Some Things Never Change

June 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm 8 comments

A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek.

Image via Wikipedia

A recent Gallup poll surveyed Americans about their preference in the sex of their children. Just as in 1941, Americans prefer boys.  Perhaps the only change since 1941 is that it’s the men who are causing our preferences. Women basically have no statistically significant preference either way. They are split pretty evenly with about a third preferring a girl, a third preferring a boy, and another third having no preference whatsoever.

Men want boys. Just why is that? Is it because they hate girls? I like to think not, but you have to wonder with nearly 50% of American men having a clear preference for boys. Maybe they just wish the best life for their children and prefer to have boys so that their children will have more opportunities and have a better chance for a happier life. That argument makes sense. Men still make more money, hold more positions of power, and do far less work around the house. It’s pretty cool to be a man, or a husband, at least.

Maybe they just think boys are easier to raise. You don’t have to worry as much about them being molested or raped or getting pregnant. No Doubt’s “Just A Girl” perfectly illustrates the difference between growing up a daughter versus growing up a son in America. Boys cause trouble; they don’t get into it. Or at least, that’s the prevailing myth.

I was on a manosphere website once where one of the participants commented that women were using abortion in order to practice sex selection as a form of gender genocide. I kid you not. However, this article sounds like, if anything, the opposite is happening. Couples are using technology to ensure the selection of boys. If this is a significant trend, it will have disastrous consequences in years to come.

There is another possibility besides plain old misogyny or wanting a better life for your child…there is the possibility that American men prefer boys because they will carry on the family name. Maybe their reason for wanting to procreate is to perpetuate the family name, carry on the family line.

This brings me to another example of sexism in our culture. Women get married and take on their husband’s names. They willingly do so. But why is it that no one ever asks why the family name has to be the husband’s name? I wonder how many men would still prefer boys if their sons didn’t carry their names but their daughters did.

Follow me here. What if two people get married and instead of the wife taking the husband’s name and the kids taking the husband’s name we did something different? What if a man named Smith marries a woman named Johnson. They become the Smith-Johnson family. Any female children get the last name Smith. Any male children get the last name Johnson. Maybe they go by Smith-Johnson until they strike out on their own or until they get married when the boys drop the Smith, and the girls drop the Johnson to include a spouse’s name.

It’s much more equitable. I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime, anymore than I would expect to see the Equal Rights Amendment passed. The fact is that women have shot themselves in the foot. Right now we’re a little over half the population of America. If we wanted to mobilize and get to the polls and vote we could have passed that law a long time ago, or any other law you care to name. We could have formed our very own political party. But we traded all that for the dangling carrot of a princess wedding and a diamond ring.


Entry filed under: Children, Family Planning, Human Rights, Marriage, Men, Social Commentary, Women's Rights. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Craig Bennett  |  June 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I’m the father of 2 boys. We decided not to know the gender during the 9 months and be surprised. I would have liked to have a daughter – but its not to be.
    Interesting that you say nearly 50% of fathers said they wanted sons – does this mean nearly 50% say they want daughters?

    On this same topic – I read this article this morning which really made me swear.

    • 2. Author  |  June 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm

      22% said they preferred a girl, and 28% had no preference.

      • 3. Princess Celestia  |  June 29, 2011 at 7:53 pm

        Well, going by that, it means that 33% of women wanted girls, vs 22% of men. While a significant difference, I also thinks it’s simply the fact that most every man admits he doesn’t understand women, and it would be harder for him to relate to a little girl. Whereas women have an easier time on both ends. At least when it comes to children. There’s also, like you said, all those protective instincts that kick in when they have a girl. As my step-father used to say ‘I was a young boy once, I know what they want’. So they automatically have to worry about their little girl getting hurt every time they go out, vs a boy who would be better able to defend himself from unwanted attentions. Of course, this could be solved by us as a society, if we stopped telling girls to be passive and put our daughters into martial arts classes just as often as we put our sons. I think there are alot of factors that go into this, both good and bad.

  • 4. Dalrock Reader  |  July 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    The reason women take their husband’s name is the same reason they have their father’s name before marriage, and the same reason the father of the bride walks his daughter down the aisle, and gives her to the groom.

    The last name is the family name, and the woman leaves the guardianship of one family (her father’s) to enter another family (her husband’s).

    Of course, in the West, traditional weddings are pretty much a joke now, with divorce and single-parenthood as prevalent as they are, so the ritual of marriage is essentially meaningless. The father of the bride, assuming he is present at the wedding at all, has no right of guardianship to give, and the groom assumes no more rights after the wedding than before it. The vows are clearly a joke, as is the white dress. The priest, with authority vested by God, declares them man and wife, to two people who often don’t believe in God at all.

    But people get married nonetheless. Perhaps because they like higher tax brackets, but mostly because they still feel a ghostly nostalgia for tradition. And part of that tradition is to take the husband’s name. Because when substance is dead, mere symbolism must suffice.

    • 5. Author  |  July 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      That’s a very patriarchal world view. I still think marriage is important. The idea of marriage is to make a commitment to a life partner. The traditions of an engagement ring (symbolizing a man’s purchase of his wife or his ability to provide financially for said wife), the name change (also implying male ownership), and a white dress (symbolizing the double standard of required chastity for women and no such requirement for men) — these ideas I’m less in love with.

      I love the idea of two people joining in marriage who have each been with only the other sexually. There’s nothing symbolizing this requirement for the man. If an engagement ring is important, why not make the man wear one as well. Each partner symbolizes his and her commitment by each wearing a ring. And two people join together to form a family of their very own, with equal partnership on both sides. That sounds pretty great to me.

      The important thing about marriage, in my opinion, is to make a public commitment before God, family, and friends — as well as a legal commitment — to faithfully love one another ’til death do you part. The rest is negotiable.

      • 6. Dalrock Reader  |  July 18, 2011 at 9:51 pm

        “The important thing about marriage, in my opinion, is to make a public commitment before God, family, and friends — as well as a legal commitment — to faithfully love one another ’til death do you part.”

        So, you’re not a fan of no-fault divorce then? And you’re willing to back that up with force of law?

      • 7. Author  |  July 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm

        I have mixed feelings about divorce, because I think it’s sort of like a necessary evil. So, in a way, I feel a lot of the same feelings about divorce as I do about abortion. I think we should probably make it tougher to obtain a divorce than it currently is. I don’t think that’s just me wanting to push my religion on other people. I definitely don’t believe in turning America into a theocracy. Marriage should be an important commitment, one that is not easily torn assunder, regardless of whether or not you believe in God.

        Part of me wants to say that I don’t favor no-fault divorce, because I think that things like spousal abuse and child abuse and substance abuse and adultery should definitely be factored into the equation. However, I like the idea of equity in a divorce, in that I think it’s fair for marital assets to be split down the middle — as well as child custody, assuming both are fit parents. Why do we assume as a society that mothers want 24/7 access to their children while fathers only want to see their kids every other weekend? Or that kids want it that way? Standard custody agreements in the United States are hideously sexist, notoriously biased for the women. Child support should be based on custody and the salaries of both parents. So, if both parents get equal time and make equal pay, it’s conceivable that neither parent pays child support. I’m not generally in favor of alimony, although I think there are certain instances where it could be applied temporarily. Lifetime alimony is malarkey. Give a woman or man enough time and money to obtain some job training and get back or out into the workforce. That’s all that should be required.

      • 8. Dalrock Reader  |  July 18, 2011 at 11:50 pm

        Fair enough. I disagree with feminism ideologically, but at least you’re a consistent feminist, which makes conversation a lot easier.

        So, equal standing in marriage, equal standing in divorce – hmm, I guess that’s a better deal for men than when men have now.

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