Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

The Asian mother’s relationship with her son is a famous one. Giving birth to a son is like giving birth to a king, three tonnes of gold, a racehorse and house in Knightsbridge. The birth of a daughter, on the other hand, is met with, “At least we’ve got someone to look after us when we’re old.”

My mum has a special relationship with her sons – that’s “special” as in George Bush and Tony Blair. We don’t know how far that relationship went, but we know it was a bit odd.

My mum celebrated her sons. We’d be out in public and she’d say, “I have three sons! I’m such a lucky woman!” She is proud of her sons no matter what – they could be serial killers, utter losers, run naked across a cricket pitch, and she’d still be proud. She had higher expectations of her sons than of her daughters. To her, girls are born to be child bearers and chapatti makers. Boys rule the world.

Traditionally, Asian mothers put sons on a pedestal. This presents difficulties for future partners. My friends who have dated Asian men conclude that they want a woman who worships them and agrees with everything they say. They want to marry their mother, in other words.

I’ve fulfilled the expectations my mum had for her sons, and she finds it hard to deal with the tables turning. As a result, she says things like, “You’re a bit of a man, you are, with your strong personality and aggressiveness.” Other women she places in this category are Margaret Thatcher, Fatima Whitbread and Madonna. We’re all typical men.