Monday, June 20, 2011

In defense of daughters

I like boys. I love my husband, my father, my tousled golden-haired nephew. But I must confess that when I found out I was expecting a girl, I was thrilled. A daughter was my secret wish. And when I found out I was pregnant with a second girl, I was secretly ecstatic again. Two daughters. A sister for Frankie that would share memories and Frost-N-Glow highlighting kits and a creepily identical sense of humor was my dream come true. When I found out I was having a third girl? Though strangers murmured their condolences, I was delighted. I'd have three girls to tease me about my idiosyncrasies, steer me away from frumpy fashion choices, and pluck my chin hairs in my dotage.

They say that sons love their mothers. But when my grandmother was elderly, it wasn't her sons who were washing her hair and setting the foam rollers. It was her daughter and her daughter-in-law, my mother. When Dean's grandmother gets her bathroom floor scrubbed, you can bet a daughter is the one on her hands and knees.

When I read this article, reviewing a book which chronicles the consequences of the 163 million female babies who have been aborted since the 1970s by parents seeking sons, my outrage was dampened by pity. There are still countries and people who would wish my daughters away. Those 163 million mothers are not only missing out on the magic and mystery of little girlhood, but are literally making the world a worse place to live: "Today in India, the best predictor of violence and crime for any given area is not income but sex ratio." I once read an article about terrorists, and how one of the best ways to take the edge off a young man's political and religious hysteria was to marry him off (presumably not to sixteen wives, where the edifying influence of a woman is muted by the oppression that puts her in that company in the first place). Women perpetuate faith, bind families, create community.

Where developing countries may bear guilt because of seemingly intractably entrenched cultural beliefs, our country's girls and boys are sacrificed to the more mundane altar of "choice." This is where feminism has arrived. If you defend a woman's right to "choose," you defend a world where baby girls are disposed of by the thousands and not only are babies aborted because they have Down syndrome but, as the article states, they live or die based on whether they are Gemini or a Libra.

I am a different kind of feminist. I'm the kind of feminist that pities men because they won't ever get to experience the wonder of the privilege of creating another human being from the flesh of your flesh. I'm the kind who had a father who told me I was a prize to be won and broke up with boys because I was sure I was smarter.I'm the daughter of a Heavenly Father who didn't condone the systematic elimination of a developing world's girls; He chose to be born by one.

Abortion is morally abhorrent. And here are three reasons why:


susanswenton said...

proud of you.

Molly said...


rhenry said...

as the baby of 4 girls in a family...amen.
as the mother of a baby that others would dispose of...double amen.

Molly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carley (and Ed!) said...

Love it.