I'm having a very hard time believing this shocking story out of India, where it's becoming a booming industry to give little girls, ages 1 to 5 years old, sex changes. Not choosing male when faced with an intersex child -- actually turning baby girls into baby boys to avoid the high costs of having a daughter in India.
What's so unbelievably difficult to comprehend is that any parent would put their baby girl through intensive surgery to reconstruct male genitalia out of female genitalia, and force hormones into their child in an attempt to create a little boy. A sterile little boy, but a little boy nonetheless. Wouldn't it be smarter to say eff you to the dowry system that can make parents spend up to $100,000 when a daughter marries than to completely screw up and mutilate your daughter?
Clearly something else is going on here as well.
This is a country that has already utilized abortion to stop a baby girl's life before it begins and to try again for a boy. The value of a female life in India (for people who choose this option) is less than nothing. In countries that believe a boy child is the ultimate success for a family, baby girls will always be treated like trash. Again, let me emphasize that not all people from India believe this. But apparently about seven million do, if that is truly how many more boys than girls there are under the age of 6.
You could lower the dowry to $3,200 -- the same cost of the sex change surgery -- and these people would still make that choice. Because they're making an unmarriable person under the strict dowry system that exists. What family who subscribes to this insane notion is going to pay the dowry for their daughter to marry a sterile male that used to be a female? When you're so tied to antiquated, female-harming ideals, you're not marrying your daughter off to that guy. Much better to keep your daughter intact and plead poverty when she wants to get married. No matter the consequences -- which would surely be better than hurting the baby you are supposed to protect.
Selective abortion and forced gender change surgery amount to the same thing. At the least, a lack of concern for the female members of the species. At worst, a deep-seated hatred for that same population. That's what has to change.
What the heck is going on over there?
Image via Tom Coppen/Flickr