We Don’t Deserve Our Daughters

gender preference in children, why do families want boys instead of girlsWhy do so many couples wish that their first born is a boy? A simple look back at the history of women who failed to produce a male child is explanation enough. Didn’t turn out so well for Anne Boleyn, is all I’m saying.

Imagine you’re walking down a street on an ordinary day and you happen to run into an old friend who is pregnant and glowing. The miracle of life is within her and she seems more beautiful than ever. She is expecting her first child, and tells you she’s due in November. You congratulate her, and tell her how incredible her hair looks. You ask whether they know the sex of the baby. She shakes her head and says they’re waiting to find out, then adds, “but we’re hoping for a ____.”

If you’re like me, you filled in the blank as “boy.” Because that is the status quo and the sentence we are used to hearing. In fact, I’ve only heard one other answer to that question, and that is, “We don’t care about the sex, we just want it to be healthy.” Now there’s nothing wrong with wanting your child to be healthy, but it does seem odd that the only two choices seem to be wanting a boy, or not caring.

When was the last time you heard, “Well, my husband really wants a girl.” If you have, in fact, heard someone say this, please send me their name and address and I will personally write them a thank you note. And I’m not talking about the couple that have two boys already and want a “well rounded” selection of children. No, I’m talking about the first-time parents, who give into the inhumane, sexist nonsense that betrays the very thing that gave them life – the woman, the mother.

How can a woman carry the divine gift of creation and still accept the notion that, somehow, a man is more godly, more worthy than she is? Hell, I’m guilty of it. I can’t pretend like the thought of having a boy never entered my head once I got married. It must be engrained into my psyche, our collective unconscious, through centuries of conditioning – it’s practically a milestone in the rules of “being a good wife.” A simple look back at the history of women who failed to produce a male child is explanation enough. Didn’t turn out so well for Anne Boleyn, is all I’m saying.

And yet, from such tragedy came Queen Elizabeth and Queen Tamar (a name you may not have heard, but is the equivalent of Queen Elizabeth in my home country of Georgia). Is it coincidence that both of these women ruled their respective countries at the height of their glory, their “golden age?” Both were glimmering hopes of what our world might be under female rule; if equality, diplomacy, and humility ruled over brute strength and power-hunger. Yet, we still “hope for a boy.” We, women, still betray ourselves despite our proven worth.

As a child who turned out to be a girl; as someone who’s father insisted on shaving her head and pushing her into competitive sports; as someone who’s entire life was spent trying to prove to him that I was worthy; as someone who resented and ran from her womanhood in order to be taken seriously; I say this now, to all of us who have, at some point, hoped for a boy: we don’t deserve our daughters. Not yet. But someday, we may be blessed with a world that does.

A native of the Republic of Georgia, Ana Surviladze was raised in the Czech Republic before moving to the United States at the age of twelve. Her multicultural upbringing fueled her innate love for communication and languages. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is the author of a book titled “The Voice of a Falling Tree.” When she isn’t writing, Ana can be found photographing the scenic nature of the high desert. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons/CC License

  • Melinda Bailey

    There are reasons for this other than thinking boys are better than girls.
    1. Men are basically genetically programed to populate the earth with more people just like them, and if you like baseball & hunting, a boy is more likely to follow in your footsteps.
    2. Men are probably much more terrified about raising a girl because they don’t get how girls think.
    3. And for women, there is a very real (though often subconscious) fear of being usurped by your daughter. Your baby daughter will grow into a beautiful, young woman who will constantly remind you of your own fading youth, and may even compete with you for the affection of her father/your husband.

  • pegp

    My husband said exactly this, “I hope it’s a girl.”

  • Neighbor55

    My husband wished for a girl after we had twin boys.

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