Double Standards: I Am a Woman, Not Your Maid

Growing up I was raised with different morals, values, and customs that were rooted in me through the influence of my parents, and family. In my culture, and family I am a first generation Asian American. My parents are refugees. They fled Vietnam four years after the fall of Saigon and immigrated to the United States in order to start anew. Along with deep rooted values, I was raised with conservative views, like sex after marriage and the like. I was also raised with double standards: in my home, being a girl meant I was expected to cook and clean while men did not bear any household responsibilities.

I grew up in a patriarchal environment. Sexism and double standards were a part of my daily life.

At a young age it was instilled in my mind that girls are useless, worthless, overweight, unattractive, unintelligible, nothing more, and everything less than a servant. I was taught to serve my parents, grandparents, and siblings. Respecting my elder relatives was highly stressed upon to my younger generation. Thus, speaking up and diverging from tradition is highly looked down upon. As I grew up and matured into a young woman it dawned on me: “Why am I always responsible for cleaning?” “Why did everyone always expect me to be free and available to babysit?”

“Your brother is allowed to have a life, you are not.” Eventually it became something I had to accept. I had to accept being a girl came with a multitude of double standards, and sexist treatment that was out of my control. As I grew into my own, eventually I realized the amount of reliance society portrayed women to bear towards men. It is normal for my relatives to comment… “If you have a boyfriend, he can protect you”, “I don’t like being alone, because I feel safe if I am with my husband”. The question that puzzles me is, “What is so special about men, that make women feel the need to be so reliant upon them?

Though growing up, living with double standards, and sexism from my own relatives, it helped me come to the discovery that, although women take on more dutiful household roles, in contrast to men; that it is an adversity young Asian American girls face. Due to the fact that their parents tend to be traditional conservatives, who do not understand modern views and practices. As parents raise their children in a setting they find comfort in, through practices and modes of discipline their parents used to raise them.

I decided to choose the hyperlink to the article on how Saudi Arabian women use art to express the oppression and double standards they face in their culture. I did so, because I am able to find similarities in their struggles. Despite being raised in America, I was raised with the same morals, values, and standards that my mother was taught. In turn my parents used the same methodology to raise my brother and I. Which was sexist, and had multiple double standards that did not frustrate me; that was until I entered high school. This was when I was older, and came to realize how being a girl in my culture effected me in ways most girls would not have to worry about. Despite my opposition on how the girls are raised, and taught in my culture to be domesticated, obedient, and submissive; one day becoming a housewife, I have come to accept that negativity. In spite of it being against all that I stand for, it is something that has been rooted into my culture, and something that I must inform the younger girls in my culture to stand up against. Tradition can still prosper and be preserved, without the inclusion of oppression against the women of any culture.

In short women of every race, age, and size face societal and familial oppression, which tends to be the ultimate test that can either shape them into a highly respectable, intelligible, and devoted woman. In contrast to the stereotypes of women not being as smart as men, women who dress a certain way are asking for something, and or whether or not that oppression breaks them to the point of suicide. Regardless of the outcome, hardships are meant to be approached and conquered, in order to defeat other adversities, and horrible topics society throws at women.