I’m the big sister

I’m the big sister

Being the eldest daughter in the family means that everyone expects you to be a substitute for the mother, her hands and eyes in the house. You are not a child in this house, but rather a partner of the mother and father in their duties towards this family. We launched this campaign after an article was published a few days ago on the platform “ولها وجوه أخرى – Wlaha Wogoh Okhra”.

Ms. Shaimaa Saleem talks about how girls’ lives are completely different if she is the first child in the family or the second child after a male sibling, how this affects her view of herself and others’ view of her and how she interacts with them and indirectly forces her to bear a responsibility that her younger sisters/brothers do not bear as well as the high expectations that everyone sets for her and consequently, the greater punishment, both physically and psychologically,  if she does not conform to these expectations.

How many times have we heard a parent bragging that their daughter “washes, mops, cooks, and takes care of her mother and sisters”? How many times have we heard the phrase “Have another child and his sisters will take care of him?” How many times have we treated the marriage of our older sisters as a tragedy, as if our mother herself decided to leave the house and live with another man and not our sister? …. How many times have we, as older daughters, taken on the responsibility of dealing with the problems of our younger siblings not as their sister but as their mother? How many times have we decided to give up our dreams in favor of taking care of a sick parent?

The eldest daughters did not choose these responsibilities, they were forced on them by their families and society. Because their stories deserve to be heard, the “I’m the big sister” campaign worked on publishing stories shared by women – who are/were eldest daughters- following the campaign’s aim to emphasize the reality of their sufferings under the hashtag #أنا_الأخت_الكبيرة

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