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  • Writer's pictureSarah Rahman

"But it makes me wonder what happens to the family that gives in to this pressure?"

Conflicts at work and in life have been talked about a lot. But what about the conflicts you endure while growing up? Conflicts that happen in your own house. We are in the 21st century but has society grown? Of course, it has evolved but I would still say it has not completely grown. People like me who belong to a very educated background, still have conflicts with the patriarchal society and I don’t think we even want to discuss the situation with less educated ones.

I and my sister were the only two daughters of a man who was the only guy on his whole side of the family. So, the pressure of being born as a son was there, not on us but on our parents. Every once in a while, a person would come up and exclaim “when are you going to have a boy?” “Girls will leave for their own house” and sentences that you don’t want to hear were heard until it was of course too late. It was always a conflict between us and the patriarchal society that would come in and try to throw us out of our game.

I thought it all stopped until I was told to go pursue my higher education in a country all alone in the other part of the world. The people who were suddenly concerned that my parents don’t have a son now worried that I am too young to go outside and make a mark for myself. My parents were given red signals about the choice they made and about the money they were going to invest.

Those people wouldn’t blow the whole scene, but they would come and say something that would touch my heart and make me question my own abilities. I was raised to be fearless, but the heart does feel sad, doesn’t it? All my life I have been surrounded by people, friends, family, colleagues, and teachers that were the majority of different religions, and different castes, I still am, but at one point in time, it did threaten my confidence because I was a girl.

I have always tried to keep myself quiet about the situations that happen at home because they were “old people talk”. But I wouldn’t lie it did hurt, it hurts to the point you question your identity of being a girl to the parents that did nothing wrong in raising you.

I do like those relatives and will always do because they are family, part of my home but all this made me vulnerable. It made me feel sick, it made me feel lonely and also made me feel scared for my parents who had to answer all their concerns when we were too young.

It was not until too late I realised that people that talk about you being a girl are more threatened by you than you are by them. They are threatened by their position to ask questions and to think that you could be better than their own.

Almost 5 years after growing up and moving out here I am working and earning on my own in the same country where people were concerned about; buying gifts for almost all those people that would come and tell my parents that “a son would have been better”.

It was a long road to being able to own up to those wounds because those people don't even know what impact these conversations have on kids because they think they are “not listening”. We were lucky because our parents never put their societal burden on us. They were strong and raised their two daughters as women who can go through thick and thin. But it makes me wonder what happens to the family that gives in to this pressure. What happens to the girl that is told they can’t do better because they are not a “son”?


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