Chinese rural mindset shifts as daughters disprove age-old favour sons belief

Picture courtesy of Sanook

A traditional Chinese rural mindset of favouring sons has been challenged as a family with four daughters, all of whom have married, brings joy and envy to their village during festive seasons. The daughters, along with their respective husbands, regularly visit their parents, bringing gifts and helping with household chores, thus dispelling the long-held belief that only sons can carry on the family lineage and responsibilities.

In rural regions of China, the age-old concept of favouring sons is deeply rooted, stemming from the agrarian social structure and the cultural need to continue the bloodline. It’s widely believed that sons, as the inheritors of the family lineage, can carry on the family business, take care of ageing parents and shoulder important responsibilities.

However, with the development of the economy and society in modern times, the widespread notion of gender equality is gradually changing this mindset. Increasingly, families are realising that both sons and daughters should be responsible for their families and society and that sons-in-law should respect their parents-in-law as daughters-in-law respect their parents-in-law.

On January 17, in the city of Jiajiang, all four sons-in-law travelled to their in-laws’ homes, some driving Mercedes-Benz, some driving BMW, and others driving Nissan or Volkswagen cars. Regardless of the car they drove, the boots were filled with big and small gifts for their wives’ parents, a common practice during their visits.

After laying out an array of gifts in the living room, the sons-in-law rushed into the kitchen to relieve their mother-in-law of her cooking duties. Although the atmosphere was a bit chaotic, the faces of the grandparents and wives were filled with smiles of contentment, reported Sanook.

Recalling her childhood, one of the daughters revealed that her mother was looked down upon for having four daughters and no sons. Now that her daughters have grown up and have families of their own, the house is always lively during holidays. The children return home for dinner with their parents, with the sons-in-law cooking and the daughters helping their parents clean the house.

Good daughters

Those who once mocked now envy the parents for having such good daughters and sons-in-law. This family happiness cannot be bought with money, and they don’t have to worry about preparing a large dowry for a son, buying a house for a son, or raising a child for a son.

The actions of the sons-in-law have attracted a lot of attention online, challenging the old saying that “sons don’t have to give gifts or cook.” In a society where sons were respected more than daughters, or as many people called it, male superiority, there were various comments.

“It’s better to raise daughters because when a son-in-law comes to the father-in-law’s house, he is too shy to sit and wait for dinner, so he usually finds something to do. But the son is different, he will sit and wait for his parents to prepare dinner.”

“No matter how outstanding a son-in-law is, their children will carry the son-in-law’s surname, not your daughter’s surname. Only sons can continue the surname.”

“The truth is, my husband’s mother has five sons. During the holidays, she is tired of calling each son back home for dinner. Even though she is tired, she is happy because she is taking care of her children. When daughters grow up, they become someone else’s children, use someone else’s surname, and when they come home, they become guests.”

China News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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