Turning Indian Girls Into Boys
Posted by BroadBlogs
Indian parents are paying to have their daughters turned into sons through sex-change operations that cost about 145,000 rupees ($3,200). Up to 300 girls have been surgically turned into boys in one city.
The procedure involves fashioning a penis from the little girls’ female organs. Afterwards they are injected with male hormones, which they will need to take throughout their lives. The procedure will leave these children impotent and infertile in adulthood. No sons or daughters for them.
The Madhya Pradesh government is investigating.
By nature, 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. But in India the rate is 112 males per 100 females. The country now has seven million more boys than girls under age six.
As it is, dowry is so expensive – perhaps as much as a car or a house – that families feel they cannot afford daughters. Surgery is cheaper.
None of this bodes well for Indian society. Men will not be able to have wives or children. Sex trafficking will continue to rise, and women will be sold into marriage, turning the female of our species increasingly into property.
Such is the curse on cultures that so value males over females.
Unfortunately, education has not increased the value of women and girls. Ranjana Kumari, of the Centre for Social Research, and a fervent activist against sex-selective abortion, told The Telegraph:
The figures are getting worse. In 2001 there were 886 girls born to every 1,000 boys in Delhi. Today there are only 866. The more educated and rich you are, the more there is killing of girls.
In the U.S. conservative columnists have begun blaming abortion for skewed sex ratios.
Really? Without abortion, parents may still try the sex-change thing. Or they may abandon or kill daughters after they are born, or they may fail to give daughters food or medical attention, as they have done for centuries. Or they may still try to abort, as they currently do, despite its illegality in India.
The core problem isn’t abortion or ultrasound or sex-changes or neglecting, abandoning, or killing daughters.
The core problem is that males are valued over females, world-wide, to all of our detriment. As a New York Times reader named George put it:
If men do not appreciate and value women as they should, they will find themselves rendered similarly impotent and lost, the inheritors of their misguided social practices.
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About BroadBlogsI have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.
Posted on July 1, 2011, in feminism, gender, sexism, women and tagged abortion, culture, feminism, gender, human rights, India, psychology, reproductive rights, sex ratio, sex-selective abortion, sexism, social psychology, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Wow! It’s crazy to hear that parents are willing to take their preference for sons over daughters to that degree! Does this procedure just change the anatomy or also the face? If it also changes the face, which I assume is what the parents are hoping for, I can’t imagine how ugly the “girl” must look after she’s turned into a “boy”? It must be so weird to have an artificial penis and then either look like a woman, or look somewhere in between a man and woman when the child grows up. No matter how hard they try, the girl will not be able to look 100% like a normal man.
The interesting thing is that they don’t commit Female Infanticide which is more common (than this surgery) in places like India because they probably don’t feel it’s moral. YET, they don’t mind doing these painful, life-altering surgeries to their child which will essentially make her retarded and an abnormal person. So that’s moral?
The core problem here again is women not being valued as equal human beings. The sexism exists in our society as well, just not to such a degree.
I’m pretty sure they give them hormones, too, which will make them look more masculine. I have had a few transgenedered female-to-male students and hadn’t realized it until they told me (sometimes you can tell, sometimes not), so it actually might work.
Pretty sad that females are so devalued that parents do this to their children, leaving them no choice.