The girl child issue

Case 1
Many couple claim that they like girl child. They might have a boy child already. Or they say they love to dress up their child, but do not have the opportunity since they have boy child.

Case 2
Many couple claim that they like girl child. This may be their first child yet to be born. I often wonder whether they want to show off as if they are “forward” minded or are they afraid of being judged, or is really true they like girl child?

Case 3
Many fathers, mothers and father-to-be-s claim that they like girl child (including Balan and my brother (my SIL is pregnant) ). Ask them the reason. They say that they can bring up their child all daring and what not. Ask them why and how they could not tolerate a girl who was/is daring and what not, now? They do, apparently. Ask them further or observe them further. They are proud that that cannot cook. they are proud that their wives are dumbs. Balan can be excluded from the cooking bit and wife being dumb bit. No, I am not trying to flatter myself. See the next case which is about Balan.

Case 4
Many father-to-be-s claim that they like girl child (including Balan and my brother). Ask them why. They will say that they want to show the world what women can do by raising their daughter smart and intelligent. Ask them is she going to be their experimental project? You can see a blank face. – totally Balan and my brother.

Case 5
Most of my real life acquaintances (around where I live currently) could not say any happy word without a little pause, when we said it is a girl. Time to reconsider my social circle.

Case 6
Some of my family members are “disappointed” that it is a girl. Understood that they are from different generation and do not have any exposure to the outside world other than their village. So?

Case 7
What is wrong in liking a boy child? I did (read it before jumping to conclusion). Although after getting used to the idea of having daughter, I cannot imagine what to do with a boy child anymore as it sounds so alien concept now, but in theory, what is wrong in liking a boy child? What did they do wrong? Are you afraid of being judged? Don’t say things that you do not mean just for the sake of the society. Don’t feel relieved (edited to clarify 🙂 ) while you are claiming that you liked a girl child, when you know it is not a girl about which you are pleased internally. Whom are you cheating? (this is about some pretentious people I happen to come across. Does not apply to everyone.)

Case 8 (by Boo)
Hailing from a 2 daughter household, has no exposure to bringing up little boys and even scared a bit about bringing up a boy who will be a MAN one day but being a daughter herself and having had wonderful parents, she knows whats in store and actually thinks she can enjoy a daughter more than a son. As for the father, he has seen his wives relationship with her parents and compares his own relationship with his parents and thinks a loving daughter(like me!) would be better than a selfish son(like himself!). Does it even make sense?

Case 9 (by Kowsalya)
1. I am the sixth daughter and when I asked my mother why she had so many children her reply was always – she wanted atleast one boy
2. When I was pregnant, my mother in law constantly told that she wanted a grandson otherwise their lineage will not continue and since I was not in very good terms with her then, I prayed it should be a girl so that their lineage did not continue ;).
3. In all my close circle I find that the male ego dominates even when the child is six or 7 years like why should I do this work, Father doesn’t do it, so why I being a boy should do that etc etc..

So I wanted only a girl child for I cannot tolerate my son having such prejudices or if it was a boy, I WILL bring him up in such a way that he would respect girls and would not have any prejudices. Also, I agree with Boo, I think I am doing a fairly good job as a mother only because it is a girl child as I can empathise better.

About Sankar, I don’t think I even asked what was his preference ;) But when I used to tell him I want only a GIRL, he would say Whatever be the gender we should inculcate good values into that human being. He is more matured, you see )

Case 10 (by Ammani)
I wanted a girl and so did the husband. Don’t know why. Or can’t remember why. And when our son was born, I was mildly disappointed. But as the months progressed (and it kills me to say this), I’m so glad that he’s a boy. Growing up in India, I had a tough time. And always felt like a misfit, a sore thumb. I wouldn’t have wanted my daughter to go through what I went though as an Indian girl/woman.

Edited to add:
Following link is relevant to some of the issues discussed in the comment section.
Are men really from mars and Women from Venus? by UTBT. One thing that really lurks in the back of my head all the time is that, I may not mind bringing up a girl child with boyish attitudes and habits, but would I do the reverse? Nope. I wouldn’t. I would certainly discourage a boy from wearing make up. Thanks UTBT. So much to think about. Thank god it is not a boy, that I have one less thing to break my head over.

Another related link from UTBT.

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24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. B o o.
    Nov 05, 2007 @ 17:38:19

    Case 8:
    Hailing from a 2 daughter household, has no exposure to bringing up little boys and even scared a bit about bringing up a boy who will be a MAN one day but being a daughter herself and having had wonderful parents, she knows whats in store and actually thinks she can enjoy a daughter more than a son. As for the father, he has seen his wifes relationship with her parents and compares his own relationship with his parents and thinks a loving daughter(like me!) would be better than a selfish son(like himself!)

    Does it even make sense?

    BTW, lot of my friends and cousins genuinely wanted girls and are truly happy when they had baby girls. I also know a lot of women who broke down when they had a second boy but moms with 2 girls are nt that gutted. Changing trend, may be?

    Reply

  2. Premalatha
    Nov 05, 2007 @ 18:21:09

    Boo,
    //Changing trend, may be?//
    I am yet to witness myself, but since you say, it is good to know that there is a changing trend. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Premalatha
    Nov 05, 2007 @ 18:27:08

    Boo, I see your point that //she can enjoy a daughter more than a son.//, also your HD’s. My brother says the same thing (though I am not the loving one, and he is not the selfish one). I also do not actually have a clue what to do with a boy other than “hassle-free”. LOL.

    Reply

  4. Premalatha
    Nov 05, 2007 @ 18:34:26

    I posted my second reply after realising that I didn’t acknowledge your point/sentiments for liking a girl child, but made that part not very significant by going on and on about me blah blah…

    Hence the third reply.

    I can see there are some genuine parents like you and HD. But most of them around me are not. Hence the rant. I totally understand what you are saying. Bless you all.

    Reply

  5. Vidya
    Nov 05, 2007 @ 21:37:52

    No child is hassle free. Not that I have a kid to say that. I have seen and still see the amount of time and energy my friends have put in and are putting in their kids. Personally, I might enjoy bringing up a boy kid more than a girl kid for the simple reason, I have seen my brother growing and enjoyed him when he as kid with all the differnt stories that he always had for me. I still am his best friend, his counsellor and both his elder and younger sister clubbed in one, if you know what I mean.

    I might enjoy a girl kid too, but may end up bringing her with too less feminity for I belive I am more of a tomboy myself, with due respects to my whole family who have this idea that all kids are equal and they should be strong to handle the world. I might know certain things inside the house like cooking — thanks to my granny, but my dad and my bro knows too, may not be up to my extent — but my mom never knew cooking as much as I do.

    I some how think, you should be more worried, of the kid as a human and treat the kid as a human being primarily and then bring in the gender. Gender is important, but it is not everything.

    my 2 cents 🙂

    Reply

  6. Kowsalya
    Nov 06, 2007 @ 06:45:04

    My reasons for wanting a girl child

    1. I am the sixth daughter and when I asked my mother why she had so many children her reply was always – she wanted atleast one boy
    2. When I was pregnant, my mother in law constantly told that she wanted a grandson otherwise their lineage will not continue and since I was not in very good terms with her then, I prayed it should be a girl so that their lineage did not continue ;).
    3. In all my close circle I find that the male ego dominates even when the child is six or 7 years like why should I do this work, Father doesn’t do it, so why I being a boy should do that etc etc..

    So I wanted only a girl child for I cannot tolerate my son having such prejudices or if it was a boy, I WILL bring him up in such a way that he would respect girls and would not have any prejudices. Also, I agree with Boo, I think I am doing a fairly good job as a mother only because it is a girl child as I can empathise better.

    About Sankar, I don’t think I even asked what was his preference 😉 But when I used to tell him I want only a GIRL, he would say Whatever be the gender we should inculcate good values into that human being. He is more matured, you see 🙂

    Reply

  7. ammani
    Nov 06, 2007 @ 11:12:34

    I wanted a girl and so did the husband. Don’t know why. Or can’t remember why. And when our son was born, I was mildly disappointed. But as the months progressed (and it kills me to say this), I’m so glad that he’s a boy. Growing up in India, I had a tough time. And always felt like a misfit, a sore thumb. I wouldn’t have wanted my daughter to go through what I went though as an Indian girl/woman.

    Reply

  8. Premalatha
    Nov 06, 2007 @ 13:04:05

    Hi Vidya,
    //No child is hassle free.//

    I should not have said hassle-free but, less-hassle. IMO, raising a girl child is complicated than raising a boy. I am not talking about early days here.

    //Not that I have a kid to say that.//

    I haven’t got one yet either. 🙂

    //I have seen and still see the amount of time and energy my friends have put in and are putting in their kids.//

    That is about early days which is same or at least similar for all kids.

    //Personally, I might enjoy bringing up a boy kid more than a girl kid for the simple reason, I have seen my brother growing and enjoyed him when he as kid with all the differnt stories that he always had for me.//

    Same here.

    //I still am his best friend, his counsellor and both his elder and younger sister clubbed in one, if you know what I mean.

    I might enjoy a girl kid too, but may end up bringing her with too less feminity for I belive I am more of a tomboy myself,//

    Same here.

    //with due respects to my whole family who have this idea that all kids are equal and they should be strong to handle the world.//

    my family believed and still believe that girls are lesser than boys, but that is what made me who I am today. But I am not saying that is the right thing to do. I do not want my daughter to know there exists a difference, but, I do not think she is going to escape from it totally. That is what scares me. A must see movie I would recommend to know the ultimate gender discrimination. There are no cultural boundaries when it comes to gender discrimination.

    //I some how think, you should be more worried, of the kid as a human and treat the kid as a human being primarily and then bring in the gender. Gender is important, but it is not everything. //

    I personally believe gender shows it symptoms from very early age and I should be prepared for it. I do not know what exactly defines a person a human being as I believe many moral values taught in our culture are bullshits.

    Reply

  9. Premalatha
    Nov 06, 2007 @ 13:09:52

    Hi Kowsalya,

    // I prayed it should be a girl so that their lineage did not continue ;).//

    Cheeky. 🙂

    //3. In all my close circle I find that the male ego dominates even when the child is six or 7 years like why should I do this work, Father doesn’t do it, so why I being a boy should do that etc etc..//

    True. I see similar things around me here too.

    //So I wanted only a girl child for I cannot tolerate my son having such prejudices or if it was a boy, I WILL bring him up in such a way that he would respect girls and would not have any prejudices.//

    That was going to be my experimental project if it were a boy. The experiment was for the second time,as I failed miserably with my brother.

    //Also, I agree with Boo, I think I am doing a fairly good job as a mother only because it is a girl child as I can empathise better.//

    I hope I join you two.

    //About Sankar, I don’t think I even asked what was his preference But when I used to tell him I want only a GIRL, he would say Whatever be the gender we should inculcate good values into that human being. He is more matured, you see //
    🙂

    Reply

  10. Premalatha
    Nov 06, 2007 @ 13:18:53

    Hi Ammani,

    //I wanted a girl and so did the husband. Don’t know why. Or can’t remember why. And when our son was born, I was mildly disappointed. But as the months progressed (and it kills me to say this), I’m so glad that he’s a boy. Growing up in India, I had a tough time. And always felt like a misfit, a sore thumb. I wouldn’t have wanted my daughter to go through what I went though as an Indian girl/woman.//

    Thanks for the honest answer first of all. You are brave. My life was a struggle all the time too. That is what I hate about it. Men can get on with their life, whereas we women have to prove, defend, struggle, not to mention the internal psychological struggle we have with ourselves. Then these men ask why women do not show interest in politics and cricket. that pisses me off.
    I do not know whether my daughter will have a better life than mine. In certain aspects mine wasn’t greatly different from my mother’s. that scares me. Hope my daughter is braver than me.

    Reply

  11. Ag
    Nov 06, 2007 @ 15:20:35

    Premalatha
    Thanks for this post. I always hated the people who says” I like girls, I want girls” etc. Being born and raised in southern part of Tamilnadu, I know what girls means and how they treat girls. Whatever education and being in abroad, nothing changed much. Atleast those who live in rural areas are honest. These people are bunch of hypocrites. (I know generalizing is not fair, but I can assure you 90% those people are lying).
    ..Ag

    Reply

  12. Premalatha
    Nov 06, 2007 @ 17:50:38

    Ag, thanks for your comment. I have started wondering about the purpose and content of my post. Your comment put me in peace. thanks.

    Reply

  13. Goutham
    Nov 06, 2007 @ 23:44:02

    I totally empathised reading case 7. My first is a Girl and my second is a boy. The boy is still a toddler while the Girl is older (6 years). I went to visit my friend’s family and it was he who sowed the seeds of guilt in my mind by saying “boy – are you really biased in favor of boys – you never scold him” all my protests of “no – it is just that he is a toddler yet and not because he is a boy” wouldnt convince him and I’m ashamed to say I was a bit self conscious about showing my affection to my son. It was only later that I realized how foolish that was.

    Reply

  14. Premalatha
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 10:57:23

    Hi Goutham,
    //I’m ashamed to say I was a bit self conscious about showing my affection to my son. It was only later that I realized how foolish that was.//

    True. It IS foolish.
    However, as the society can mislead what your daughter thinks of it, you may have to strike a fine balance of not letting your daughter thinking that you are “more” affectionate towards your son because he is a boy. As such the first child always feels threatened when there is a younger second child who gets the preference. As the elder child cannot comprehend the age difference and a new arrival getting the preference over the existing one, it makes it only worse if the elder one is a girl and younger one is a boy and if we are Indians surrounded by Indians hinting the gender difference. As long as your daughter knows your intentions, you are fine.
    Everyone is allowed to have their favourites and preferences.

    Reply

  15. B o o.
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 18:52:07

    Latha – According to me, Parents should NOT have preferences and favorites among their own children. Thats wrong in so many levels! Dont you think so?

    Reply

  16. Premalatha
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 20:12:48

    Boo,

    I was reminded of a line from Meet Joe Black, and I just repeated it without giving much thought into it. Here is the situation from the movie:
    Antony Hopkins has two daughters. He always shows extra love towards his younger one. He is dead and given some bonus days to live by the “death” (similar to Yaman), in exchange of life experience for the “death God” (Yaman).. (So he is still alive). So he tries to put things right in several things… one of them was with his elder daughter who was arranging a big birth day party for him without knowing that he is already dead and is leaving for good on his birthday. He asks her whether she felt neglected. She tells him that “everyone is allowed to have favourites. You certainly deserve to have one”.. (she also says that, “I always felt loved. That is what matters”) Since then that line stuck with me. Still wondering what that really means.

    Though it is nice not to have preferences and favourites, it is practically not possible to wipe off what they feel when they feel. Favouritism comes from several factors. Younger one always gets the favouritism by just being young. The favouritism should not come for wrong reasons such as gender. In some families the eldest one gets the preferential treatment just by being the first.

    Whatever they feel, if they take care that it is not showed to a level that it affects the less favoured one, I think it is still bearable. Certainly not acceptable from the less favoured point of view. Mind you, I was the less favoured one in my family. I still am. mine are worse that they even ill treated me (they will deny it, I know). That is wrong. Parents have to know how to strike balance.

    Even unintentionally, in two children families, either the first one or the second one might get less attention. It does not come from favouritism, but might lead to one, or could be construed of being one, by the less attended kid at least.

    Parents are after all human beings. Sometimes our own head is not in our control. It even thinks what we instruct it not to think just to tease us sometime. It IS nice if parents do NOT have preferences and favourites. but I think it is close to impossible, in practical terms. Some parents admit it to themselves, some don’t. As long as they understand and know to strike the balance to take care that it does not show, it is fine, imo.

    Reply

  17. Anitha
    Nov 07, 2007 @ 23:01:31

    Let me gather my thoughts. In our case, I had preference for a girl, DH was not bothered (he did not bother to have a baby in the first place).
    All the reasons I had, to have a girl were selfish:
    1. I enjoy the company of females than males.

    2. I love the mother – daughter relationship. I can chat with my mother almost about anything, actually sometimes I feel she understands me more than DH in certain aspects. There are lots of unpleasant things you face ONLY because you
    are a woman. And moms & daughters can empathise with each other on those things. Men never understand women in those aspects.

    3. Boo’s point. 90% of the families I have seen, boys as they grow move away from their parents. By bringing up a daughter, I will ensure to some extent that I will have someone (other than DH) showing me love as I grow old.

    4. Girls are beautiful creatures, it will be nice sight having them at home than boys. I love dressing up girls (somehow I don’t do it for myself).

    The only downside I see with girls is, as they grow up, there will be more issues to deal with than boys.

    Now, why I don’t have any regret for having my son Nikki:
    0. I LOVVVVEEEE HIM.

    1. I would be adding one sensible male to this majority population of insensitive males. I can experiment with him to see if all the detestable male characterestics that we see in men are really because of the Y chromosome or because of the gender stereotyping that happens at home & elsewhere. Hoping to bring him up as a sensible, responsible adult(husband & father) who is a asset to his wife & family.

    2. I hope he will give me company in some physical activities that DH is refusing to give me company now.

    3. I will make sure he falls within the 10% category of men who go on to show love to their parents as long as they are.

    4. Dealing with issues of teenage boys will be easier than handling teenage girls ( I hope so)

    will come back if anything else occurs to me.

    Reply

  18. Dadoji
    Nov 08, 2007 @ 20:06:57

    Hi!

    Dropped in to see how you and the baby were doing. Very happy for you on hearing it is a girl. Going through this post of yours, not sure if you are. Thought I would give you my case.

    Both of us wanted a daughter the first time. Because both of us are sort of feminists and because I wanted to raise a woman of substance. Also, any subconscious desire I might have had to raise a boy was sort of fulfilled when I was involved in raising my nephew.

    And we had a son. And we are extremely happy. In so many ways he is me and I am my father. And I love that though it makes me equally sad and nostalgic.

    Then we found out at the time of our 2nd that it would be a girl. We were happy again. Because all three of us had preference for a girl. I guess we would have been happy with a boy as well. You might have read my post on what we named her and why. That about sums it up. And she is living up to her given name already.

    Take care of yourself and the baby. Say Hi to Balan. And you should not even doubt if your daughter will have a better life than yours – a. you should not be unhappy about your life (past or present), and b. her being a girl need not have anything to do with what sort of a life she has vis-a-vis yours. I thought you were an uber feminist – don’t you confuse me now. 🙂

    Reply

  19. Premalatha
    Nov 08, 2007 @ 20:20:19

    Dadoji,
    //not sure if you are. //
    🙂 I am more than pleased to see another one of me. Can’t wait to gang up against the men in my family. 🙂

    // I wanted to raise a woman of substance. //
    Have done that. (me, if you are not sure whom I am talking about here 🙂 )

    This post was about others around me, not about me.

    // you should not be unhappy about your life (past or present), //
    🙂

    I AM unhappy about quite a lot things about my past, present and future. 🙂

    //And you should not even doubt if your daughter will have a better life than yours //
    At one point I wanted to divorce balan but didn’t have the courage to do it. When I was little and when my mother complained about my father I looked at her and told her that she was a coward and I told her if it happens to me I would straight away divorce him. But when I indeed felt that, I didn’t have the courage to do it.

    But now, I am glad that I didn’t do it as no one else can be my better partner than Balan is. But my point was, I didn’t have the courage and I wasn’t any different from my mother. that is all.

    //don’t you confuse me now. //

    I am all about confusing everyone, including myself. 🙂

    Happy Diwali to you and your family

    .
    @Anita
    Very good points. Come back when you have time. 🙂

    Reply

  20. utbtkids
    Nov 09, 2007 @ 14:46:18

    Hi Premalatha:
    First of all congrats. Did you pick a name for baby girl already?

    Check out this post of mine when you get a chance.
    http://utbtkids.wordpress.com/2007/04/28/xxxy/

    Reply

  21. Premalatha
    Nov 09, 2007 @ 15:05:00

    UTBT, Thanks. I read it sometime before. 🙂 Will read it again to see if I have missed any point you have analysed.

    Reply

  22. Goutham
    Nov 09, 2007 @ 22:42:54

    Boo,
    You are right – Parents should never neglect one child in favor of another – In my case it is just a difference in how I deal with their behaviour. A toddler can never understand a stern scolding – you just take him away from the situation or take away the object which might be the cause of bad behavior whereas you have to deal with a 6 year old in a different way since they understand better.
    My daughter has already questioned me about this. I say to her I never scolded you until you were 3 and I’m doing the same with him. I try to tell her that he wouldnt undertand even if I scolded him. She might not understand now …. but hopefully some day. Though we make sure she is aware at every available opportunity how much she is loved.

    Reply

  23. Premalatha
    Nov 10, 2007 @ 09:31:20

    Goutham,
    //Parents should never neglect one child in favor of another//
    I have one question, not about your case, but in general.
    .
    Let us say there are two children. Both are not neglected. both are well taken care of. There are three pieces of sweet. Parents give two to one child and one to the other child.
    None of those two children are neglected. But one is favoured over the other one.
    What do you think of this case?
    I think it is wrong. It is not neglecting the child. but the favouritism itself should not show.
    In some families they play spoiled games that, they leave the sweet box open, let the children choose, knowing that their fav kid will be able to over power the other one. one of them takes two sweets and the other one complains, parents say that they will not intervene. This is wrong too.

    Reply

  24. Goutham
    Nov 12, 2007 @ 03:05:48

    Latha,

    Totally Agree. A child should never feel that a parent intentionally favors one child over another other things being equal. I know the hurt since an aunt of mine did so in case of me and my cousin and to give her some credit (for her frankness) she even tried to explain to me that some people like some kids better than others. But my then 8 year old mind couldnt comprehend that and the hurt remained for a long time. While I again agree with you that sometimes you do “like” a child more than another, for the sake of the kids and to protect them you should never show it.

    Reply

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