Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gender Bender #2

First the point about abortion that Kodi’s mom raised. Non-Indian citizens cannot adopt Indian children. They can get legal custody of the child, but they have to bring him/her to their country to adopt. The process is pretty convoluted compared to other countries. More here.

Rational Fool raises some important questions and I agree with RF and Usha: yes the mindset needs to be changed. But also, as RF points out, this has been deeply entrenched and is indeed an uphill task that may take many generations. But I can’t say I agree with them when they say one act of abortion is less heinous than the other. Hopefully I haven't missed what they were trying to say. If one reason (say, Down’s syndrome) is good enough, they all are. Also, I have no reason to believe that abortions in the US are skewed towards girls.

The beliefs that cause female abortions/infanticides are cultural and religious, and while throwing away gods- however misogynistic they may be (RF) -has a personal appeal; it is hardly a viable solution. And, what will fill the vacuum left behind? Economic independence might help put a distance between religious beliefs and practices, but as Noon says, the mindset seems to be independent of class. They may not practice infanticide, but yes, the bias is there. Noon, may be fifty years ago, girls in US were encouraged to be good wives and mothers, but not so anymore. There certainly wasn’t any female infanticide even when women rarely sought a life beyond their homes.

This is obviously not an easy issue. Which is precisely the reason we haven’t arrived at a solution yet. As Vidhur says, we all must do what we can. My mother and aunt both taught their maid’s kids, paid for their school, books, clothes. Battled the old crones in maids’ households and encouraged the daughters to get a job and not get married at 13. My mom and aunt let these people peep into our lives and helped them be what we were.

5 comments:

noon said...

Dotmom - hope you are feeling better now? Strep throat is a total pain!
Nice summary. Well in the US women may not be taught to be good mothers/wives in the same direct way they were told 50 years back - but there are subtle expectations of women even now - even now in a large proportion of families the bride's family bears the expenses for a wedding, even today women are still not on par in earning power with men, female faculty members have a much harder time than males in getting tenure track positions let alone tenure, women are treated as sex symbols in most of the marketing campaigns, ads almost always potray women doing domestic chores...and my oft mentioned point - stay at home moms are accepted but not SAHD's even in this country - women are certainly expected to play "womanly" roles. May not be female infanticide but that a woman is one below is very much there - esp in very conservative pockets of the US.
This is not meant in any way to insinuate that your mother/aunt are that way - but there are many educated high soceity women who will do all of that - educate girls/pay for the maid's children's education etc but would very much desire a grandson - they will love and dote on the grand daughter just as much - but they would definitely want one grandson "to carry on the line".

DotMom said...

Noon: Thanks. I have't been this ill in 10+ years. I agree with the sad fact that many women who do charity work definately want a grandson to carry on the line. About status os women in the US, that deserves a post of its own. I think in the States atleast the pendulum has swung the other way..

The Rational Fool said...

dotmom,

Where did I say that "one form of abortion is less heinous than another"? My position is that abortion, any form of abortion, ought to be the woman's choice, and hers alone. And, that implies that she cannot be "forced" to have an abortion.

DotMom said...

RF,
My bad. It was Usha who raised that point!

Lisa Stone said...

Just found this post -- bravo!