Friday, June 30, 2006

I have 2 girls

I was lined up at the Chinese take-out place, waiting for my order to come out when the cashier leaned over and asked if I was pregnant. I answered "yes." She then asked me if it was my first. I told her this was my second. And of course, the follow-up, "boy or girl?" I said that this was going to be another girl. I don't know if it was my imagination, but her face fell. She began busying herself with carefully folding down the foil lip of the take-out tray. She then proceeded to say that it's really going to be okay. That she herself has 2 boys but girls are "better" (her quotes, not mine) The tone of her voice though is apologetic and almost embarrassed. It was like she had inadvertently brought up some previously undiscovered handicap (a third eye or an eleventh finger) and that she was desperately trying to make it better ....for her. She was so clearly uncomfortable and I was there just to watch the spectacle.

The oddity of that event did make me think of my own bias for boys. I come from a family of boys. I have grown up with a subtle message that having boys was better. Family name and all that, I suppose. As far as I have come in my own thinking (or so I thought), when I found out that we were having another girl a couple of days ago I have to admit that I was disappointed. Overtly, I had wanted a boy so that I could have "that" experience. Now I think I had the same knee jerk reaction that the cashier did. Somehow having "too many" girls is something to apologize for. There are still much evidence of this inexcusable attitude of many in the world where girls are considered less than boys. Sudan, India, Congo, etc. And my "innocent" little bias is a remnant of that thought process that sees girls/women as chattel and a drain on resources. There are bigger global issues that I do not have the power to change, but I can change my own thinking. I can raise my daughters so that they will never know this "bias".


jojobear (Joann) said...

Hi. I came across your blog link in CC. I just wanted to say, that is an interesting thought. I guess it really is how we grew up. My grandfather still values only the grand sons. The grand daughters do tons more and care about him...the grand sons only show up when they want money. It's so bias and backwards. It makes it really frustrating.

By the way, your dd is really cute.

Joane said...

I appreciate your honesty about wanting a boy. I have a boy now and there is a part of me that want another boy so that they can play togehter and have the same interests . . . playing with cars etc. I keep thinking that I only want to go through another pregnancy because I want my first child to have siblings . . . someone to share and play with. Then there is a realistic part of me that want a girl because girls come home to the parents to visit and help out even when they are older and have their own family, without being asked . . . at least that's my experience and according to the older generation. So if I have a boy again, I'll be happy for my first boy and my husband's family line. If I have a girl, I'll be happy that a beautiful baby girl will enter my life. Afterall, I am a woman and I made my parents proud and happy.