YES YOU CAN and ofcourse will.

    just like u had once told me IHM, my father and his relations have unintentionally made sure i will never do this to any daughter, mine or otherwise.
    i only hope for every daughter who goes thru this has the will and support to use this as her strength, and not the reason of her weakness.

    I hope so too Crafty Shines, we should blog about these issues.

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  21. bindi’s seriously???? never heard of this! wonder what he would say to me….lol

    am gonna come back and read this in leisure… am too tired adn sleepy right now…though can feel my brain whizzing a post too on this…

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  22. Nice post! I can’t believe the whole bindhi thing! There’s a similar religious thingy where we have to wear a yellow thread for the ‘well-being’ of our husbands and I remember questioning that vehemently….why don’t they ever do stuff for us? My parents have two daughters and they have been asked about whether they have any sons.

    I also remember, when I was applying to come to Australia on my own, the bank lender that was giving us the loan told my mum that it was a dangerous thing sending a girl alone to a foreign country to study! I got so mad….but my mum said she was not worried as I was very responsible etc etc.

    It’s this mentality of people that really gives me the shits. I do wonder how long it will take to change…if ever.

    I’m going to be back in India for a holiday later this year and I am willing to bet everyone is going to be nosey and ask about when I am going to get married because I’m 25 and aging and ‘need’ a man! Can’t wait to give back smart retorts!

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  23. That bindi thing is the most ridiculous thing I have heard. So how does this work? You put lot of bindis on your forehead? Gosh! I don’t even put one bindi. So where does that leave my dad, brother and husband.

    Wait till Ekta reads this and she will make her 14 th century bahus apply tons of bindis too along with that sindoor and mangalsutra on those gaudy sarees. *blech*

    That doli-arthi dialogues in films really gets my goat. Sadly! when I was in Kanpur, I heard it from real life people too. Also, something like beti ke ghar ka pani bhi nahin pee sakte I mean what the……..

    One of my friend is pregnant now and her MIL is praying that she has a son. Seriously! even now this happens.

    I don’t know if NCERT Hindi books are changed now or not. But earlier books had lines and pictures like

    Shyam jaakar khelo. Sita rasoi mein haath batao. Ganga khana paros.

    Even at that age stereotypes are set.

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  24. i have met such woman who have sons and think and propogate anti-girl blah blah myths.. Dig deeper such women have some psychological issues to deal with themselves and take refuge everywhere else but themselves. They think their status as a woman increase because of giving birth to sons, but they have suffered rejection in their own family, hence such thoughts and false propogation

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  25. never knew or heard about the bindi thing IHM….

    on the note of daughters ..everyone should be treated like a human being. ..Period…

    not on the basis of gender

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  26. excellent post.
    about this bindi do you realise where is the seed.
    seed is in manu his laws.
    Bindi can be a beauty enhancing as well as bindi can be sign of slavery ,so it all depends how husband and wife both see it.

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  27. I have to give it to you for being so collected after listening to that women you know. I guess if women subscribe to the whole theory that girl children are like a piece of land (you give them away to the “boy’s side” of the family along with a dowry) then they have themselves to blame for not enjoying the process of raising a girl to be a woman.
    On a slightly different note, there are so many parts of the Hindu wedding ceremony (well, at least the Tamilian one) that are messed up and so biased against woman as respected individuals.

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  28. Did not know that the beautiful “bindi” carried such “responsibilities” too!

    nd yesterday after watching one of those movies with “yakshi” (female ghost) in it.. I was wondering why there were only female ghosts.. then thought maybe those were really the woman who decided to fight against male domination in their own way and ended up being branded a “yakshi” 🙂

    wish people knew how equally precious is a girl child.. nd how I love to see fanilies with all girls.. if you see their Father. .he is always a happy man.. I guess it is because he has become more tender.

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  29. This daughter son, issue is never ending. We are 2 sisters and I know the amount of time eyebrows have been raised with pity for parents. It’s funny and obnoxious at the same time. But what is worrying is that people who want sons vs daughters are not restricted to small towns or rural India. They are spread across the length and breadth of the country, metroes, cities. One realises the gravity of the situation when even your peers show desperation for a male child…I always thought my generation would be different…its a pathetic situation…

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  30. Such a sad indictment of girls! There should be no gender distinction between boys/girls. Parents should know that they are lucky to have normal children. It is such a joy tohold a new born in one’s hands. Love begets love. So, do away with stereotyping.

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  31. Rightly said IHM, “Women are women’s worst enemies!”It is the strange reality which all of us have to accept!! Though there are a number of men who cause trouble to women, there are indeed many other women who support them.

    I read the story of Neera Chopra a couple of days ago and really admired her and the way she brought up her 2 girls.

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  32. IHM, this has to be one of the best posts here, ever, for it so succinctly and yet so clearly outlines all that is the problem with the way of thinking, even now. Having a girl child has never been easy for the Indian parent years ago, and in many places, regardless of caste, economical background, and even religion, it still is the same.

    And to speak of gender bias, the kind that Solilo has also written about, the kind that filters down from texts, and example sentences… it is even worse! That is one inspiring story of Pooja Chandra’s mother, which i think I had read on another blog too.

    May that tribe increase, and may we open our eyes, to all those possibilities, so real, and so easy to achieve, with a girl child. Craftyshines has also so beautifully delineated how it is with the old fashioned thinking, and more so when it comes to girls.

    Also, as each generation moves on, I think it is not just the girls we need to empower, and make confident, but also educate the boys, esp those who might have contact [lol] with the species that come from chauvinistic backgrounds, about how girl children too, must be wanted, and how their partners, girls, I mean :), are also just as they are 🙂 Human, and equal 🙂

    My sister in law reported this conversation she had with her daughter a few weeks ago, when her son teased his sister about being the next in line to get married.
    Pat came the reply from my niece [as old as my younger one :)]: I mean, why should I? I dont see anyone around really happy being married, I dont see why i have to because its the done thing…Do I have to really? I’d rather not, if you know what I mean!…
    My sis in law was rather taken aback but rather proud too, of the way her daughter showed her maturity, and told her that she would never be asked to, unless she at some point really wanted to!

    I am so proud of both of them, really. Really strong women both, though they have had their share of difficulties to face because of being women.

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  33. IHM, you have raised an important issue, about how we bring up our daughters. I have two daughters and never for a moment did I think that it was difficult to bring them up! For me and my daughters at least there is no question of giving dowry as it has not been given for three generations in our family as my grandfather was an enlightened man. Also women in our family have been working and studied at the post grad level for 3 generations. Marriage has never been an issue, and if it has, it has been equally so for bother boys and girls. Marriage has been considered important for both sexes. I think those who find it difficult to bring daughters up are those who want to follow the old-fashioned way of bringing them up.
    I remember once what a neighbor told me. She said that you are lucky to have girls because it is difficult to bring up a son because today getting into a professional course is tough and with a girl one doesn’t need to bother! This argument does not apply to me as I brought up my daughters with the knowledge that they have to be be able to support a family if need be.
    It’s tough to bring up kids to be independent and unspoilt and it’s tough road whether they are boys or girls.

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  34. i have a daughter and a son. As a parent I am conscious of the fact that baises against the girls are higher and in a bigot society like our they have to struggle more, against eve-teasing, social norms, mindsets, etc etc. Awareness of this makes as a parent a parent that I give my child mental strength & confidence to fight these baises and also skills & opportunities to succeed as an individual independent of her sex.

    And the same stand for the boy also. Today the struggle in many ways is independent of the fact of whether you are a boy or a girl. Both the sexes need to be mentally and physically strong to take on a very ruthless & competitive world.

    But having said that I think despite our abhorrence towards prevailing norms in India, we should acknowledge the shortcomings in our society in its attitude towards girls and give them extra attention to fight these biases.

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  35. The people craving sons, live under the illusion that he will be their lantern of their old age , their budhape ka sahara , where it is quite possible that he ditches them to fend off on their own , and their unwanted difficult daughter could be the one to come to their rescue . This does happen .

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  36. Wonder if we will have the courage to accept change and treat our children equal. Wishing people, a little more honesty when wanting the same things for their daughter/ daughter in law and men all over respect for women.
    Very well written!

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  37. Forget what happens to a woman with no sons or brothers, I am wondering, what happens to someone with like 3 brothers and 3 sons??She will wear like 7 bindis?OMG!!who was this religious dude?

    I kinda once told you about women being women’s enemies too.As in we when we were discussing mother in-laws and stuff.It is pretty true and you always see it.

    I cannot think of an another country (leaving Pakistan) where in a gal is considered a burden. Indians are pretty unique when it comes to this..Grrrrr… After all we are someone who don’t even learn from our mistakes..:-(

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  38. ” If we weren’t so desperate for our daughters to marry by a fixed age and within the community, under any conditions, at any price (dowry) half the problems disappear anyway. ”

    Other than fears like safety of the girl child, unable to find a perfect match for their daughter in their caste/community is one of the biggest fear that haunts any parents. And this fear psychosis plays the biggest role in making the problem of dowry worse.

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  39. as i society we are still too worried about what will people say rather than the actual issue at hand which is indeed sad.

    which is my we have honour killings in the name of protecting khandaan ka naam or even educated parents making life hell for their kids because of petty caste and religion differences.

    a girl is as much liability and asset as a son really if we have to sit and compare! as long as we are ready to look at it that way! 🙂

    cheers!

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  40. My parents raised both me and my sister the exact same way they would’ve a boy kid. The same education, the same scolding, the same love. Probably more, in fact.
    Even today if a girl baby is born…the parents worry. Because i guess they see their daughter growing up in a world teeming with leches, perverts and rapists. They worry about them having to be called an old maid if they’re not married by 25. [ i am. ive been in a 4.5yr long committed relationship and we will get married, AFTER another 3-4yrs…we’ve career goals to reach…thats all…but ppl seem to have a big problem with that.ha.]
    They worry that even when married…with or without dowry, their in laws will always treat them differently….not like their own kids at all. [mostly.]
    They worry about them managing a home, a career, kids, in laws, husband….everything…it is a struggle. no matter how much help one has. Its no wonder women sleep less peacefully or rely on meds. headaches anyone?
    Life is harder…if we speak honestly, for a girl. I am one and I feel the pressures sometimes. I’m not sure…how relevant i was…but a new girl baby was born into our family, my neice n i wondered why ppl were’nt ecstatic…they were happy…but not OTT. this is why.

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  41. Gender inequality is taken as a normal part of life, as if its a given, lord’s order! part of it is insecure environment for girls in India, parents are scared and hence different rules for boys and girls. But it shows in the manner of even well meaning parents. Girls should wear this at this time , talk like this at this moment, sit like this in this situation and boys, well, they can be themselves all the time! My SIL, when got married wasn’t allowed to wear salwar suit by her in-laws, she even slept in a saree. For her morning walks she found it difficult to walk fast in a sari and requested for a permission to wear suits at least for a walk. The result, her morning walks ended that very day. its a pity how people feel they can run other people lives, although I also feel its how much you let the other people meddle with you.

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  42. IHM, Some people bring up their daughters as if it were a huge sacrifice! I know of girls who say, ‘ How can we expect my parents to pay for higher education, when they have the ‘responsibility’ of getting me married’ ?
    I think a lot of parents still think of girls as a burden. One of our friends was telling us how, when she was expecting her second child – everybody(in-laws) wanted a boy( her firstborn is a girl) and they were kind of disappointed when it was a girl again.. Despite being educated and well travelled, people still have that ‘boy’ fixation.. And at the end of the day, I think parents worry about their children, equally – be it a girl or a boy.. Atleast my parents did..
    This time in India, I met somebody who had had an abortion, because the baby was a girl and when I met her she was pregnant again – and was sure that she would have a boy this time.. And you know what – it sent chills down my spine to realise that it was a matter of fact thing for her – the abortion.. the worry, if at all there was one – was that it was bad for her health.. moral issues – just did not come in.. all they wanted was a boy!
    Wonder when this change will come when a girl and a boy will be treated the same way…everywhere..

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  43. This is a great post! I really enjoyed reading it. It brings up a lot of questions and shakes up the “traditional” beliefs that are still popular today.

    I come from a fairly liberal Indian family (my parents have two daughters, and they never once grudged the fact that they don’t have a son) so to hear these anti-daughter sentiments – which are indeed very prevalent, even in modern India – is quite disappointing. There are so many reasons to NOT look at daughters as burdens, and you have aptly highlighted quite a number of them. In today’s world, women aren’t just seen as objects that have to be prepared for marriage and then sent off to their in-laws’ houses for the rest of their married lives. They can offer a LOT more than just cooking skills and babies. Given the circumstances in today’s world, there is absolutely no reason to abhor the birth of a female child. (And even if there were “reasons” back then, I still don’t think they justify the abortion of many baby girls.)

    This post definitely brings up a lot of food for thought!

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  44. I have seen that in the cities today daughters are willing to take care of their parents but not their in-laws. Sons are more open to taking care of their in-laws. So more and more there is a trend towards daughters taking care of parents.

    Me – I am not sure if this is true, but if it is it could be because sons in law are treated with a lot of affections and respect, while care from daughters in law in taken as a right – it is expected to come along with her dowry, her pay check, her obedience and her duty to ptovide a male grand child.

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  45. hi. I’ve been a long time lurker. Enjoy reading ur posts. Would really like to hear what you’ve got to say for this 🙂 so tagging u : Around the world in 80 clicks: 5 things I love about being a Mom

    Richajn Welcome 🙂 Delighted to find a lurker delurking on my blog!!!! This is such a pleasant surprise!!
    Thanks for the tag 🙂 I did this tag .. with a slight twist, here… do read it and let me know what you think 🙂

    https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/what-i-don%E2%80%99t-like-about-being-a-mother/

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  46. So what happens to those women who do not have any bothers or sons?
    your last sentence speaks for itself. Bothers, not brothers, hehe. though a typo, it is enough to quote to answer the question u raised. imagine having to put up bindis all over ur face for all the men in ur life. Okay, not all the men, just the men in your family….

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  53. I guess this post explains why I’m so often puzzled by what I read on this blog. While my Indian husband got anxious when he knew we were expecting a girl, I keep meeting women who spontaneously tell me how lucky I am to have daughters as boys are so difficult and a mother/daughter relationship is so special…

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