“Boys Being Boys”
If there’s one phrase that many women can’t help but roll their eyes at or even recoil at hearing, it’s the phrase, “Boys will be boys.”
This phrase has been used time and time again to excuse inappropriate behavior from boys and men directed towards women and girls. This OP heard it really young when she was picked on by her brothers. Yet, if she did the same thing, it was a punishable offense.
An Unfair Perspective
You can really tell, especially when you look back on growing up, that some were considered “for boys” and some were considered “for girls.”
For instance, like this woman, you might have shown an interest in dance or music and seen it treated differently than your brother’s interest in sports. She never forgot that her brother never had to go to her recitals but she had to go to every one of his games.
Is It Really?
If you want to get a tattoo before you’re 18 years old, you have to get parental permission. A shop isn’t going to let you get a tattoo underage.
When this OP’s brother was 16 years old, he wanted a tattoo. It took almost no convincing until Dad approved. Later, he didn’t do the same for his daughter. Why? Well, he was pretty upfront about why he treated them differently.
Aside from physically limiting themselves when it comes to food, women also have to deal with unwelcome comments.
This woman watched their brothers eat everything in the house and that was never a problem because, after all, they were growing boys. On the other hand, if you’re 6’2″, you’d need just as much food to nourish you right? Not according to this OP’s parents.
A Dangerous Precedent
As we’ve seen, parents sometimes go to great lengths to control their children’s diets. This was another home in which that was entirely contingent on gender.
This person remembered watching her brothers eat bigger portions and even have snacks that she’d never been told were in the house. Putting a child on a diet for no reason other than their gender is already bad enough but lying about and hiding food from them? That only adds to the situation here.
You Cannot Be Serious
When you move into a new apartment, you have to make sure that you have everything you need to live. This can be a really costly part of getting a new apartment.
If you watched your brother get his whole apartment stocked with IKEA furniture from your parents, you’d probably expect them to perhaps do the same for you. Instead, this OP’s parents questioned why she’d even need the table.
Different Rules, Different Outcomes
First off, we’ll say that we can see why parents would worry about teen relationships and the consequences their children could fall headlong into.
That’s not really the problem here, though, is it? It was the fact that the rules were applied differently to this woman and her two brothers. As you might expect, the same consequences they feared for their daughter ended up being a part of their sons’ lives.
There are a lot of outdated thoughts about women that we have to wonder exactly where they came from. This is one you may have heard before.
Despite what you might have been told growing up, girls do sweat and they’re allowed to. In fact, doing something physical is a good thing! This mom made a decision based on antiquated “rules” that we don’t really aim to play by anymore.
Awful in More Ways Than One
Sometimes, so much unfair treatment goes on in your childhood that it’s hard to really pinpoint one moment that really stood out.
Unfortunately, it seems like this woman dealt with more than just misogyny from her parents. Parents should never make their children feel like they’re too hard to raise. It’s even harder when you’re singled out like this from your brothers. We can only imagine what this must have felt like.
What Yard Work?
Women are often unfairly expected to do more housework than men. All you have to do is look at an ad from the ’50s to notice the trend and it’s not like that’s totally gone now.
This person couldn’t help but notice how much more trouble they would get in than their brothers for a messy house. However, something else stuck out to them. The reason it was never their brothers’ fault didn’t quite ring true.
Changing the Curfew
Once you’re an adult, most of us don’t have to deal with curfews anymore. So, the curfew here is already a bit more than most people would expect when you’re 23.
This woman can’t help but feel that it’s even more unfair that her brothers don’t experience nearly the same thing. While this 20-something-year-old woman has earlier curfews and limitations as to who she can and cannot hang out with, her teenage brother is allowed to drive cross country.
A Bit Blatant
Some differences you see between yourself and your brothers growing up, for many women are subtle. Sadly, not-so-subtle differences rear their ugly heads from time to time as well.
As for this person, she was wondering why they were never allowed to take the front seat. Not to worry — this family was happy to explain the chauvinistic view behind their decision. In fact, they just outright said what they meant.
Internet dating does have its risks, so parents often have rules about what they allow their children to do. That doesn’t mean each child always gets the same treatment, though.
As far as internet dating goes, this woman did her due diligence. She made sure to at least speak on the phone with the guy before agreeing to meet him. On the other hand, probably thanks to a different set of fears for each, her brother didn’t have the same restrictions.
When it comes to dress codes, it’s often one of the easiest ways to find examples of misogyny. Many women have grown up with rules on how to dress, even in their own homes.
This daughter watched her brothers walk around comfortably in their boxers all the time. However, the one time that she ran across the house with a sports bra on, it was a problem. That’s the getup many women workout in — and, even further, these standards were applied unfairly.
There are plenty of valid reasons that your parents might not let you date with a big age gap when you’re a teen. It can really leave you in vulnerable situations.
So, this woman not being allowed to date someone two years her senior as a teen came from a valid fear. Yet, we have to wonder why they didn’t think of the relationship their son was having with a girl two years younger than him, even though the siblings were roughly the same age.
This person wanted to kick things off by making one thing clear — she loves her brother even though there were plenty of times she saw a difference in how they were each treated by their parents.
Still, it was hard not to think about the comparison from time to time. It seems like their father was willing to buy his son anything he wanted. When it came to his daughter, he was never quite as giving with his daughter, leaving her to scrape things together herself.
Clearly, There Are Different Rules
No matter what MTV told us, the practice of getting a new car for your 16th is often reserved for wealthier families. That’s what it seemed like here for a minute.
When both of this family’s daughters needed cars, they were told to fend for themselves. They only got them when they worked hard and scraped together the money themselves. That’s not exactly what the sisters saw happen when their brother was in the same position.
Raising Your Voice
There are some things that you get in trouble for a lot as a teen. A lot of people remember being berated for their “teenage attitude.” This woman couldn’t help but notice a bit of difference between what was considered “attitude,” though.
If her brother snapped, swore, or yelled, it seemed like there was no consequence. On the other hand, if her tone was even a little annoyed, there were consequences that her brother never faced.
There are plenty of families that include grandparents in a very active part of their grandchildren’s childhood. In this family, that meant that their grandparents stepped in to provide field trips, as one example.
There was something about what they expected for that help that stood out to this person. When her brothers needed something, it was no questions asked. If the OP needed something, there was housework in store for them to “work it off,” so to speak.
Just Outright Saying It
There’s an antiquated idea that cooking is something that a woman does in the family. The truth is, the oven doesn’t ask you what your gender is.
Still, that didn’t stop this father from pressing his daughter to learn to cook more than his son. This wasn’t something that he was passing down without thinking about either. He made it clear that he thought about her and her brother differently.
A Horrible Story
There are some things that are never okay. This was a gross overreaction that was completely the brother’s fault, let’s be perfectly clear.
An apology wasn’t going to cut it here and this young woman wasn’t going to just accept an apology and move on. After all, she was shaken, as anyone in this position would be. Her mother’s response to this was absolutely awful; she shouldn’t be punished for her reaction to an attack.
The way that romance is viewed by comparing men and women can come with a lot of variation. We’ve already heard examples of different standards between brothers and sisters.
The one that this woman noticed the most clearly was her father’s reaction to intimacy when he saw each of them. In most people’s eyes, the encounter with the brother would be incredibly awkward. Plus, not speaking to your own child for a week is a pretty harsh punishment.
It seems like housework is a frequent area where daughters notice majorly different expectations for them and for their brothers. The same was true in this woman’s story. As a matter of fact, it would be nearly impossible not to notice the difference here.
If you’ve ever been put in a position where you take on the majority or all of the housework, you know how draining it can be. It’s also really disheartening to be so involved in cleaning the house when others aren’t very helpful.
A Different Curriculum
Over the summer, kids get a break from school. However, many parents enroll them in activities or provide their own during the break to keep their minds active.
When parents build the curriculum, though, they can choose to do it in any subject they like. This isn’t technically school-related, after all. So, the boys were assigned math while the girls’ summer education was more focused on perfecting their cursive and choir songs.
Do I Look Like Your Waitress?
There are some men who just expect women to wait on them hand and foot. When those men have daughters, that treatment can be painfully noticeable.
It would have been faster and easier for everyone to walk a few feet to the fridge and grab what they needed themselves. The fact that they then decided to interrupt her and make her come downstairs just to hand them something baffles us. If anyone’s confused, we promise, the fridge door will open for both men and women.
If there’s one thing that any woman or anyone who’s ever even presented femininely can tell you, people can get really nasty about your looks.
Critiquing a child’s weight and looks is already something that makes most parents’ skin crawl. The idea that these parents would bully her into a certain aesthetic and leave her brother alone really highlights the difference in how they were treated and judged by gender alone.
Buying a New Fridge
There are often many examples in a woman’s life of treatment like this. This woman had a particular story that she wanted to share that would sum everything up quite well.
When she needed a fridge, she covered all her bases when it came to making sure she got exactly what she needed. Still, that didn’t convince her father right away. With a little prompting, though, maybe she finally got through to him.
The Value of Dependence
This one is about the opposite of making a daughter do all the housework. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a great story either. This OP wasn’t just not assigned housework, she wasn’t allowed to do it.
In general, she got the sense that her mother didn’t want her to be as independent as her brother. Whether it was overprotectiveness or something else, this sort of behavior doesn’t promote independence.
There are some people who fall into certain roles naturally during family gatherings. For instance, if you have a baker in your family, they might take over dessert.
Then, there are some decisions that are just made by asking someone of a certain gender to do what people have traditionally assigned to them. This woman didn’t see how it was fair that she had to help while their brothers and cousins got to hang out.
“Not for Girls”
There are some instances when it feels easier to think of ways that you were treated equally with your brothers rather than think of how you were treated differently. This person could think of a long list of ways they were treated differently from their brothers.
Not only was she kept from “boys’ activities” but she was also pushed to focus on her looks — using makeup and dieting. And we’ve already touched on some of the dangers of dieting so young.
Not Knowing What to Do
When it came to traditions to keep, it seems like this mom was keeping a few antiquated ones when it came to daughters and sons.
If you had to help cook and clean but your brothers didn’t have the same chores — or any chores, for that manner — you’d probably get really frustrated. Later on, it was even easier to tell that her father preferred to spend time with her brother, which must have been heartbreaking.
Turning Down Help
It’s not just the things that women and girls are expected to do that can stand out to them. Sometimes, it’s easy to see that you’re treated differently for what you aren’t allowed to do.
This woman was trying to be helpful when she was younger and offered to help her father with mowing the lawn. If you’ve cut the lawn on a summer day, you know it can be difficult. Still, she wasn’t allowed to help at all, just for being a girl.
Even Wall Colors
There’s a lot of talk about “boy’s colors” and “girl’s colors.” You’ve probably seen a party or two themed in either blue or pink. Those are the sorts of colors you reserve for the baby shower, right?
As it turned out, this woman was stopped from choosing her own paint color when she was younger because navy blue was apparently not as feminine as sky blue. Clearly, she didn’t end up liking this color more because of these actions.
A Terrifying Trend
We’ve talked a lot about how dietary restrictions have negative impressions on many young girls. That doesn’t mean that men don’t experience it, but there’s a clear chauvinism when it comes to how women’s bodies are critiqued.
As for this woman, her parents were quick to critique her diet, leaving her searching for that middle ground. It resulted in an eating disorder. Plus, watching her brother eat uncritiqued couldn’t have helped the situation at all.
When you think of the holidays with your family, do you think about all the family time and gift-giving? Or do you dread all the chores that come with it?
If you were a member of this family, you might identify more with the latter. This woman noticed that her brothers’ holiday responsibilities weren’t taxing or time-consuming. On the other hand, she was expected to give up her whole day and more for the holidays.
A Lot to Take In
The first part of this comment is already one that would blow most people’s minds. With children so close in age, why is he favored on birthdays like this?
Even further, and on a more general note, she said it was easy to see that between them, their mother preferred her brother. Still, we’re glad to see that this person is thriving now and experienced things her brother never did.
We’ve seen a lot of awful behavior at this point. Most of it has been a story of favoritism or old ideas worsening the relationship between women and their parents.
This woman’s story was more about their relationship with their brothers as well as her guardians. Over the years, she was responsible for her brother’s behavior. There was no moment to criticize them or even talk through something — she had to forgive and forget, no matter what.
Pros and Cons
There are a few things that you can probably say if you were to compare growing up with your siblings. This woman shared a couple of cons and a pro.
To start with the good news, she was given a lot more forgiveness than her brother was. On the other hand, she did have stricter rules when it came to milestones of independence. While it was unequal punishment, the standard wasn’t anarchical in either direction.
There’s a Mix
It’s important to point out in plain terms that gendered expectations can affect both young boys and girls. Again, this person had something to say on each of their sides.
As for her, she noticed that there was a different, more reserved persona expected from her. Yet, she wasn’t as harshly punished when she slipped up or did something she was supposed to as opposed to her brother.
Hold On a Second
As an older child, you’re often expected to be more responsible. This older sister couldn’t help but notice that it seemed like there was nothing her siblings could do to get in trouble.
There are a few things that you might think were just completely over the line and anyone has to get in trouble at home, right? What if they broke the law? Well, it turns out that even that didn’t warrant punishments like this person experienced.
Making it Known
Parents playing favorites is bound to hurt your children and even test their relationships with each other thanks to the different treatment.
This woman was already taking on a lot of household tasks at a young age from cooking to childcare. To make matters worse, she says that she and her younger brother were painfully aware of who their mom favored more. This sounds like it would be terribly stressful.
No Hockey for Girls
While sports are often split into teams for boys and teams for girls, that doesn’t mean that the sport is something only one gender is capable of. It was only this person’s parents that stopped her from playing hockey, unlike her brothers.
To add to that, she was also expected to spend more time on housework and cooking. Even now, she can see her family’s disapproval of her relationship just because she and her partner are on equal footing.
Completely Different Lives
There’s a point where it’s hard to think of what it would be like if your brother was actually forced to help out the way that you were.
That was only multiplied when this gal looked at the expectations of her and her sister versus their brother. It wasn’t just that they had to take on the majority of the housework but they were expected to financially contribute at a young age.
Do You Hear Yourself?
There are some things that parents do when they favor one of their children over the other that really speak volumes to the child who didn’t get the same help. In this woman’s case, it was the difference in support during college.
Getting half of what your sibling gets to support themselves could possibly be explained if they were in a worse financial situation but these parents really turned a blind eye while their daughter was struggling. How do you not hear how absurd your reasoning is?