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As a British born Asian woman of 27 years, I have observed from childhood the on goings of an Asian family in terms of the level of honour required for the functioning of the ‘extended family’. In my childhood if I recall correctly, it was fine I guess. However, reflecting back I seem to remember certain events that have perhaps made me the person I am today…bitter and twisted! Yes, I admit it. Coming from a family of five children in total, I have observed the hypocrisy of the men and WOMEN of such families in the sense that equality doesn’t exist. Yes, that’s right-it does not exist! The underlying reason for this is because the mothers of the family rear their children differently and a fault of each child is never concealed.

For example, if you’re not a clever child, trust me they’ll let you know! And, if you are a clever child, you and everyone will know! There is no such thing as political correctness or sensitivity in an Asian family! Boys and girls are treated very differently with boys being loved and weighted on 24/7 and girls expected to stay quiet and obey. This seems quite harsh in this staying age but it most definitely happens but in a more subtle way. Example: a daughter/sister can study, work and go out (going out limited of course) and similarly a son/brother does the same however, the difference lies in the additional responsibilities required for each sex. Women: as an ancient sociologist has found, have a dual/triple shift whereas men…ZILCH.

Asian girls are expected to be educated to degree level, have had a good level of work experience and at the same time committed to household responsibilities and childcare if children are involved. Furthermore, they are always ALWAYS carrying the weight of the world and have to maintain the family honour. By this, I mean behaving like a good respectable woman, dressing appropriately, going to events with their mothers, cooking and cleaning etc. Men on the other hand can relax after a ‘hard day’s work’. Why is that a woman who works the same hours as a man, is treated differently? Why does an Asian woman have to work, study and then come home to do household duties? And, why is that men are fed hand to mouth by their parents when they return? How did this come about? Are we as women to blame? YES! We as women have burdened ourselves and created these selfish humans, rearing them to depend on us and in return getting constant criticisms and reminders of how disappointing we are.

OK, so where does hypocrisy come into all this? Well, Asians are born with dual standards. Basically, one rule for them and another for the WOMEN around them. Now, this isn’t just about men having double standards but women supporting such standards, namely, MOTHERS! Without demonising anyone in particular I’d like to cut to the chase. Daughters are expected in this contemporary society to learn how to do everything! But, when it comes to them wanting to pursue their interests, cultural norms come into play and in a nutshell a woman is put in her place with lines such as ‘it’s not right for young girls to do this, what will people say, it’s not safe’ etc and then marriage comes into play. Yes, another factor! ‘If you want to pursue your interests then get married and your husband will help you’. WHAT?

Women in Asian culture are allowed and often do what they want with limitations set by parents. However, this happens only when it suits everyone else in the family. The bottom line is women do not have the respect in society as a whole and in Asian family it is apparent as it’s blatantly pointed out. As a woman gets older in Asian culture, she becomes a burden on her family if she does not get married. Basically, families outgrow you! Shocking huh? But, that’s the brutal truth. Parents love their children but in this modern society, the concealed suffering of women continues. Asian families favour their sons’ interests more and disregard the interests of their daughters’ due to it being an inconvenience for the community as a whole. The expectations set by an Asian family are mainly for the daughters to live up to but not so much for the sons. This is the hypocrisy of Asian families present today.

Source by Mehnaz Sultana

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