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".