The Big Didi Dilemma

Eldest daughters and sisters already have it tough. What does it mean when you’re also South Asian?

eldest sister
Eldest sister collage (Samyuktha Sridhar for The Juggernaut)

Ayesha Le Breton


January 16, 2024


8 min

Earlier last year, “eldest daughter syndrome,” while not a psychological condition, was the unofficial term that afflicted memes and Twitter threads, amassing tens of millions of views on TikTok. First-born women sought comfort online, where they could both vent and find humor in the shared pressures they felt not only in childhood, but throughout their lives. 

“It is always expected of South Asian women that they have to sacrifice for other people’s happiness,” said Muzna Abbas, a 29-year-old Pakistani American author and eldest sister to two sisters. “You have to be the role model. You have to be the one to keep the family together.”

Add gender biases and the expectations of South Asian parents and societies, the eldest daughter of subcontinental families is in for a unique experience. When we asked our followers to chime in on the phenomenon, we got over 239 responses. In sum, we have a lot to say about it — and a lot more to unpack.

Join today to read the full story.


Already a subscriber? Log in