The Merging of Misogyny and Modern Medical Technology

To be honest, this article hit me like a punch in the stomach and I’m still trying to recover.

Nothing like this has happened in human history. A combination of cultural preferences, government decree and modern medical technology in the world’s two largest countries has created a gender imbalance on a continental scale. Men outnumber women by 70 million in China and India…

Out of China’s population of 1.4 billion, there are nearly 34 million more males than females — the equivalent of almost the entire population of California, or Poland, who will never find wives and only rarely have sex. China’s official one-child policy, in effect from 1979 to 2015, was a huge factor in creating this imbalance, as millions of couples were determined that their child should be a son.

India, a country that has a deeply held preference for sons and male heirs, has an excess of 37 million males, according to its most recent census. The number of newborn female babies compared with males has continued to plummet, even as the country grows more developed and prosperous…Officials attribute this to the advent of sex-selective technology in the last 30 years, which is now banned but still in widespread practice.

The authors go on to document the effects of this imbalance, which include everything from an increase in sex-trafficking to the trade surplus in China. But frankly, I think they’re only beginning to scratch the surface. Cultural, political, and economic consequences will emerge that will last for decades, if not centuries.

But I’m not ready to go there yet. I’m still reeling from the fact that the global movement towards misogyny, which dates back several millennia, has been married to modern medical technology and produced this kind of effect. Human beings developed such a fear and hatred of women that they literally instituted efforts that could cause them to cease to exist in such massive quantities. That’s the gut-punch that is hard for me, as a woman, to not take personally.

We could fool ourselves into thinking that is something happening “over there” in China and India, as if it isn’t rooted in the same thing that drives misogyny in this country. But then, we just elected a president who bragged about being a “pussy-grabber.” Similarly, we could all get up on our judgmental high horses and pretend like what is happening in China and India won’t have any effect on us, which is naive at best.

As the article begins, “nothing like this has happened in human history.” We might be about to experience the most consequential outcome that misogyny will bring to planet earth. I am certainly no man-hater. Some of the people I care most about are men. But frankly, I’m not looking forward to living in a world with 70 million more men than women.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.