Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Sex Determination – Different Perspectives, in India and the US

Two of our nieces are expecting, one of them her second baby and the other, her first. The former is in the US and the latter, in India. Another lady we are very close to is expecting her third child and she is in the US. So, it is going to be babies and more babies around us shortly!
But look, the two ladies in the US know the sex of their to-be-born. And, they are well off enough to have the nursery in their homes nicely done up in blue or pink, color coordinated wall papers, cradle, soft linen, diapers, feeding bottle, toys, with or without frills, etc. etc.

They must be considering themselves very lucky. Just imagine their condition had they been in India.
No sex determination tests here. You can’t know whether it is pink or blue till the baby is born. And then it will be too late to have the rooms done up, the baby things bought to be congruent with the sex of the newcomer. Blue thingamabobs for an infant girl? Tut, tut …
Of course, the third lady, the one in India, can afford a short trip to the US (or any other country where sex determination is not illegal) and come back with the firm knowledge of what it is going to be. Things can be planned to perfection, just as her counterparts in the US can do. Will she be doing that, I haven’t the faintest, but I tend to think she would not.
But this post is not about these ladies and their pregnancies. It is about why sex determination is not allowed in India and is allowed in the US. Of course, we know why it is not allowed in India. Child sex ratio. But, do you think it is the lack of strong son preference that is the reason behind sex determination being OK in the US? If you thought so, you need to think a little more.
It is all about marketing. You are pregnant and it is going to be a boy. What if, in your Google search, ads pop up that show off little things in pink? You wouldn’t like it, of course, social conditioning. Hence, now with targeted advertisements, Google is not going to stand by doing nothing and allowing space to be occupied by irrelevant ads. To make them relevant, or, to filter out the incongruent and irrelevant, of course, there are the sex determination tests. Bingo!
Now, to the crux of this post. You would not disagree that this type of stereo typing is also a disease. No, I am not saying this is as pernicious, indeed as fatal as sex determination is reportedly in India for XX fetuses. Yet, society can be improved – yes, there is room for improvement even in the lands of milk and honey – in the US, and the west in general. I do not know how bad it is now in India, but it is getting worse. Sex based stereotyping is becoming more and more the norm.
Indeed there was a time, say thirty or forty years ago, till the age of 2 or 3, Indian babies were unisex – you couldn’t distinguish a toddler from a toddleress! This is how it should be. Indian are regressing, and regressing fast.
Given that Indians are copying everything from the west, I would suggest that the west start copying India and ban sex determination tests, Google notwithstanding. One tit for a thousand tats is better than no tits at all!
Raghuram Ekambaram


Indian Satire said...

Sex based stereotyping is becoming more and more the norm.

Boy's should not cry.

Boy's don't wear pink unless they are gay.

Girls should not use swear words

mandakolathur said...

Yes Balu. Now with your input it clear how pernicious the whole thing is. This is the point I wanted to make.