Boy or Girl? Why Do More Americans Prefer Male Children?
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All of this points us back to the drawing board to consider the ways in which we are contributing to social environments that predicate such choices. And the question also remains: how do you affirm and convey the human value of girls without either commodifying or essentializing them? These are dire questions, since this problem doesn’t seem soon to fade. In its cover issue on “gendercide” last year, the Economist proclaimed gloomily that “technology, declining fertility, and ancient prejudices are combining to unbalance societies” – as if any which way society turns, toward modernization or away, the prognosis doesn’t look good.
We need a global overhaul of the way we value girls (and women), an enlightenment of epic proportions. A first important step is to converse honestly about our pre-conceptions of gender. In the US, let’s discuss openly the ways that sexism has been rooted out and the ways in which it remains. Let’s include ourselves in global finger-wagging about missing girls, and as we advocate for an end to sex-selective abortion in India, look equally critically at the more subtle but perhaps equally pernicious ways that girls in the US are being mistreated.