This week my husband and I had interesting conversations about the genders of our children. While we desire another child and hope to have another one day, we’ve been told that we really need to have a boy since we already have a girl and second, we need someone to pass the family name on. Since we don’t have the ability to choose the gender of our baby, even if we wanted to, why is it automatic that we should be desiring a boy? This idea got me thinking why are boys desired more than girls? In a recent Gallup poll, responders were asked if they could only have one child and they had the chance to choose the gender of that child, what would they choose? Forty percent responded that they would choose a boy, 28% chose girl and 25% had no preference. This poll has been repeatedly ten times since 1941 with almost identical results.
Girls are undervalued all over the world. The rates of sex-selective abortions in India and China are shocking while baby girls are being abandoned in South Korea. In the US, little girls tend to be sexualized through their clothes and though music. Girls are urged to stay young and innocent as long as possible yet media shows them that being sexy can achieve great things. Talk about a mixed message! To be concise with such a complex topic, I will discuss three reasons why boys are often preferred over girls and am argument against such reasons.
First, the main reason I hear about preferring boys over girls is because boys will pass on the family name. However, in the US today, women have the option to take her husband’s name, keep her own name or the husband can even take the wife’s name. For example, I took my husband’s name simply because I’ve always looked forward to being married and changing my name, I’m traditional in that sense. However, I do know of a family who had only girls. When one of the daughters got married, she and her husband decided to take her name so there could be a new generation with that surname. I’ve always heard of couples hyphenated their names, for example like Jones-Smith, or even combining their last names into a new last name. The best example is former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. When he married his wife, Corina, in 1987, they combined his surname, Villar, with her surname, Raigosa. To me, desiring a boy simply to pass on the family name is very weak.
Second, many claim to desire boys over girls because boys are easier to raise. The truth is neither gender is easier to raise than the other because the brains of boys and girls are different and thus develop at different rates over the course of their lives. Let’s break down the areas of raising a child and see which one is harder. Discipline: who’s harder? Boys. Why? Boys tend to respond better to physical discipline like being put into a time out chair or having their toys taken away while girls respond better to verbal discipline. Physical safety: who’s harder? Boys. Why? Boys tend to be more rambunctious and aggressive. They are natural risk takers. While girls (definitely not my daughter), tend to operate on the safer side and often need to be encouraged to take risks. Self-esteem: who’s harder? Girls. Why? Girls tend to grow up less confident and more insecure than boys. They are taught to be people pleasers, to bury their needs behind someone else’s. Another self-esteem issue with girls is body image. Parents, especially mothers, need to be careful how they express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their bodies because your daughters are watching and will learn to hate what you hate on their own bodies. School: who’s harder? Mostly boys. Why? Being action based, boys tend not to respond will to an indoor based school day. Early education activities like music, clay work, finger painting and physical activity, are being stopped in favor for an emphasis on academics and visual auditory learning. This type of learning can be too most for brains too immature to sit still and boys tend to act out in response in boredom. Final tally: Boys 3, Girls 1.
Some may say “hey! What about expenses? Girls require pretty fancy clothes, shows, accessories.” True, some girls may require a lot of stuff as teenagers. However, this isn’t always the case. Myself as a teenager was very low key. I enjoy, and still enjoy, a simple outfit. I enjoy getting dressed up every now and then; however, those occasions are few and far between. Boys can be expensive too when it comes to stuff. Ever looked into buying a new gaming system lately? The most current Xbox, Xbox One (2013), retails from $300-$500 with games which run as high as $80! How is this cheaper than dressing a girl? It seems that boys are the more expensive ones. I think we need to focus on how differently boys and girls develop and grow which changes the way we, as parents, need to approach raising them. What worked for your daughter won’t necessarily work for your son.
Third, fear. Simply fear. The world is a scary place and in many parents’ minds, boys are better equipped or physically able to handle the bug bad world out there. Therefore, the image of girls as dainty, fragile creatures who need to be protected from harm. Yes, the world is a scary place for girls. They could face sexual exploitation, violence, discrimination in the workplace and even in school. However, why can’t we teach and prepare our daughters to able to face these things if and when they come up? Why not teach our daughters self-defense by putting them in martial arts? Better yet, why are parents not teaching their sons how to respectful treat a woman? Why are we not teaching boys to respect when a woman says no and means no? Why aren’t we teaching our children to be partners with each other? To work together as a team? My husband and I are a team. While I do do the majority of the housework, my husband does pitch in when he has off. He helps me carry the laundry from the laundry mat. He does the heavy duty scrubbing chores that I despise. I’ve said this before in other blogs that while my husband is the head of our household, he and I discuss everything together. He values my opinion and takes my feedback into consideration when we need to make a financial decision or a decision regarding the care of our daughter. If I were to have a son, I want to teach him how to treat and respect the women in his life. And that doesn’t mean bow down and worship the ground she walks on but to value her as an important part in his life.
In conclusion, regardless of gender, our children should be valued for who they are and taught to work together for the betterment of their lives and the world. Raising children isn’t easy. It isn’t for the faint of heart. Some days I want to scream and shut the door against it all. But I’ve been entrusted with this little girl, and God willing another child, to prepare her for the world without me. A world where she have to look after herself. So regardless of what my next child will be, boy or girl, he or she will be a wonderful addition to our family and will be raised with love. And that’s all that should matter!