National Geographic, 2005
Lucy Ling follows a group of American families to China and captures the key moments of their adoption process illuminating the unforeseen effects of China’s one-child policy coupled with ancient traditions and social constructs along the way. Some of them being,
- prioritization of boys as they are the parents’ “social security.”
- prioritization of boys as they pass on the family name, and thus the family’s honor.
- an “emperor’s” complex for only-children resulting in spoiling and obesity.
- all this resulting in a gender imbalance in China’s population.
- that imbalance resulting in oppression of women through abandonment of newborn girls, kidnapping, abductions, and prostitution of older women.
It appears as if the government is working towards changing the values of the culture, providing medical assistance and some general public education on family planning as well as the value of girls. And the film did a good job highlighting the human face of this reality on the people of China as well as the adoptive parents from America, which I greatly appreciated.
— VIA —
The focus of gender in this production stands out to me as yet another example of the evils of gender chauvinism. Even if China did not have a one-child policy which merely exacerbates its already existing male bias, I contend their problems would still exist, just not at the same height or breadth.
Every institution, from governments to churches, have done a disservice to the world through their inability to see a value equality of the genders. Some still tout the physical differences of male and female to be a “natural” indicator of the social “hierarchy” that is God’s or nature’s intention. But what they fail to see is that a viewpoint this narrow and bane is not a reflection of the culture’s adherence to values (as is often the platform), but rather a full dismissal of value, for the female and the male alike. You cannot deface one side of the coin without the value of the whole coin being compromised.
Somewhat tangentially (though ideologically related), I blogged about McCain’s concession speech when losing the Presidential race in 2008 saying,
While true on many levels [that this is “an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight,”] and while I don’t believe saying that statement was wrong, I was hoping for McCain to add (and emphasize) that this historic election has special significance for all Americans. For the ideas of this nation are not simply “African-American” ideas, nor should this victory be relegated to being merely a “Black” victory. It is a victory for all. While the oppressions in this country fell greatly to those of African (and other) descent, this victory not only furthers the freedoms of their liberties, but it also takes great strides in liberating others from their prejudices, bigotry, and racism. And that is a win for all.
I contend the same is true for the gender issues. Freeing females to be fully human is not simply a victory for women, it is a victory for everyone.
Tomes have been written on this, so, I’ll just blog-point here, and leave it at that.
For me and my household, we will continue to fight, not just for the rights of women and girls, but for the equality of the genders to live and breathe as one human race that is interdependent upon each other for life. And now, I must go fill out our home-study paperwork. 🙂