When the Original Poster (OP) gives his 14-year-old twins, Sara and Syed, an equal budget for back-to-school shopping, tensions rise. While Syed efficiently manages his money, Sara argues that her needs are inherently more expensive due to gender-specific social expectations. As each family member takes a side, the debate on financial equality versus social fairness reaches a boiling point.
The Shopping Experiment
OP gives his 14-year-old twins, Sara and Syed, $300 each for back-to-school shopping. The idea is to teach them how to budget and make their own decisions. A second $300 allowance for each twin is planned for the winter season.
Setting Ground Rules
Before hitting the mall, OP sits down with Sara and Syed to discuss shopping strategies. The message is to prioritize needs over wants and to be savvy shoppers. The plan is to scout out deals at various stores before purchasing.
The Parental Dilemma
OP initially wants to give the twins full autonomy during the shopping trip but is concerned about their safety, carrying $600 in total. A compromise is reached to accompany them but to give them the freedom to choose their items.
Syed’s Efficient Approach
Syed takes OP’s advice to heart, looking for the best deals in various stores. He eventually buys three pairs of pants for $100, five shirts for another $100, and finds a pair of Vans on clearance for $30. His budgeting skills serve him well.
The Splurge on Gaming
With money left over from his initial budget, Syed buys a video game that he has been wanting for ages. He is content with his purchases and feels satisfied that he has stuck to his budget and had some to spare.
Sara’s Casual Stroll
In contrast, Sara opts for a more laid-back shopping approach. She roams around, buying items that catch her eye, focusing less on budgeting. In the end, she acquires roughly twice the amount of clothes and accessories compared to Syed.
The Complaints Begin
Sara soon starts complaining that the allocated budget is insufficient to meet her ‘needs.’ OP suggests returning some items to buy what she truly needs, but she dismisses the idea. Sara remains unhappy.
An Emotional Return
Back at home, Sara shares her frustrations with OP’s wife. She argues that girls have different clothing needs than boys, making the uniform budget unfair. Emotional and unhappy, she seeks her mother’s understanding.
The Underwear Conundrum
Sara points out that she had to spend $50 on underwear alone, whereas Syed spent nothing. OP argues that he had explicitly allotted $30 for underwear and socks, which shouldn’t be part of the main shopping budget.
The Wife Weighs In
OP’s wife sides with her daughter, stating that girls and boys have different social expectations regarding attire. She argues that the same budget does not provide an equal social footing for both.
The Social Footing Debate
Sara and OP’s wife contend that Syed could wear the same outfit repeatedly without facing social scrutiny, a luxury Sara doesn’t have. They argue it’s not about spending the same amount but providing both with equal social standing.
The Gendered Clothing Norms
The issue of girls having more varied ‘needs’ for clothing than boys surfaces. Whether it’s additional layers, accessories, or variety, the implication is that Sara requires a bigger budget to conform to societal norms.
OP is unsure whether the arguments about social footing hold weight. He considers whether it’s true that girls need more clothing options and accessories to meet social expectations. Sara and the wife argue for a more flexible budget to address gender-specific needs, while OP believes in sticking to the original financial limits.
OP reflects on the original goal of teaching budgeting and decision-making to the twins. Despite the complaints, OP remains convinced that budgeting is an essential skill, although the issue of equal social footing is unresolved.
Was The Father’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts his story online for feedback and perspective from the general public. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “Women’s clothes typically cost more than the equivalent for men, and men’s clothes are often sturdier. Plus, a good bra can be expensive.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “$30 for underwear? That’s barely enough for one decent bra. You understand that teen girls must change their bra size, right?”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “The last area of concern would be shoes. Unless the son wants expensive sneakers, shoes will also be a bigger expense for the daughter. Guys can get away with one or two pairs that cover most occasions. Girls generally need more options, which means more money on shoes.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “It’s true that clothing for women often costs more than men’s clothing of comparable quality. It’s just one of those unfair realities women must face in life. Also, consider that just ONE decent basic bra for a girl can easily cost $30 or more.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.