Intelligent Sons and Beautiful Daughters

April 11, 2017

According to Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a NY Times writer, parental Google queries indicate that there are 123% more searches from parents who ask about their sons’ intelligence than their daughters’. By contrast, there are 160% more Google searches about the appearance of daughters than the appearance of sons.

American parents hope that their children will lead successful lives in the future; however, I believe that parents have different standards for their sons than for their daughters. In Michael Gonchar’s article, Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?, parents reveal they expect certain norms from their kids.

Gonchar asks the readers what they think about the article and what experiences they have relevant to this concept. One of the commenters, Manuela Castro, states that “[mothers and fathers] care more about their daughters’ appearance and their sons’ intelligence… Women have entered the working force, but there are still some people that live by this idea. It is also common to see that sons have more freedom from their parents than their daughters.”

Manuela sets forth a valid point: daughters have limits, but sons have more freedom with a wide range of choices such as opportunities in education and occupation.

In the past, men were seen as the intelligent, strong ones; on the other hand, women were kept inside doing the housework and taking care of their appearance to be able to marry. This idea has traversed many generations; however, it has only changed marginally for many families.

Some may argue that their parents do not expect different things based on gender.

Another commenter, Talia, mentions that her parents want her “to achieve what [she] can, and not be limited by [her] gender… Between both genders, they don’t expect more of the males.”While it may be true that some families do not follow these standards, data collected by Stephens-Davidowitz shows that many more families do base their expectations on gender;mothers and fathers are more likely to wonder whether their daughter is “beautiful” or “ugly.”

In general, parents seem more likely to use positive words in responding to questions about their sons.

For example, parents are more likely to ask whether a son is “happy,” and more likely to ask whether a daughter is “depressed.”I believe that many parents see their sons from a different viewpoint than their daughters.

I think one way to place kids in a more comfortable position is for every child, both boys and girls, to set their own limits. Daughters and sons can set their own standards by going outside of gender norms. Kids can push past what their parents want for them, and motivate themselves to go above and beyond.

Sally Song The Archer School for Girls 8th Grade

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