Growing up from a girl child into an adult takes a lot of efforts on both sides; the parents and the girl. A girl child goes through a lot of scrutiny and has to abide by set rules and regulations. Daughters are considered to be the one to hold the values and prestige of the family, they are always subjected to limited and closed- watch movement, do the house chores, have more restrictions than boys on media programme choices, even when they grow into an adult, they are still bound by their parents until they get married. This is an everyday ‘torture’ that a girl child goes through day in day out in some part of Africa and South Asia.
This growing process might seem simple and right for every girl child, but what they go through is an example of oppression and gender inequality. The boys are the lucky ones, they do not have to go through all the aforementioned when growing up, they live their lives the way they want. Maira (2002) stated that parents of second-generation immigrants of South Asian heritage adopt double standards on the gender of their children which is favourable to the boys than the girls, (Cited by Durham 2004).The girls are deprived of liberty to do what they feel like doing and often times, they have to bury their dreams in order to satisfy their parents expectations.
This act of depriving them of their rights to live freely is known as oppression. “Women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity”, ( Bcm lecture notes 2014). They lose the identification of their sexuality along the line and would find solace in media contents to discover who they really are and what they are capable of doing, as specified by Durham (2004), the media and popular culture helps adolescent in identity formation and the discourses on sexuality are important to sexual development and understanding among adolescents.
Girls in diaspora are more exposed to gender inequality because most countries are multi-racial, thus the parents would seclude them so that they would not mix or be exposed to the western culture as there are vast differences in the cultural characteristics. When a girl decides to discover her identity within transnational, there are more harm because discovering identities among people that are not related in culture, language, way of life might pose a bigger problem at the end of the day especially when the information is been sought through the media. Durham (2004) posited that diasporic media flows contribute to the development of transnational identities and it de-territorialises communities. The girl might be exposed to things she is not supposed to, things that contradicts her culture and jeopardises the expectations of the parents on her; expectations of being pure and chaste before marriage, Gillespie (1995) explained that family honour ultimately depends on the chastity of daughters among South Asians (cited in Durham 2001).According to Stratton (1998), “multiculturalism cultures, produced by individuals in their everyday lives, merge, creolise and transform as people live their lives, adapting to and resisting situations …. taking pleasure in other people with whom they come into contact” (cited in Dherer 2001).
In the long run, the expectations of the parents could be shattered because they failed to give a clear distinction on what path is right and wrong to the girl, all they did was impose their own rules on her, which she could not find who she really is in and decided to seek for herself in the different races available. The aftermath might result in teenage pregnancy, lesbianism etc. which could have been averted if proper orientation about sexuality and exposure to the ways of life was granted during the girl’s earlier stage in life.
It is a good idea to lay some rules for a girl child but in this fast moving world of globalisation, children are to be informed about the necessary things before they find out by themselves through any other means (movies, social media, peers etc.). Teaching daughters how to behave, uphold the standards of the family as well as learning how to prepare different dishes should not stop parents from allowing them discover themselves. Oppression must be eradicated whatever form it comes in and equal opportunities should be granted to the male and female children.
Discrimination, segregation, sexism are forms of oppression. It is time we stop girls’ and women’s oppression for a better future of the children, the parents and the world at large.
BCM310 2014, Emerging Issues in Media and Communication; Towards Intersectional Approaches. Accessed 05/06/2014.
Dreher,T, (2001),’Intersections: a transdisciplinary approach to media, identity and place’,Australian and New Zealand Association Conference Proceedings.ANZCA,pp.1-11. Accessed 05/06/2014.http://ro.uow.edu.au?cgi?viewcontent.cgi article=1525&context=artspapers
Durham, M, 2004, Constructing the “New Ethnicities”:Media, Sexuality, and Diaspora Identity in the Lives of South Asian Immigrant Girls Critical Studies in Media Communication.Vol. 21, No. 2, June 2004, pp. 140–161.Accessed 05/06/2014. http://www.nabilechchaibi.com/resources/newethnicities-csmc.pdf