Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection

Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of A World Full of Men

Book - 2011
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Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize A 'Slate' Best Book of 2011 A 'Discover Magazine' Best Book of 2011 Lianyungang, a booming port city, has China's most extreme gender ratio for children under four: 163 boys for every 100 girls. These numbers don't seem terribly grim, but in ten years, the skewed sex ratio will pose a colossal challenge. By the time those children reach adulthood, their generation will have twenty-four million more men than women.The prognosis for China's neighbors is no less bleak: Asia now has 163 million females "missing" from its population. Gender imbalance reaches far beyond Asia, affecting Georgia, Eastern Europe, and cities in the U.S. where there are significant immigrant populations. The world, therefore, is becoming increasingly male, and this mismatch is likely to create profound social upheaval.Historically, eras in which there have been an excess of men have produced periods of violent conflict and instability. Mara Hvistendahl has written a stunning, impeccably-researched book that does not flinch from examining not only the consequences of the misbegotten policies of sex selection but Western complicity with them.
Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, 2011.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781586488505
Branch Call Number: 304.6609 HVISTEND
Characteristics: xix, 314 pages ; 25 cm.


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Ms_Nurse Jun 09, 2012

Fantastic book that paints a portrait that bodes ill for the already volatile Middle East, China and India. Centuries of favoring male children over female has established cultural preference of the male gendered child, in modern times this means there are millions of "missing" women in these parts of the world. This means that for in these parts of the world for approximately every hundred girls there are one hunred ten boys. There are multiple problems that arise from this disparity in genders violence, trafficking, prostitution, and a lack of women for lower class/poor young men to court and marry later.

Jan 12, 2012

This is an intelligent and urgent book about the preference in various places around the world for boy children over girl children. Many developing countries (including China, India & South Korea), with the enthusiastic financial support of the US government and American private organizations, mandated small families to impede exploding population growth and facilitate economic growth.

India pushed vasectomies for men; in some cases police surrounded villages in the middle of the night and apprehended all the men and took them in for surgery. 6.2 million men were sterilized in one year in India. But most of the time the attention was on the women. Abortions became prevalent. Although in the US, abortion most often is chosen by single women with their first pregnancy, in these other countries, the women were usually married with daughters. They chose abortion on the 2nd or 3rd pregnancy primarily because the fetuses were female and their husbands wanted- insisted- on a son.

Governments, even ours, felt they had the right to dictate reproductive behavior. A federal district court judge, in response to a lawsuit by African American and Native American women in the South & Southwest U.S., wrote that 100,000 to 150,000 poor American women had been unwillingly sterilized under federal programs.

Some scientists have proposed mass reversible sterilization though the water supply or other means. Women or couples who wanted to have children then would have to go through steps to make that happen. There would be no more accidental pregnancies. Those protecting civil liberties are aghast. Although most were silent when the abuses were happening in other countries. One of the dilemmas is that the pro-choice movement has worked so hard to protect a woman's right to choose, that they find it difficult to protest abortions being used elsewhere. The anti-choice movement has made much of this. They proclaim they're concerned about discrimination against women in abortions for gender selection which favors boys but the reality is that the anti-choice movement sees eliminating abortion for this reason as a significant stepping stone to the elimination of all abortions. So it is a dilemma. In Asia alone estimates are that 160 million girls are "missing" because of sex selection abortions.

The author points out that the abortions of females is short-sighted. Yes, the parents get a boy but that boy grows into a man who is in a country with a very lopsided gender ratio, meaning he will have a hard time finding a wife. In some countries, that's resolved by the importation of foreign brides from poorer countries, especially Vietnam. Prostitution also becomes more prevalent because of all the unmarried men. Women are tricked, kidnapped, sold by their parents and threatened into prostitution or forced marriage. Increasingly children are married at a young age to guarantee the male a spouse when he gets grows up. But there are other consequences as well. Studies have shown that unmarried men have higher testosterone levels and that in turn has related to increased anti-social and criminal behavior. Having large numbers of unmarried men will result in increased conflict resulting in expanded prison systems. Lopsided numbers of women vs men will also result in the shutting out of women's opportunities in politics, medicine, law, and other professions. Women's voices, priorities, and concerns will be unheard or ignored to the detriment of the world.

Sep 24, 2011

a very good book. Scary, interesting and readable.


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