Shockingly haunting, It’s a Girl Documentary forces us to acknowledge that the murder of baby girls still goes in many parts of the world without being seriously challenged.
The birth of a daughter is considered a misfortune while the birth of a son is celebrated in many cultures; but this lack of value for the lives of daughters ends in murder, female infanticide, neglect, and abuse in countries like India and China.
This documentary examines the age old custom of killing baby girls because daughters are a financial burden to parents. They have to be fed and clothed and their virtue closely guarded after they attain puberty and a husband procured for them. A daughter, if not married off, is an additional mouth to feed. She cannot go out to work in the fields or earn a living and provide for aging parents. The marriage dowry system of demands for cash and other goods by the groom and his family is another reason for dreading the birth of a girl. And, of course there is no return on this investment.
However, in this day and age, the killing of baby girls have also become greed based. Mothers are forced to succumb to family pressures and unscrupulous doctors perform selective abortions to fatten their pockets. Although selective forced abortion is illegal in India, these crimes usually remain undetected and unpunished.
The saddest and most outrageous part of this tragedy is the women are equally guilty of the violence against their own gender and willingly participate in the murder and torture of infant girls. Without emotion, a woman from Tamil Nadu tells how she murdered eight of her infant girls and buried them in the fields like useless pieces of trash. Baby girls are suffocated by putting a wet cloth over their faces, or given milk lace with poison, or their necks are crushed. Girls who are allowed to live are subject to neglect and abuse and most die from malnutrition and disease at an early age. It is important to note here that the killing of baby girls is not practiced among Muslims in India or anywhere else.
The extermination of girls in a male preferred society is an accepted fact of life in China, as well. Here the government encourages gendercide with the one child policy law. Paid informants report cases to the family planning police who conduct raids and force women who have violated this policy to abort the baby. Illegal children, born in secret, have no official existence in China. They cannot go to school, qualify for state health care or other benefits or get married. They are not citizens and therefore cannot travel abroad to exist outside the country.
According to this film, each year India and China eliminate more girls than the total number of girls born in America. “More females are missing on earth today from gendercide than the combined number of deaths from all the genocides of the twentieth century.”
This review of It’s a Girl Documentary is presented by Rukhsana Hasib, author of the novel, Shadows in the Sun. This underlying theme of Shadows in the Sun is female infanticide and one poor mother’s struggle to overcome the challenges and abuses for a better life for her daughter.
We must hear the voices of every mother and every daughter and get involved. We can create the change and ensure the birth of a female child is not considered a tragedy and that every girl is born in safety and lives with dignity as a human being. It is a matter of our mothers, our sisters and our daughters; it is a matter of humanity.