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Family always makes comments that men are more successful than women overall

(13 Posts)
elephantcuddles Thu 23-Mar-17 13:19:25

In my family, boys are expected to do better and be more successful than girls. I'm the youngest in a blended family of 6. Three girls, three guys all grown now. My brother has a really prestigious sounding job and my mum made a comment the other day that I shouldn't compare myself to my brothers, as men are "typically more successful than women and it's still mostly a man's world." She thinks women can be teachers and have typical "feminine" rolls. She told me not to bother pursuing postgraduate studies, as she thinks it won't help me either way. basically I feel totally discouraged and hopeless.

My grandmother used to openly say "men make better leaders than women." And my mum would say "Well boys are typically better at maths and girls are better at English." This is the type of rhetoric I heard all the time growing up. It makes me angry because I have it in the back of my mind that I should only pursue feminine rolls, and guess what, I am terrible at maths. I don't think hearing it openly that I wouldn't be very good at it helped me get any better. My mom was a teacher for maybe 4 years at most, but the rest of the time she was a housewife. My grandmothers were both housewives and my dad's second wife was always a housewife and never had a job in her life. Yet I am still expected to go out and get a good job and be successful. I feel angry inside.

Can anyone relate to this? Did you grow up in a household like this?

TheSparrowhawk Thu 23-Mar-17 13:25:06

The entirety of society is like this. It takes a long time to struggle free of it.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 23-Mar-17 13:35:40


elephantcuddles Thu 23-Mar-17 13:38:00

Yes, you are right. I feel like I notice it more and more the older I get. It used to be so nice to be blissfully unaware of it! But now it permeates through in so many situations I encounter in daily life. I feel stuck between the pressure to be a successful woman and the other things tell me I'm not capable of that and should just put my mind to smaller goals.

elephantcuddles Thu 23-Mar-17 13:39:00

facepalm I meant roles. I'm having breakfast.

badabeedabom Thu 23-Mar-17 13:40:48

It always irritates me that people say someone is "more successful" when they really mean "makes more money".

badabeedabom Thu 23-Mar-17 13:41:21

(Sorry OP I'm referring to your mother, not you!)

Cocopopsrule Thu 23-Mar-17 14:10:33

My in-laws are like this. I complained to DH and he said, well I'm their son. In their eyes I'm always going to have the more important job, be under more stress, and therefore more succesful. But actually you've managed to secure interesting work for similar remuneration and much less stress - so who is more 'successful?

It was really bad when they, PIL were judging my return to work after having dd. I think in the end I just had to let go of their expectations and judgements and do what I thought was right. As long as you are happy with your choices I think what other people say just needs to not be given too much weight. I know it's easier said than done. I and DH do question prejudice but I don't get into a fight about it.

MiL - well someone has to secure your financial security (As to why DH shouldn't take any parental leave)
Me - actually our financial contributions are the same and even if they weren't I wouldn't want to deny DH time with his child.

Mortgage advisor - So coco's DH - what do you think about this financing?
DH - I think you need to address that question to my wife as she's an equal partner in this decision and btw is actually providing the deposit.

Just ask them - do you think that's right? If so, why? If you want to discuss it. Otherwise don't bother.

HelenDenver Thu 23-Mar-17 18:54:33

A vague "gosh, how old fashioned. Anyway, nice weather" might serve you well. Don't give this shit more headspace than you must.

VestalVirgin Thu 23-Mar-17 23:47:46

Well, tell your parents you expect a larger chunk of their money left to you and your sister in their wills than what goes to your brothers, to make up for the lack of earning capacity.

If they really don't believe you can be successful, they should make sure you are financially secure after your father dies. That's what good parents used to do in the days when Jane Austen wrote her novels.

elephantcuddles Fri 24-Mar-17 00:44:08

Good point, Vestal! I just feel so damn putdown from hearing that kind of talk from them and it makes me feel hopeless.

stumblymonkeyremix Fri 24-Mar-17 01:20:15

Yuck...I'm sorry you had to grow up with that OP.

I come from a very matriarchal family...DGM was always the intelligent one out of my GP's.

DM had me at 18 and was a single mother but then saved money while working full time and told her then incredibly chauvinistic employers to shove their job up their arse when I was 15 and she was mid 30's. She went to uni and got a degree, masters and then a Ph.D and became a university lecturer in business.

I've now married into another matriarchal family as MIL is a physio who left the NHS to set up and run a very successful private practice.

Not a surprise then that I'm the breadwinner (work in The City as an independent consultant) in our family too and DH will be the SAHP.

Not a stealth boast...just to show your DM is talking out of her arse (as you already know!) and that like my DM (who is my hero!) you can do anything you put your mind to if you're willing to work hard.

Don't be limited by other people who want to make your world as small as theirs...

PhaedrusRising Sun 26-Mar-17 19:26:29

My mum used to say to me "Men are dominant out in the world but you can do whatever you want and be good at it". Which was I think a good way of recognising that it's (still) not a level playing field & that needs addressing/recognising and also that women can succeed. She said it Ina "you've got to know what you're up against in advance" kind of way.

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