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Parents Called ‘Sexist’ For Letting Their Son Go On A Solo Trip To India But Not Their Daughter

Parenting styles can often differ between boys and girls, especially when cultural factors come into play.

For one Indian parent on Reddit, these differences turned into a conflict with their daughter, who accused them of sexism for having a different approache to her taking a traditional trip to India as a teenager than they had with their son.

They weren’t sure about how they’d handled things, so they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by This-Collection-8315 on the site, asked:

“AITA for not letting my daughter go on the same trip as I allowed my son to go on?”

They explained:

“In England when you do your GCSE exams at 16, you often have a longer summer holiday as exams are done by June and you don’t have to go to school until you start Year 12 in September.”

“When my son was 16, he finished his GCSEs, and we decided he could go to India a month early to spend time with his grand parents. We’re from India and we always used to spend 4 weeks there in the summer. This was in 2015.”

“We dropped him off at the airport and he flew out alone and landed fine. He spent a week with my parents, and then took a train for 8 hours to visit my wife’s parents. He handled it well and there were no issues.”

“Yesterday my daughter asked if she could do the same when she finished her GCSEs in the summer. I talked about it with my wife and we refused for the following reasons, the main one being that she was a young woman. I grew up India, and even today you hear terrible stories of women and girls being targeted.”

“However, she’s also very slight in build, where as my son even at 16 had the build of a full grown man (he’s big into rugby, which helps), so he’s not exactly someone who looks like an easy target. Next, my son speaks both Hindi and Malayalam flawlessly and sounds like a local – my daughter understands the language but having been born and grown up in London she clearly sounds foreign in India.”

“We told our daughter that no, she’d fly out with us this summer as we didn’t think it was particularly safe. She was fuming, calling us sexist and saying we gave her brother preferential treatment.”

Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this conflict based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Though there were some who disagreed with OP’s daughter, most thought they were doing the right thing given the differing safety concerns for men and women in India.

“Normally I would be on the side of your daughter, but considering from what I heard in the media of rape running rampant in India I fully understand your reasoning. Yes, maybe it’s sexist, but if I were in your position I would rather be sexist than the father of a raped and murdered daughter. So I would go NTA.”

“However, maybe you can discuss her going together with your son? With a male guardian present she would probably be safer?” –Mobile-Feed9928

“Agreed. It’s not the parents being sexist, she wants to travel alone to a sexist country. That’s like telling a very effeminate gay man not to go to Saudi Arabia, I’m not being homophobic, I’m telling them they are homophobic, and to avoid it like the plague.” –Williediealonewithcats

“I agree. I’m 23 and I still don’t feel safe going to India alone even though I know I will just be seeing my family when I am there. It’s sexist, but India is much safer for a male than a female.”

“When I went as a 15yo (I was with my parents and uncles) I would still get stared at constantly because it was summer and I was wearing dresses (like to my knee). I once even got followed and my mum made a rule that whenever we go out she would walk in front of me and my step dad behind me.”

“Your daughter might not understand because she hasn’t grown up in India where females go through this since they are children, but it’s better to have her be safe and upset than targeted by random strangers.” –givemepastaone

“Agreed. I remember a woman explaining the different risk awareness between the sexes:”

“As a man, you just have to worry about not getting mugged. As a woman, you have to behave as if you were carrying a transparent backpack filled with bank notes.”

“It’s the criminals who are sexists. I would also travel with my teenage daughter rather than let her go alone.” –jakeofheart

“I completely don’t blame the OP here. The next options would be the daughter goes on an alternative holiday with friends once she’s finished her A Levels. Or a parent accompany her to India.” –Dashcamkitty

“I completely agree with this.”

“I don’t ever agree with different rules based on gender alone. However where safety is concerned the conversation is entirely different. The fact that the dangers posed towards your daughter are very much non existent (in this particular situation) when it comes to your son is a major factor.”

“The suggestion of a male chaperone is a very good compromise. However I don’t think you’re wrong to worry and I would probably also not allow my daughter alone either.”

“NTA” –NatZaJu

“Agreed, and I feel like it’s not OP that’s being sexist here; it’s that the world in general and India in particular is sexist. Also, the political situation in India is pretty unstable at the moment (there’s a lot of brewing Hindu right-wingers pushing for a one-religion country and harassing people of other faiths, at the moment), so the situation has changed since OP let his son go there alone.” –Normal-Height-8577

“I wouldn’t call it sexist so much as an unfortunate fact of life that a young woman will not be safe while her brother was. In an ideal world yeah off she goes and has a blast, we don’t live in that world though and her safety should be a massive consideration as it is here.” –Cookyy2k

“I have been to India as a 20 something woman and man I was happy I was travelling with men”

“Got my a** pinched by 14 years old boy while I was walking in the street in between my two male friends”

“Got ask in marriage by a old guy that proceed to tell me he was still have erections and had a huge engine”

“Was always looked at people and never felt safe. I will never let my 16 years old go there alone”

“I had two female friends that went to India alone. They don’t know each other. Both of them took a night train. Both of them woke up in the middle of the nights to multiple guys masturbating near them”

“It’s not safe For a woman.” –AverageComment87

“I think I would do the same. It sucks that being a woman, especially a young woman puts a target on your back but the reality is that it does.”

“Have you considered offering her a trip somewhere else? Somewhere safer? Is there anyway to get there directly? I can see why she’d want to do this herself, it sounds terribly exciting but i think youre NTA, I think it’s your job to protect your daughter as long as you can.” –shilmist_

“I agree. Safety comes first.”

“I’m a solo female traveller. And, I 100% get OP’s concerns and why they said no. Some people have also been calling for OP to let their 16 year old daughter travel solo to another country to be ‘fair’. But, sometimes common sense has to trump what’s ‘fair’. Who TF would send their 16 year old to travel by themselves in an unfamiliar country for a month?”

“I started travelling solo in my mid-twenties, after some life experience. I would not recommend letting a young, more than likely naive teenager do it. People tend to pray on solo women and it takes some experience to spot the signs and to know how to stay safe.” –Electrical-Date-3951

“NTA- but your daughter won’t understand because as much as you mean well, she will see it as favouritism.”

“Does she want to spend more time there or does she want the journey? Maybe one of your parents could meet her at the airport so she doesn’t have to do the journey on her own.”

“I have an older brother and when I was younger I was annoyed he got to do things I didn’t, I see now why. Feeling a bit hard done by for a couple of years is far better than the risks” –Affectionate-Emu1374

“NAH – but I do think you could offer your daughter an alternative trip if you don’t feel its safe for her to take the same as her brother. What if she flew to India, got picked up by your parents and stayed there but didn’t make the 8hr train journey alone? And your family looked out for her while she was there. Or her brother could go with her?” –Purrrrfect2000

Hopefully OP can find a way to work through this with their daughter.

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.