Daughters vs Sons

One of my female cousins is getting married next month.

She has four brothers, all married. All had grand wedding receptions that my uncle paid for – my uncle is a very rich man. She is his only daughter, so I thought we would probably end up attending the banquet of the century, or something like that.

But no, she is not having one. Because her younger brother had his last December, her parents felt it was too much of a hassle to have another one so soon.

She says she is fine with it, so we are fine with it. It’s not our time and money, so it’s not like the rest of the extended family should have any say.

Some years back, my uncle gifted each of his kids a property downpayment each, before they got married. They were all expected to continue making the mortgage payments for their own property, before and after marriage. When my female cousin announced her marriage plans, my uncle took back the property. I have no idea whether he reimbursed my cousin for the mortgage payments she had made. But even then…

Note – he did not do that to any of his sons.

And suddenly, her being the only child out of five to not have a wedding reception meant a lot more than just time and money.

Yes, she says she is fine with it. Can she say anything else and not be labeled entitled, greedy and unfilial?

It is not my time, my money, my property and certainly none of my business. But I am sad. Why am I thinking about gender equality among strangers, when parents cannot even treat their sons and daughters fairly, so close to home?

My mother has been subtly lobbying for my cousin with her parents, because it so happens that my mother was also the only one in the family not to have a wedding reception. Not even a home party. Because she was female, and she married a poor man. She felt it all her life, and while she never really blamed my grandmother for the unfairness, she never forgot it either.

But ultimately, there is only so much she could do, so we made up for it by giving my cousin a really grand wedding gift. But that is only us; we cannot take the place of her parents. I only hope that she really is fine with it all. Because I really am not.


5 comments on “Daughters vs Sons

  1. I was okay with your cousin not having a grand wedding but to take back the property just seems petty and unfair. I too hope your cousin is really “ok” with it as I wouldn’t be.

  2. Ouch! Big ouch. If fair is fair you should do the same for each of your children (as long as you’re able to do so financially i.e. didn’t lose your job, have a health emergency that wiped our your savings etc.). I would NOT be OK with that situation if I were your cousin. Not because I expected my father to pay for everything, but because he did that for all of the other children and then didn’t do it for me. Sexism is unfortunately still alive and well these days.

  3. Miss JJ says:

    Hi lifeisfullof sunnydays and KK,

    Thanks for the comments.

    Yeah, the lack of a wedding reception is probably no biggie, except that my uncle is really very wealthy and this is his only daughter. Coming from an Asian society, one would really have expected a big send off.

    But taking back the property…

    To be frank, stories like that are not rare here in Asia, even today, with all the seeming appearance of gender equality. One of my other uncles, in a rare drunken argument with my mother, told her she has got nothing because she has no sons. That should tell you the attitudes that still prevail here, albeit most of it lies with the older generation.

    I personally thought the worst of my cousin’s situation was that her own mother, being a woman herself, didn’t lobby for her…

  4. Revanche says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that for your cousin. Sure, if she wasn’t into a big wedding, it’s almost a blessing not to have one but in comparison to the others, to say that it was “too soon” as if it was her fault the timing was not ideal… and then to follow it up by taking back property that I assume he didn’t take back from the sons when they got married? What was the point of gifting it in the first place if she wasn’t allowed to keep it for getting married?

    I didn’t truly realize how very lucky I was to be loved and cherished by my parents as the youngest and as a daughter. I know that my dad’s generation was the same way about boys and girls in attitude and it was really hard to understand – especially given how life played out later.

    I agree with you in thinking poorly of the mothers involved: I expect fathers to treat their children fairly and well but I also expect mothers to stand up for their children because my mom would have died to protect me – I can’t imagine how to understand a mother who allows her daughter to experience the pain of discrimination from her own father!

    Gender discrimination is hard to bear whether it’s close to home or far away.

  5. NZ Muse says:

    WTF. That makes me so mad. I don’t believe fair = equal all the time, but there is nothing fair or equal about that.

    I know my parents do have a few old school sexist viewpoints, but certainly they are rather minor (along the lines of some sports are just meant for boys/a woman’s virginity is a prize).

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