Wednesday, March 01, 2006

More on the pro-women line

I found the discussion on my post about blaming women vs. blaming patriarchy interesting. But thought the issues got a little muddied, because the post I was responding to was talking about the sex industry. I really don't understand how anyone could hold women within the sex industry responsible for their own objectification. That makes no sense to me, so I would start responding to people, and wanting to rant in eight different directions at once.

But there's a really interesting post at Feministe about Indian women aborting female fetuses, which I think will make it easier to explore the issues. From the Daily Telegraph (I know, but it might be true even so):

The gender ratio of babies has fallen to fewer than 600 girls for every 1,000 boys in the Punjab, a predominantly Sikh region, partly because for the equivalent of £10 even poor farmers can afford a scan to determine the sex of a foetus. Worldwide, 1,050 female babies are born for every 1,000 boys.
I don't think any feminist reaction to this involves blaming women for the decision to terminate the fetuses, or trying to restrict their ability to have an abortion. Because that many women are not abortin female fetuses on a whim, or because they're misogynist. There are structural reason that they're doing it, and ultimately they're making rational choices.

I don't think anyone should say to any woman: 'those reservations you have about having a girl-child, don't worry it'll all be hugs and puppies'. Because each woman knows her life better than I do. If we want to change the choices women make then we have to change the conditions under which they make those choices.

3 comments:

  1. ...and of course the incredibly patriachal nature of much of Indian society, limiting the options of pregnant women even further. I can't say what the reasons behind the choices these women are making are, except that in many cases they'll be limited ones (if they have that opportunity at all)

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  2. The women you describe are not merely reacting to their society, they are part of it.

    No one is entirely powerless. These women may be victims of this society, but they are also helping to make it what it is. They do have choices, and they are making the ones that perpetuate the problems.

    Why do they make the wrong choices? Out of fear, or concern about future trouble, perhaps. But if they did want things to change, they could make different choices - they just lack the courage.

    Other women in other countries have done as much - including in New Zealand. Change is possible.

    And what's this "we have to change the conditions under which they make those choices." ?

    Societal change has to come from inside the society - It cannot be forced on them from outside.

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  3. Extremely open to dialogue about oppression as always, I'd invite a layered analysis of this particular subject that involves the gaze, theory and self-understanding of a majority white western feminist nation centered in imperialist america critiquing the experiences of wimmin of color.

    It would fill out the debate and make the conversation more fulfilling and less heartbreaking for all involved.

    On that note, incorporating an analysis of sexual conservatism and stigma especially as it affects sex workers and sexual wimmin constructed as sluts, would also widen the parmeters of conversations about patriarchal oppression of wimmin.

    I'd invite you to read a post I did called Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack of Sexual Conservatism (http://darkdaughta.blogspot.com/2006/
    02/unpacking-invisible-knapsack-of-
    sexual.html).

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