Monday, August 12, 2013

it's a girl

63 minutes, 2012
Rating: 7/10

This must be the first documentary that I and feminism’s flagship publication, Ms. Magazine, have both recommended.

It covers the topic of gendercide – the killing of unborn baby girls just because they are girls – and it begins with a smiling Indian mother explaining how she strangled every one of her eight newborn girls. Her casually murderous ways are not unusual in India, where women are greatly devalued. There is a saying in southern region that, “Rearing a daughter is like watering a neighbor’s tree.” The thought is that girls are of no benefit to the family they are born into; they are only of benefit to the family they marry into.  Why? Because of dowries. Though the practice is illegal, the giving of dowries is still common in much of India. And because this money has to be paid by the bride’s family to the groom, it is profitable to have sons, but a financial burden to have daughters. So families value daughters-in-law, but not daughters.

The film begins with India, but, about midway through, transitions to China where they have also devalued women, though it has nothing to do with dowries. Instead the culprit is the country’s one-child policy. Traditionally, it is sons who care for their parents so if a couple can have just one child, they want it to be a boy.

The end result, as this documentary shows, is that “the three deadliest words in the world” are “it’s a girl.” In India mothers will regularly kill their baby girls soon after birth: from the ages of 1-5 the mortality rate for girls is 40% higher than for boys. In both India and China woman who are pregnant with girls can face enormous pressure to abort.

So why should we watch this film? Because it’s relevant here in North America, too. This is an issue that can unite both Christians and non-Christians to take some early steps together towards the protection of the unborn. This stratagem was first tried in Canada in late 2012 when Conservative Party MP Mark Warawa put forward a motion that would have condemned gendercide. Unfortunately some backroom maneuvering meant his motion never came up for debate. But with some support this documentary could have a role in bringing this issue to the public’s attention once again.

For information on where you can watch a screening, or how you can order a DVD visit


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