The Junior And The (Arguable) Patriarchy

A week ago, I got an email saying I got into Barnard College.  A day later, my parents decided to get practical — getting my brother into a decent university.

I’ve talked about my brother a few times as I remember, especially in this one entry.  Long story short, I see him as the “Golden Asian Boy” because we’re different in various respects.  Despite being five years younger than me, he has been consistently getting straight-A’s and doing well in sports than I was at his age.  I can’t really argue that he’s been through more than I have; we have all been through different things and in different ways, so that’s not really relative.  Or is it?

Anyway, ever since I got into Barnard my parents decided to start whipping my 12-year old brother (let’s call him N) into shape.  I don’t really know if it’s an “Asian” thing to do, getting particularly your sons ready to go to a fantastic university like Harvard, Princeton, Yale or MIT.  My parents never did that to me, because “you’re the girl; we don’t have heavy expectations on you as we do on your brother.”  Right.

I don’t really think it’s necessarily supposed to insinuate that my brother is and always has been better than me (because I do believe that is the case).  That being said, I’m not sure if this motive is totally driven by either (a) the “Asian parent” psychology or (b) the whole idea that boys deserve more than girls for their future.  Or even both, to be completely fair.

Of course, I think N deserves to go to a good school, but how are we to know whether or not he is actually suited to go to the particular school?  Just because he gets good grades and has good athletic abilities, not to mention the fact that he’s a pretty decent photographer to some extent, does it really mean that he has what it takes to, well, appeal and “market” himself to I don’t know, Harvard.  To be honest, it’s too early to say for sure.  They’re changing the SAT, for instance.  Should they be waiting until then?

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2 thoughts on “The Junior And The (Arguable) Patriarchy

  1. My father is trying to convince my brother to apply to MIT and Caltech. My brother’s 13. For me, though, I was never under that kind of pressure to go to a ‘good’ school. My father is encouraging me to not go abroad and to attend one of the honestly less-than-excellent local universities.

    The thing is…do our brothers even *want* to go to those universities? There are people who choose to go to universities that aren’t so famous because the culture of the school is a better match for them and they think they’d be happy there. I think that’s a legitimate decision to make, and I think that it’s as unfair and unhelpful to make a young child feel as though they’d disappoint everyone if they *didn’t* go to these famous schools as to make a child feel as though they deserve less for their future by having lower expectations of them.

    1. Well, my brother is secretly aiming for MIT (that’s what he told me fairly recently anyway), but I’m not too sure about Columbia. Mom recently expressed her desire to NOT send him to Columbia yesterday too for reasons I have yet to fathom, but I’m glad she’s starting to take some of that pressure off of him.

      As for Dad…

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