If this were about men, they would be seen as empowered: sex selection, sex trafficking and girls

In order to draw only dire conclusions about the now famous disparity in numbers between males and females in Asia, you need to view girls and women as inferior yourself. If the data showed there to be fewer males, you can be sure they would be seen to be in an advantageous position: able to pick and choose amongst prospective spouses, enjoying gender power. Instead, a surfeit of men is imagined to cause sex trafficking and bride-buying, the assumption being that when women become required, men will traffick them. Why not think women will migrate to places where they are lacking, take on traditionally female jobs and enjoy an advantage in the local marriage market or selling sex? Not the most progressive outcomes possibly but aren’t they better than being expected to wait to be victimised?

Bring Your Questions for Mara Hvistendahl

27 October 2011, Freakonomics

Her book, Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, looks at how advancements in prenatal technology have led to extreme cases of gender selection across much of Asia. As economic development spurs people in developing countries to have fewer children and gives them access to technologies such as ultrasound, parents are making sure that at least one of their children is a boy. As a result, sex-selective abortion has left more than 160 million females “missing” from Asia’s population. It’s estimated that by 2020, 15 percent of men in China and northwest India will have no female counterpart. The consequences of that imbalance are far-reaching and include rises in sex-trafficking, bride-buying and a spike in crime as well.

–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist

3 thoughts on “If this were about men, they would be seen as empowered: sex selection, sex trafficking and girls

  1. Danielle

    Hi Laura, I was actually listening to this Freakonomics podcast last week and found it interesting. Do you know anyone who is studying population in Asia from a more empowered perspective, like you suggest? Thanks.

  2. Danielle

    Also, might you consider posting this question on their blog? Maybe Mara Hvistendahl will respond!

    1. laura agustin Post author

      Danielle, I don’t know a name, expect there are people in India doing it. I left a link on the Freakonomics page, let me know if they follow up as I won’t know probably.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.