What We Missed.

Are Indian doctors changing the sex of female children into male because their parents want boys? W T F.

A school in LA Unified is naming themselves after Sandra Cisneros. Totally awesome.

Michele Bachmann’s husband is a mega-asshole.

And finally, I’m very excited to be heading to Ottowa tomorrow for the Women’s World Conference. You can read more about the plenary sessions at this groundbreaking conference and check out my interview on Rabble.ca about feminism promoting the event as well.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/emilysj/ Emily Johnson

    Thanks for this great roundup!

    The capital of Canada is spelled Ottawa, though, not Ottowa.

  • http://feministing.com/members/logic/ Logic

    I label this genital mutilation and possibly inhumane medical experimentation.

    • http://feministing.com/members/logic/ Logic

      I really don’t like the implication that monetary greed could actually rationalize this behavior: “The government needed to address the problem by stressing the spiritual value a girl or woman brought a household in Hindu culture. “In India we say God resides in that house where there’s a woman but that has evaporated because of all this greed. We need to emphasise the spiritual wealth a girl brings to a family, but we also need to support them with financial subsidies and jobs,” she added. ”

      Stressing spiritual value and financial subsidies are good solutions. But the acts of these parents do not stem naturally from monetary greed alone. A heavy dose of ignorance and social manipulation is at hand.

  • http://feministing.com/members/toongrrl/ Jessica “Jess” Victoria Carillo

    Michelle Bachmann’s husband: duh.

  • http://feministing.com/members/mercedes/ Mercedes Allen

    The reporting on the news from India has been mixed and confusing, mostly by omission. The Telegraph report linked above does clarify it a little, but if you blink, you miss it. I’m noticing far-right media starting to take the story and run with it, since it at first appears to validate their campaigns against abortion in China and India (and by extension, all abortion), and it’s a grey area they can win support with.

    It is in fact intersex infants who are being assigned as male. Which is still awful, and a glaring example of the difference in value Indian society (and many others) places on males, as opposed to females. I’d hazard a guess that this also takes place in China and any other nations where there are disparities in gender valuation.

    But it is also something that takes place regularly in North America — only the motive (sometimes) differs.

    If this is the reporting that finally draws attention to the plight of intersex children, then that’s probably a good thing. Because the arbitrary surgical assignation of gender to intersex infants is a serious crisis that leaves some (not all — that will depend on if the child happens to be assigned to the gender they will eventually identify with) facing a lifelong conflict that in some cases turn tragic.

    • http://feministing.com/members/calawyer/ CAlawyer

      The specific allegations in the article are that doctors were intentionally labeling non-intersex baby girls as intersex to justify fulfilling their parents’ desire for sex reassignment surgery: “campaigners said the parents and doctors were misindentifying the children’s conditions to turn girls into boys.”

      • http://feministing.com/members/rhian/ rhian

        There is an ongoing investigation as to whether the surgeries were performed on intersex kids (claimed by the physicians) or on kids labeled normal and female (claimed by the media). I think we’ll have to wait and see what the outcome of that is.

        But what I think is extremely interesting about this case is that this surgery to “turn girls into boys” provokes total international outrage (as it should). As Mercedes Allen points out, these kinds of surgeries are performed on intersex kids everywhere, all the time, and no one thinks twice.

        • http://feministing.com/members/logic/ Logic

          or on kids labeled normal and female (claimed by the media).

          The Telegraph has reported on others who make this claim.

          these kinds of surgeries are performed on intersex kids everywhere, all the time, and no one thinks twice.

          Plenty of people think twice about these surgeries performed on intersex kids “everywhere.”

          Intersex individuals dispute wisdom of surgery on infants.

  • http://feministing.com/members/bsaint/ Brooke St. George

    “I wish I knew how to dismantle the belief that women should be free to prostitute themselves. People say it so smugly, as if all women must inevitably accept this truth.”

    • http://feministing.com/members/nabyarn/ Danny

      I’m of the personal belief that legislating what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home or workplace is a terrible idea. Perhaps prostitution isn’t a job that is commonly associated with the mentally, and in some cases physically, stable but that doesn’t mean it gives anyone the right to place their own value judgements on it and pretend they’re just stating facts. I’m under the belief that we don’t know the effects that legalization would cause, as there are many economic and sociopolitical issues that vary, even within a single state. I’m from Canada and although it doesn’t seem to be often discussed, prostitution is considered legal here (I do need to point out that brothels and public solicitation are still both illegal). I’m not sure how strongly it effects the rates of sexual and physical abuse in the profession, especially considering how notoriously lacking these kinds of statistics are in most countries. However perhaps it’s a step in the right direction, away from the persecution inflicted on these sex workers, both by laws and law enforcement, and by unscrupulous “Johns” looking to take advantage of someone. The best way to prevent these injustices is to hold the industry up to rigorous standards and work to make it as safe a profession as possible. The demonization of prostitution and sex workers only benefits the criminals who are exploiting these men and women.

      • http://feministing.com/members/logic/ Logic

        “Perhaps prostitution isn’t a job that is commonly associated with the mentally, and in some cases physically, stable ”

        It is unclear what Danny means by the mental instability of prostitutes, but perhaps he is referring to the psychological damage inflicted by the involuntary sex trade.

        • http://feministing.com/members/nabyarn/ Danny

          I’m not only referring to involuntary sex trade. With prostitution in the state that it is, I’m referring to both cases of sexual assault related to their profession as well as possible mental instability that led to them being unable or uninterested in holding a legalized profession. Of course I’m not speaking about all women in the sex trade, however, in the current climate of the profession it’s an all too common occurrence.

          • http://feministing.com/members/logic/ Logic

            possible mental instability that led to them being unable or uninterested in holding a legalized profession.

            Perhaps Danny is referring to the correlation of childhood sexual trauma and adult prostitution.

  • http://feministing.com/members/evemagdelen/ Eve Magdelen

    This news piece is shocking on so many levels. As a mother who lost a full-term baby girl in utero, I am personally deeply offended by the mention of female foeticide as well as the surgical sex changes on children. Either way, the identities and lives of women and children are disregarded in possibly the most flagrant and horrific way possible.

  • http://feministing.com/members/nabyarn/ Danny

    I also have to add that I loved Samhita’s interview on rabble, I enjoyed it a lot and found it very interesting. Maybe someday we’ll be lucky enough to be graced with a Femisiting podcast (Fingers crossed!).