Mothers hate their daughters? A toxic relationship between mothers and daughters is a real thing. If you have watched Four More Shots Please!, the relationship between Sidhi Patel and Sneha Patel was a reflection of an unhealthy mother-daughter relationship.
Sneha Patel constantly body-shamed and forced Sidhi Patel to fit into a mould of a perfect marriageable woman of high-class society. And the failure to meet her mother’s idea of perfection ultimately made Sneha insecure about her herself and her body. Although the relationship does take a positive turn in the second season, its toxicity is something many women identify with. Many mothers hate their daughters, compete with them, are jealous of them and always try to control their lives. While daughters become helpless and depressed because they don’t know how to deal with the hatred that comes from the woman who gave birth to them.
But why do mothers hate their daughters? Is it because those mothers are naturally villains or do gender inequality and patriarchy rules the game? Moreover, is it right for mothers to hate their daughters?
Why Do Some Mothers Hate Their Daughters?
The reason why some mothers hate their daughters is the dissatisfaction with their own lives. Mothers are also the women who lived in an unequal society and were forced to do things that they never wanted to. Some mothers were forced to quit their studies and get married early. Others were policed for their “slutty” outfits and outspokenness and for raising voice against wrong. Some had to give up their job to continue with an unwanted pregnancy, which was within marriage or an outcome of sexual violence. Ultimately, motherhood becomes enforcement on such women and the daughter turns out to be a reminder of the dreams and freedom that were snatched away.
Then, wouldn’t the resentment and jealousy towards daughters come naturally to such mothers? Unlike the stereotype of being loving and sacrificial, mothers are humans too. They have dreams, ambitions and choices apart from motherhood and they do feel hurt to lose them all at once. And they have the right to express the pain and hatred for people and the system that the mothers hold responsible for the injustice they faced.
While some mothers do not hate their daughters par say but their love becomes toxic because it is defined by patriarchal norms and restrictions that the mothers lived through and internalised.
Is It Right To Blame The Daughters?
But the important question that arises here is that is it right to blame the daughters? Is it right for the mothers to reinstate the patriarchal norms in their daughters’ life? Is it the daughter who should bear the guilt of her mother’s oppression, or the patriarchal institution? Yes, it was unfair that a mother was forced to change her choices and live a life that doesn’t value her self-respect and happiness. But it is equally unfair that the daughter is being punished for the wrong that she never did. She was not even there when her mother had undergone all the tribulations because of her gender. And now when it is the daughter’s turn to fight the gender stereotypes, she is conflicted and bewildered because her mother embodies the biggest barrier in her life. If a daughter cannot expect love, support and encouragement from her mother, will she be confident enough to step out in the world? If a daughter is oppressed, controlled and hated by her mother, will she be able to expect equality and respect from others? Where should she even start or end her fight when patriarchy thrives at home itself?
It is said that daughters are a reflection of their mothers. This is why some mothers want to see their dreams and idea of perfection fulfilled through their daughters, even if that requires force and imposition. But it is also possible that mothers feel entitled to oppress their daughters rather than questioning the men in the house because daughters are women who should tolerate every oppression and be quiet. And then what if the daughter too internalises this oppression and passes it on to her daughter? As it has rightly been said that children become what they see their parents as. How then are we going to break this vicious chain of women oppressing each other in the family? Doesn’t this end up encouraging the injustice and oppression towards women rather than slamming the actual culprit behind it-patriarchy?
Raise Feminist Daughters
So dear mothers, please don’t resent your daughters. It is right to be dissatisfied or even angry with life and people that didn’t pay heed to your choices. It is never too late to raise your voice and slam your perpetrator. Because injustice is wrong, even if it happened decades ago. But then you must vent out your reaction in the right direction. And pointing it towards your daughter is not right. In the fight against gender inequality, the worst thing to do is to impose on your daughter or any other women the same restrictions and hatred that you faced as a woman. It will only encourage injustice and women’s oppression rather than opposing them.
Rather than hating your daughters, raise them into feminists who will oppose every restriction and oppression that comes their way. Be the feminist yourself who has the will to raise your voice against the wrong done today or years ago. And who is proud of her gender and doesn’t perceive it as subordinate. Even though motherhood wasn’t your choice, make it a way to raise a generation where a woman will not bear the burden of unwanted pregnancy and imposed life choices.