Lost Girls & Lost Boys
One thing I love about Netflix is the ability to watch a lot of cable TV on the internet. I don’t have cable TV, mostly because I think it’s a waste of money, but sometimes I do miss something good like documentaries or biographies, shows on A&E or Bravo, better TV series like Rome, The Tudors, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, stuff like that.
A couple weeks ago when I was searching the TV on Netflix I found a National Geographic special hosted by Lisa Ling about the serious problem of baby girls being abandoned in China. Maybe you’ve noticed, like me, the number of American families who have adopted babies from China in recent years. Meg Ryan is a good case in point. She adopted a baby girl that she named Daisy True four years ago.
The reason so many Americans are adopting from China is because of the Chinese government’s one child policy and the Chinese culture’s preference for boys. China’s orphanages are literally filled to the brim with adorable babies, nearly all of which are perfect but for one fatal flaw: they are girls.
A lot of mothers who have female children abandon them. This is because in China, especially in rural areas, female children are seen as a burden. Women who conceive or bear female children are encouraged to abort or abandon them in order to continue trying for a boy who it is believed will be better able to contribute to the family financially and will be able to carry on the family name. The women are frequently blamed by their husbands for their failure to produce a male heir, even though science has known for decades that it’s the man’s sperm that determines the sex of a child.
The Chinese government imposes fines on those families that wish to have more than one child, making it virtually impossible for many families to even contemplate keeping a female child and trying for a boy the second time around. So, for families that wish for a boy, getting rid of a girl child is sometimes their only affordable option, even if they might otherwise want to keep the child.
This preference for boys is already causing a real problem in China, and it’s only going to get worse. Schools are filled with small children who are mostly male. The male to female ratio in China in the year 2000 was 120 males for every 100 females, and it’s just getting worse.
This issue will culminate in many adult males in China having no hopes for a mate and no hope of having any children of their own, male or female. Worse, this gender imbalance is already creating a market for kidnappers, for sexual slavery, and for sexual violence perpetrated against women by men who feel frustrated by their inability to secure a mate. The shortage, instead of creating a culture that thereby values its rare commodity, is instead making things even tougher for Chinese women.
Girls aren’t the only sex that’s lost due to gender issues. Boys, too, can be the victims of brutal behavior. Just ask the hundreds or thousands of young men who have been shunned from The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Birth rates of men and women are roughly equal in the United States. In polygamous societies, such as that seen in the FLDS, because men are expected to marry multiple wives this leaves a surplus of available (usually young) men and a shortage of marriageable young women. Women are married off usually to much older men who are already financially established, with families of sister wives. Young men, who are competition for the affections of the coveted young women, are often pressured to leave by older men in the sect. In a culture that believes that each man should have no fewer than three wives, these results are inevitable.
Sometimes these boys are pressured to leave by their own family members: fathers and uncles and cousins who vie for the affections of much younger women, and, in order to secure these women to them, shun their own kin. Boys are kicked out for such seemingly innocent offenses as watching inappropriate movies or television programs. The truth is that the established patriarchy of the culture looks for reasons to get rid of the competition.
I look forward to a world in which men and women are each valued equally for their unique individual gifts, talents and abilities. I want a future where men and women truly have equal opportunities, where we can live in cooperation and collaboration with one another, in public and in private. I want a world where there are no more lost boys or lost girls. I hope that there are other people out there who feel exactly like me. If you’re one of those people, please feel free to comment here.
Entry filed under: Child Abuse, Children, Ethics, Human Rights, Marriage, Men, Sexual Abuse & Assault, Social Commentary, Violence, Women's Rights. Tags: Boardwalk Empire, China, Culture of China, Lisa Ling, Men, People, United States, Women in the People's Republic of China.