An Open Letter To All My Pre-Teen Sisters

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Did you know that when you were born, your parents expected a boy? It started then, the moment you came out of the womb. You got to hear that you are a burden, a liability. But it was alright, you didn’t care, for you were young and the world hadn’t gotten to you yet. And then you started to grow, excited that you can officially call yourself a teen. And oh how things changed.

I’m writing you this letter to apologize. I’m sorry that things have changed now, and you got to see the side of the world you never thought existed, the uglier side.

I’m sorry that your parents start treating you differently. I’m sorry that they, at times, doubt whether they should be paying so much for your education. I’m sorry that they suddenly expect you to prioritize housekeeping. I’m sorry that you cannot complain, or you will be scolded by your mother. She means well, so does your father. You see, they’re just afraid that society will not accept you if they don’t teach you how to be a good wife.

Source: University of Oxford

I’m sorry that your brother always has the upper hand. Your brother, whom you love so much, always get what he needs, whereas, you always coming second. And when you two get into an argument, you are the one who’s asked to shut up, or to compromise, even when he’s wrong. Don’t worry, you are merely being taught to be submissive so that you don’t question your future husbands or mother in laws.

I’m sorry that your uncles have suddenly started asking you to cover up, and your male friends in school have started staring unashamedly at your chest. I’m sorry that you have to drop out of sports because it’s ‘just not for girls’. I’m sorry that now you’ll have to deal with men on the road, with their ugly stares and disgusting acts. I’m sorry for the times you were harassed, and for the nights you spent crying.

Source: University of Oxford

I’m sorry that you were tossed around by the boy you thought loved you. I’m sorry that he played you like a toy, you see that’s ‘just how boys are’. I’m sorry that you will be blamed for all that he did to you while the boys get praise for treating girls that way.

And for those of you who are married off by force, I’m sorry I could not do anything for you. I’m sorry that you will now have to spend the rest of your life in servitude disguised as ‘good housekeeping’

And those of you who worked so hard to get into a good college or University, topped your class, beat all the odds, worked day and night and achieved something others envy you for. I’m sorry you could not continue, for your parents refuse to pay. Education for girls, you see, is not profitable.

I’m sorry that you must face these things at such a tender age. I know you get afraid when you pass by a group of boys, who all pause to look you up and down. I know you will blame yourself for not wearing the right clothes. I know that, with time, you will start hating the opposite gender. I know that you will go through some things you just cannot tell. I’d love to tell you things will be okay, but they won’t. It only gets worse from here. But don’t be afraid, you’re not alone. We were born girls, and so we must pay.

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