First came the couple keeping the sex of their baby a secret, and now there’s the preschool that’s banning the use of the words “him” and “her.”
But on the opposite end of the spectrum are people who have few qualms about wanting one gender over the other, like, a lot. Count me in this camp (sort of), particularly since I wrote the other day about why I’m happy to have given birth to one daughter with another on the way. But if I did happen to gave birth to a son, I have no doubt I would love him to bits, too. My preference for girls is not much more than skin deep, as I couldn’t in good conscience have a preference that’s seriously stronger for anything other than a healthy baby.
The same can’t be said for some parents in India. Some young girls — as many as 300 — in the city of Indore have allegedly been surgically changed from girls to boys. The genitoplasty surgery, which runs a little over $3,000, has been performed on girls as young as 1 year old.
The state government in Madhya Pradesh is investigating the claims. The surgery involves doctors creating a male penis from the female sex organs. At the end, the girls are injected with male hormones.
The idea behind the surgery, apparently, is that sons improve a family’s prospects.
India is no stranger to gender bias. Aborting a girl fetus isn’t unusual for cultural reasons, particularly since a daughter’s family is responsible for paying for an elaborate wedding and pricey dowry. But you know something’s seriously off when there are 7 million more boys under the age of six than girls in the country.
While I recognize that culture often dictates things like gender preference, I think it’s beyond reprehensible to subject babies to something this serious because of financial reasons or social status. The poor baby girls undergoing these surgeries face a lifetime of problems as a result — physically, hormonally, psychologically and emotionally. It seems beyond warped to me that anyone choosing to have a child ultimately wouldn’t just love and care for whichever flavor comes their way.
If your preference for a boy over a girl is that strong, perhaps you need to rethink the decision to have children at all.
Is there a more extreme example of gender preference than medically unnecessary sex change surgery for babies?