I haven’t always been happy with my status as the only daughter in a family of boys, but I think it’s fair to say I’ve adjusted to it now.
Of course, there were times in my youth when I begged and pleaded with the universe to deliver me a sister. But mum’s last ended up being yet another brother, I think it’s fair to say I gave up the gun. After all, being outnumbered five to one makes it pretty hard to stay positive about change.
So, instead of fighting it, I just decided to get over, and even embrace, my life as the only daughter in a tightly packed, room full of sons. Here are a few little things I’ve noticed on the way.
What do you think?
1. Double Standards Exist And Suck
Double standards are literally the worst.
They’re bad when they’re in society and you’re forced to experience them on a daily basis, but they’re even worse when they exist in your own home. I have to say, I love my parents, but there remain some serious gendered double standards present in the raising of boys and girls.
As a girl, I was expected to scrub up nicely for events, to help mum around the house and to be switched on to things that my brothers just weren’t because they were ‘boys being boys’. It didn’t matter that in the same breadth, I was being encouraged to spend all my time hanging out with them, I was still different because I was a girl.
2. Boys Are Seen As Helpless
As a child, I used to hate the notion that my brothers were helpless kittens in need of constant support, but as an adult, I’m able to laugh at just how ridiculous this idea is.
I don’t think it’s that uncommon in families, even when boys don’t outnumber girls, for boys to be seen as somehow in need of more support than their sisters. Both my parents are constantly telling me how my little brothers, in their early 20s, need more support, and that they’re worried they’re going to fail. It’s an unusual state of affairs.
3. Boys Are Easy, But Girls Can Be Complex
All my childhood, I had no issue with boys. All the kids I knew were boys, and with the exception of ‘family friends’, all the friends I had were also boys. It wasn’t strange for me to spend my time wrestling, getting dirty, building bike jumps and generally being an adventurous grub. But when puberty hit and my male friends started to really see me as a girl, all that changed. I had to start hanging out with girls, who are an entirely different kettle of fish. They’re complex, with so many things happening in their social groups, so many hidden and subtle messages.
I was totally lost. Learning to be friends with girls was almost like learning a second language that I should have been working on my whole life. Whoops!
4. Mums Treat Their Daughter Differently
My mum was always a big advocate of female equality, but you might not know it based on how wildly different she treated myself compared to my brothers. Like my dad, my mum cuddles my brothers. I get it, they’re her babies.
It used to annoy the hell out of me that my parents, particularly my mum, expected so much more out of me than my brothers, but I know now that there was a purpose behind it.
We live in a world where, unfortunately, girls do get taken advantage of. To overcome it, mums need to make sure their girls are as tough and independent as they come which, thanks to my mum, I am. To be honest, I wish my brothers had gotten the same lessons.
What’s The Message Here For Parents?
I suppose the message here is that your daughters are precious and independent and strong and smart. But so are your sons. Treating them differently only succeeds in increasing the divide down the line, both in their life, in society and in the way they think about family. I’ll always love my brothers, but there are times that our different treatment by my parents drives me crazy, and I know the reason they’re like that is because of how they were raised and so on. Both boys and girls have so much potential, so let’s not let silly ideas about their gender hold them back.