China’s stolen sons

From Saturday’s New York Times:

When she is not scouring the streets at night for her son, Ms. Chen and her husband go to the local police station and fall to their knees. “We cry and beg them to help,” she said, “and every time they say, ‘Why are you so hung up on this one thing?’ ”
The Chens are so hung up ‘on this one thing’ because that one thing is their son, stolen from them by a stranger desperate for a son in a country where boys are revered and girls are disposable.

In China, where strict population control is enforced and anything resembling a women’s movement has yet to be launched, female infanticide still occurs, although it has lessened as the penchant for Asian female babies by Westerners has grown, but, according to the Times article, another unsavory trend has cropped up: the stealing of male children by Chinese families desperate for a boy. Let this nasty, horrible practice be a lesson for those who think the women’s movement was – or is – unnecessary.

Sometimes, I’ve thought that, watching young women today enjoy benefits forbidden to my generation. I think, hmmm, maybe we’ve done all we need to do. And sometimes, when I see what the negative side-effects of women’s liberation (young women sleeping around carelessly because ‘the boys do it – why shouldn’t we?‘; a academic focus on girls so piercing that we’ve left a whole generation of little boys behind; the acceptance of abortion as no-big-deal birth control instead of facing what it really is), I wonder if all the work feminists did in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s was worth it.

Then I read stories like the stolen sons of China or reflect on the millions of girls in the Muslim world who aren’t allowed to drive, or go to school or vote and it is like an ice-water-in-the-face reality check: Yes, it was worth it. Yes, it is necessary to continue the fight – if not for ourselves, then for the millions of children around the world suffering at the hands of the ignorant, egomaniac adults surrounding them.