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3 most dangerous words in the world: It's a girl


bekkah

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The documentary is now streaming on netflix. It is about female infanticide in China and India. I thought it was interesting and I thought they could have done a better job on investigating this issue in other countries.

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The documentary is now streaming on netflix. It is about female infanticide in China and India. I thought it was interesting and I thought they could have done a better job on investigating this issue in other countries.

If I'm correct, the filmmaker for this, Reggie Littlejohn, is an evangelical/fundie-lite.

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Regardless of what one thinks about abortion, I think this is an important topic that doesn't have easy answers. Many newborn girls are killed after birth or abandoned in these countries, so making abortion legal or illegal isn't going to change the outcome. The extreme gender imbalance in China is having a negative impact on domestic policies. There are millions of rural men who will never be able to get married because there aren't enough women for them. This is causing women in other Asian countries to be kidnapped and forced into marriages. Some political scientists are predicting that this over-abundance of men could cause China to become more militarily belligerent, since warfare is the traditional way that a society rids itself of too many young men. The only thing that would really help would be to increase the status of women so having a girl doesn't seem like such a disaster, but overriding thousands of years of entrenched patriarchy is difficult.

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My hope would be that a gender imbalance would cause girls to be more valued, as there would no longer be reasons to demand a dowry and girls (and their families) would be in a better position to make demands. Unfortunately, the reality seems to involve human trafficking.

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My little granddaughter committed the crime of being born a girl in China. Not only was she the wrong sex, but she has albinism which made her doubly undesirable. She was abandoned shortly after birth beside a road in Hebei province where, fortunately, she was found and placed in an orphanage. My daughter and son-in-law adopted her last year.

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My little granddaughter committed the crime of being born a girl in China. Not only was she the wrong sex, but she has albinism which made her doubly undesirable. She was abandoned shortly after birth beside a road in Hebei province where, fortunately, she was found and placed in an orphanage. My daughter and son-in-law adopted her last year.

PennySycamore, that is so sad. :( I'm so glad to hear that she now has a good home with your daughter and son-in-law. What a heartbreaking thing to have happen to her, just because she was born a girl in the wrong country. She'll have so many more wonderful opportunities open to her now that she has a forever-home with your family.

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Some families are fighting the tradition. My boyfriend is from India and when his sisters married, his parents paid for the wedding, but refused to pay any dowries because they in their mind it was like selling their daughter to a man and they could not do that in their good conscience. His parents were not upset to have daughters either and my boyfriend doesn't really have a preference if we ever had children, though we'd personally like to have one happy, healthy boy and one happy, healthy girl, so we'd like one of each. However, as long as they are happy and healthy it really does not matter if it is two girls or two boys or one of each really. So, while it is an issue still in some area of India, I think it is slowly changing. His sisters are both college educated and one is a doctor. His mother is not nearly as educated and his father had to work really hard to be able to get his own college education. So, I see the tides turning. Even if it slow, they are turning for the better.

I recall seeing excerpts from this film and the one Indian family who's doctor cut their newborn daughter's throat and they were so happy to have a healthy baby and then the doctor killed it and the parents were crying over the fact that he killed their baby because she was a girl. I felt so horrible for them. :cry:

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dairyfreelife, that's horrible! Can he legally do that in India, without parental consent? How did the parents respond?

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I lived in India for a while and I heard people talk about this program. It really happens in certain states. The state I was in, I never heard it happening while I was living there. I remember having a discussion with a great friend's parents and they valued her the same as a son. This is a higher caste family but still, I think it will change. She has total choice on who she wants to marry and gets to have a love marriage. I think India is changing even though there is all the news about women's rights currently.

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PennySycamore, that is so sad. :( I'm so glad to hear that she now has a good home with your daughter and son-in-law. What a heartbreaking thing to have happen to her, just because she was born a girl in the wrong country. She'll have so many more wonderful opportunities open to her now that she has a forever-home with your family.

I think the albinism would have been reason enough for many poor, rural families to abandon their child. In fact, being female may have nothing to do with her abandonment, rather her appearance was cause enough. Orphanages in China are also filled with disabled children, some as simple as cleft lips and club feet.

All these abandonment and abortions stem from simple economic reasons. Males are more useful on a farm, which is still people powered and men "bring in" an extra worker upon marriage whereas the daughter's family sees loss of a worker.

With a disabled child, rural families see an extra burden of medical expenses in order to cure or treat such children, or, as in the case of albinism, a child that will struggle a lifetime of job discrimination. Many disabled Chinese end up in poverty, requiring support from families to survive. A disabled child, even if they are just "different looking", becomes a financial burden to the family. My parents immigrated from China, and they were initially astounded by how many disabled people they saw in the US who had regular jobs.

There are no simple solutions. Only raising a quality of life can truly change attitudes as brains replace brawn. Once women are allowed economic independence, they will also be seen as an economic contributor rather than as a burden.

As for the dowry thing....I don't think dowries are necessarily bad. In China, I see it as a way to help young families jumpstart their new life. The groom's family provides housing and the bride's family provides household items. The guests will all give generous cash gifts to fund their new life together. Given the rise in housing prices in China, the groom's family has the heaviest financial burden----many times, for poorer families, they dig deep into their life's savings to provide a house dowry. However, given the housing bubble in China, this is the only way for young families to have their own place. Otherwise, the young couple will have to move in with the parents----something most modern couples try to avoid!

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I tried to watch this documentary on Netflix while I was on the treadmill this morning, but I couldn't make it through the first five minutes. I admit that I have a bleeding heart, and as I'm expecting, it's worse than normal. I will try and watch it later, when I don't have to worry about bawling like a baby while running.

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I lived in India for a while and I heard people talk about this program. It really happens in certain states. The state I was in, I never heard it happening while I was living there. I remember having a discussion with a great friend's parents and they valued her the same as a son. This is a higher caste family but still, I think it will change. She has total choice on who she wants to marry and gets to have a love marriage. I think India is changing even though there is all the news about women's rights currently.

Same with my boyfriend. He never knew of it happening in his state either, but that it did happen in other, mostly more rural, states. They still do arranged marriages, but his one sister and her current husband did not and it was a love marriage.

Also, he did tell me they do not do ultrasounds in India except with health concerns and tend to not reveal the gender because of the high rate of aborting baby girls in areas. He thinks they have been cracking down on the murder of infant baby girls in areas as well in recent years, trying to stop that practice. So, yeah, things are slowly changing. Even in China I think things are changing.

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Thanks for the link, but I'm so sorry I watched it. My God, that one woman who strangled all 8 of her newborn infants because they were all female? I have no words... :(

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My sister-in-law, who is from Western China, is one of five: four girls and one boy. Her parents felt it was worth the fines to keep having children because a woman is not accepted as an full adult in society until she has given birth to a son. They are wealthy so did not need a son to work on a farm nor were their dowry issues. It was simply that the mother was not allowed to be fully involved in the community until she had a son. My SiL described it as being like a 17yo for the rest of your life.

Just for the record, my SiL has just had baby no.1 = a girl. She is thrilled!

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So sad that this happens!! Hearing these stories makes me greatful to be raised in the US.

This. I'm also glad that my niece is being raised in the US, and not in a fundie family.

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This book was published in 2011 and really goes in-depth. The author is a pro-choice atheist, so she comes in without an agenda. I can't recommend it enough.

Unnatural Selection-Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men by Mara Hvistendahl

http://www.amazon.com/Unnatural-Selecti ... hl%2C+Mara

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  • 2 weeks later...

I found it a very interesting documentary although such a sad issue. I also hope as girls are fewer and there is more demand for them for marriages that the tide will change and girls will be considered valuable. I also noticed the anti-abortion leaning of the production with all the references to feticide.

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I'm as pro-choice as they come, and I've had an abortion (that I don't regret and had very little compunction about before, during and after - not in any way implying that this is the experience every woman has, but it is more common that pro-life advocates would like you to think). However, I felt viscerally ill during the part where an Indian woman was explaining the (illegal) selective abortion practices in her country. It made me cry, and again, my personal abortion caused me sadness and frustration but no guilt or second thoughts. I was nauseated by the callous way one of the rural women described how she murdered (because I can't describe a full-term, viable neonate as a "fetus" - by definition, it isn't, not anymore) her infant daughters shortly after birth. The frozen smile on her face made me sick - incredulously angry at her, and even angrier at a system that offers more support for an uneducated, impoverished, vulnerable woman to KILL her own child than for her to raise it to adulthood. My understanding, however, is that these things occur mostly in poor rural areas, and not among the middle and upper class (that's where the selective abortions might come in). It also seems that change is occurring in wealthier, more modernized areas (I believe ultrasounds determining sex and dowries are, at least ostensibly, illegal).

Something I very much appreciated was the use of sociologists, advocates and doctors who were native to the countries being discussed. This is an area where it's vital to use people from the country and culture. I fully expect to be in tears reading the book, yet I can't wait to read it.

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I actually just watched this documentary last night (was there something else on) and you're spot on with your assessment of the Indian woman who was awkwardly smiling while she described murdering her eight infant daughters after they were born. I'm telling myself it's a coping mechanism to deal with the horror.

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I'm as pro-choice as they come, and I've had an abortion (that I don't regret and had very little compunction about before, during and after - not in any way implying that this is the experience every woman has, but it is more common that pro-life advocates would like you to think). However, I felt viscerally ill during the part where an Indian woman was explaining the (illegal) selective abortion practices in her country. It made me cry, and again, my personal abortion caused me sadness and frustration but no guilt or second thoughts. I was nauseated by the callous way one of the rural women described how she murdered (because I can't describe a full-term, viable neonate as a "fetus" - by definition, it isn't, not anymore) her infant daughters shortly after birth. The frozen smile on her face made me sick - incredulously angry at her, and even angrier at a system that offers more support for an uneducated, impoverished, vulnerable woman to KILL her own child than for her to raise it to adulthood. My understanding, however, is that these things occur mostly in poor rural areas, and not among the middle and upper class (that's where the selective abortions might come in). It also seems that change is occurring in wealthier, more modernized areas (I believe ultrasounds determining sex and dowries are, at least ostensibly, illegal).

Something I very much appreciated was the use of sociologists, advocates and doctors who were native to the countries being discussed. This is an area where it's vital to use people from the country and culture. I fully expect to be in tears reading the book, yet I can't wait to read it.

yes, they are. My boyfriend was born and raised in India and he says they are illegal for the very reason that people are aborting too many female fetuses just because they are female. And his parents did not give dowries when their daughters/his sisters married. Less and less dowries are given and more and more females are being educated, at least among the middle and upper class. The women in poor classes are likely not getting the same opportunities obviously. But change is growing indeed.

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Thanks for the link, but I'm so sorry I watched it. My God, that one woman who strangled all 8 of her newborn infants because they were all female? I have no words... :(

That part actually made me ill because she just said it and was like "so what? I'd do it again if I had to."

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