Boy over girl? Or am I imagining things?

First published in Columnists by

Gender discrimination when observed in conjunction within our culture would ordinarily be associated with rural areas in India and Pakistan.

However, it is outrageous to learn that even in 2011 within our own geographic spectrum, the attitude still prevails where male births are preferred over females.

Where the births of females are left unannounced in the social circle.

Where the birth of a boy warrants jubilation and gifts in the form of gold (with a pat on the back claiming that the mother of this prized specimen has been rewarded for her noble actions), whereas the birth of a daughter results in silver being given as a consolatory gift with a ‘Never mind, we don’t know what God has in His mind, but maybe next time’ mumbled under disgruntled breaths.

Even though as women we have progressed and have been educated, unfortunately this discernment does affect the new mother adversely, not because she concedes to this archaic ideology, but more so because she is left feeling dismayed at the prospect of her daughter not being loved or adored as much as a son would have been.

Allow me to present an example, which I profoundly wish were a fictional one. A friend, desolately pregnant with her third child after two girls, adamant that she was only able to produce girls (what divine intervention interjected that thought into her mind is still left to be discovered) set about several attempts to miscarry the foetus naturally.

Fortunately for her each attempt was rendered useless, and 8 moths later she produced a healthy boy. He successively become the pride and joy of her extended family and as a result has restored her status as a worthy entity. The child I fear, however, may evolve into a monstrous prodigal son for being placed on a preposterous pedestal.

Irrespective of the nature of their sons, families can be seen to take pride in the fact they have produced male heirs.

Their characters may be questionable, their philandering may be prominent, yet regrettably their existence as male forms extends to their parents a certain level of false worthiness and mistaken pride.

A feudal approach that we wish would remain buried in the dark ages along with those that adhere to them. Unashamed and inequitable hypocrisy from those who impose their sanctimonious ideologies upon their peers and announce zealously their religious fervour.

Without having to school myself to be a scholar in any religion, I can declare steadfastly that this denotation of gender superiority contravenes any religious doctrine in existence. Yes, we have progressed from the ignorant days of female infanticide, and we may advocate an egalitarian belief when regarding social development. However, this degenerate mentality pertains to capture gender discrimination in its most basic and despicable form, where a females role from birth is one of subordination in the patriarchal family structure.

An arbitrary controversy which contravenes the progress we so wish would transcend our social continuum.

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