I don’t consider myself a radical feminist; however my inner activist was thoroughly awakened after watching one of the most despicable documentaries of the decade. ‘It’s a Girl’ tells a shrilling story about the holocaust of baby girls; how as many as 200 MILLION girls are missing because of ‘gendercide’, something we collectively feel should be renamed ‘femecide’, considering a majority of the killings are of the female sex. The astonishing fact is that the United Nations estimates that countries such as India and China eliminate more girls in a year than the amount born in the U.S. These countries have an ingrained, century-old belief system that the birth of a girl is a burden on the family, a financial strain, a disappointment and a ‘thief’, as many Hindu proverbs describe. The pressure to give birth to a son has driven many women to commit murder, otherwise known as female feticide, infanticide, forced sex-selective abortions, dowry murders and sterilization both in India and China, where the One Child Policy of birth control remains.
The first woman they interviewed was a lower class Indian woman who had admitted to killing 8 of her babies…because they were born girls. She felt no shame, no guilt, or remorse for killing her own offspring in cold blood because she felt the stress, pain and poverty she and her family would experience by having a daughter would be far greater and hence not worth keeping them alive. The desperation and oppression experienced by this woman brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes she strangled her infants, sometimes suffocated, other times poisoned. I was gobsmacked at how a mother could be driven to kill her own daughter, however with the seriousness of dowry-related violence, financial pressure and society conditioning; I started to comprehend their desperation. If I really thought about it, it’s essentially an act out of greed and survival instinct since a common mindset stands that a daughter brings poverty, a son brings wealth. Just like Japanese whaling, Rhino ivory hunting or African female circumcision, a cultural re-education facilitation needs to be implemented to help reset the mindset of the country and their people…and this isn’t going to happen overnight.
For the wealthier class families, they would often get sex determinations tests to find out the sex of the babies before they carried out the pregnancy, and if girls, get them aborted straight away – rather than carrying them for 9 months then killing them once they’re born. Though illegal, this is thought to be a far ‘cleaner’ way of disposing of the unwanted baby girl. In China, due to the One Child policy, there is evidence of sex selective abortion, neglect, abandonment and infanticide of infant females. In the aim to achieve zero population growth, this has lead to the sex ratio in China becoming more imbalanced than the global average – there are about 113 boys to every 100 girls in China (the global average is currently about 107 boys to every 100 girls).
The whole concept is riddled with immorality, depravity and dissolution, but this is the reality and there needs to be more awareness. After the film, I turned to my friend (and Tigeress Yoga instructor) next to me and expressed to her how thankful and blessed I feel to be alive and be born a woman, especially in a country like Australia where gender equality is embraced, and a place where I can have my say and even attempt to help change this monstrosity that is happening in the East. She felt the same, especially since she teachers women how to become more authentically, sexually and sensually empowered and nourished in their mind, body and soul through her yoga classes. What an ironic reality check!
The fact that girls who survive infancy, usually end up abandoned, trafficked, suffering dowry-related violence, domestic abuse from early marriage and even death at the hands of their own husbands or family members, disgusts me. We live in the 21st century – this should not be happening. So what can we do to help? Well we can spread the word and make other people aware of what’s going on. We can donate at www.itsagirlmovie.com/action or we can collectively come together to save our sisters.
Ask yourself what the core of this issue is… Is this a matter of redefining cultural norms? Who’s responsibility is this? Is it the Government and law makers obligation to stop sweeping it under the rug and bring it to the forefront? Do we need more programs? More orphanages for abandoned daughters? Support for pregnant women who are pregnant with girls and mothers at risk of forced abortion? Education to hospitals and doctors? Or is this about contraception education? It shouldn’t matter whether you are boy or girl, have a penis or a vagina, life is a blessing…and we all deserve a chance at life, even though we can’t protest when we are a blind, mute and deaf fetus in a mama’s belly. That’s our responsibility.
Rant over. Keen to hear your comments and opinions! Rant away… xx