Thursday, June 11

The Dangers of Knowing: Boy or Girl?

This article came through my inbox this morning, and I have to blog about it - there are so many things wrong with it, I don't even know where to begin.

The article talks about an at-home test you can take to determine whether your soon-to-be baby is a boy or a girl. First, I have a huge problem with the gender binary. What if your child doesn't identify as a boy or a girl once they have some time to think about it? What then?

Mostly, however, it unimpresses me greatly that people still want to know the sex of their child before it is born. What difference can it possibly make? The article mentions, TWICE, the need to know "pink or blue" (presumably referring to the child's clothing, room decor, etc.). Really? Really? I personally find our need to assign gender-specific colours to our babies incredibly weird. What would happen if you put your daughter in a blue nursery? Would she be damaged beyond repair?

From the article:

Manufacturer IntelliGender advertises the Boy or Girl Gender Prediction Test as “a fun way to discover more about your baby and share the news of pink or blue as early as possible.”

Besides the offensive "pink or blue" notion, there is the idea that the news of the baby's sex needs to be shared "as early as possible". Who cares? When someone tells you the news that they're having a boy, you would be excited for them, yes? Wouldn't you have the exact same reaction if it was a girl? So why on earth does it matter - wouldn't you rather know that the baby is healthy?

The other issue the article brings up is sex-selective abortion. Which, while appalling, has got to be better than sex-selective infantacide, yes? Wouldn't we rather that people disposed to this kind of behaviour found out the baby's sex as early as possible? It's a gruesome thought, I know. But what really bothers me about articles like this, and 99% of articles on sex-selective abortion, is that they refuse to acknowledge that the actual act of sex selection (whether through abortion, infantacide or neglect) is only a symptom of the problem. It cannot be stopped by outlawing abortion (or requiring a reason fitting with the doctor's standards). The root of the problem is quite obviously the cultural attitude towards women. If men and women are not equal, and especially if it is to a family's economic benefit to only have boy children, of course the problem will exist. It has little, if anything, to do with the availability of tests like this (and other sex-determining medical tests) or abortion and everything to do with the need/desire to do away with girls in the first place.


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