In The US, One Town. In Asia, Entire Nations.

Oil workers

 

A recent New York Times article profiled boom town Williston, North Dakota. There, because of geological finds, American men are flocking for well-paid jobs in the oil industry, some paying six-figure incomes. It’s the class gold-rush scenario, though this time with a requirement of more skills than desperation.

 

But Williston existed as a town before the shale beneath it became an object of desire. And the people moving in are almost exclusively male.

 

What does that mean for women in Williston? Complications. Risk. Fear.

 

According to the Times: “Many said they felt unsafe. Several said they could not even shop at the local Walmart without men following them through the store. Girls’ night out usually becomes an exercise in fending off obnoxious, overzealous suitors who often flaunt their newfound wealth. ‘So many people look at you like you’re a piece of meat,’ said Megan Dye, 28, a nearly lifelong Williston resident. ‘It’s disgusting. It’s gross.’

Prosecutors and the police note an increase in crimes against women, including domestic and sexual assaults.”

 

The article is replete with language that equates women to products, as well. An example: “‘It’s bad, dude,’ said Jon Kenworthy, 22, who moved to Williston from Indiana in early December. ‘I was talking to my buddy here. I told him I was going to import from Indiana because there’s nothing here.’”

 

The italics are mine, the sentiments Mr. Kenworthy’s.

 

Williston police and local prosecutors are disturbed by an uptick in crimes against women, including sexual assaults.

 

Williston is an unusual case here in the US, where for the past decades newborns have maintained the natural ratio of 100 girls/106 boys.

 

But in Asian countries such as China and India, where for many years the natural ratio has been skewed and wrested abruptly male (due to preference for sons, sex-selective abortion of female fetuses, plus China’s one-child policy), and continues to be artificially skewed (the practice of sex-selective abortion is spreading throughout Asia, and is worryingly strong in Western Asian, Muslim-majority former SSRs), Williston’s experience will be repeated over and over in the coming decades.

 

Where women are rare, unlike flatscreen TVs they are not regarded as more precious and worthy of care and tenderness. In a skewed-male environment, they are instead hounded, persecuted, regarded as potentially available by married men as well as single ones. Men who feel entitled to hetero sex – and equally entitled to take it – demean and degrade women.

 

That’s a huge pain footprint.

 

Given that a change in perspective might take hundreds of years, China and India need to plan for the future. When female citizens there are in the minority, how will their safety – and thus the future of the nation – be addressed? What will be the penalties for abusing girls and women? In villages, towns and cities that, like Williston, will feel akin to male prisons or the army, women face a future certain to contain enormous risk and pain.

 

That’s why wealthy Asians are looking to English-speaking countries (Australia, the US, Canada, and the UK) for investment and secondary residence. They’re prepping safety nets for their families, because they recognize the harm to come. The increase in wealthy Asians looking for visas and citizenship in the above-mentioned four nations is skewing way, way up. Note that these people are wealthy – which doesn’t mean they are ethically intelligent and would make good potential citizens, just that they’re able to play the immigration game by investments.

 

Chinese girls and women may at least look to a centralized government for protection from a plethora of men. In India, with its high proportion of governmental sluggishness and corruption, who will help girls and women avoid abduction, rape, murder? Delhi is currently wracked by protests, its officials urged to finally prosecute brutal rapes. In an increasingly-male world, women may find themselves back in the days of seclusion. Instead of predatory men’s movement being restricted by law – which makes most sense – there’s a likelihood that women will be forced to stay at home, just like their great-grandmothers in the 19th century.

 

Which is, of course, backward.

 

In Williston, one woman’s family “hardly ever lets her go out on her own — not even for walks down the gravel road at the housing camp where they live. ‘Will I stay for very long? Probably not,’ she said. ‘To me, there’s no money in the world worth not even being able to take a walk.’

 

In America, it’s one town. In Asia, it will increasingly be whole nations.

 

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In Beijing, Save Your Breath

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Beijing, 14 January 2013

The photo above was posted today, 14 January 2013.

 

And you thought Mexico City’s air was bad.

 

In Beijing, air pollution is so dangerous that emergency measures were just enacted to alleviate its effect on children. As CNN reports, “Schoolchildren were ordered to halt outdoor sports activities until Tuesday this week, as a dirty cloud of smog continued to shroud China’s capital. This was among a series of emergency response measures adopted in Beijing Sunday when the city’s Air Quality Index exceeded 500 micrograms, the highest level. Anything above this is regarded as ‘beyond index’.”

Babies have been hospitalized.

The wind is supposed to rush through in two more days. Officials, parents, everyone hopes the breeze will sweep the skies clean.

 

Despite the promises made by the Chinese government before the 2008 Olympics, and its assurances since then, Beijing residents have not seen a diminution of pollution. It’s as though they’re living in 1950s Charleston, West Virginia, before the Clean Air Act was passed. The Chinese echo those American old-timers in protesting that they “haven’t seen the sun in four days”.

 

When unbearable air conditions force the cancellation of nearly 700 flights per year, as at the airport in Beijing, everyone knows you’re in trouble.

Beijing air has been bad for years. This weekend, it got much worse. “The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre said levels of PM2.5, tiny particulate matter, had reached more than 600 micrograms per square metre in many areas, and Reuters said it may even have hit 900 – its worst-ever reading. The World Health Organisation considers a safe daily level to be 25.”

Only 25. Yet the levels of particulate (ash, smoke, etc.), the stuff that settles in lungs, that causes disease, are currently at least 600, and may be as high as 900.

That’s 36 times the WHO’s safe daily level.

In future years, doctors may well ask Chinese with unhealthy lungs, “Did you live in Beijing in January of 2013?”

Yet the problem is not just in one city.

The Chinese government has plans to create multiple brand-new cities in its extensive west, not over many decades as occurred in the US (St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver), but over a mere few years. By funneling excess young men – created by its one-child policy plus permission to abort female fetuses – to its western rural areas, it hopes to channel their energies as well as raise cities from the dust.

So where will that dust go?

It will settle into the lungs of designers, engineers, builders and residents. And it will travel.

Since the winds in western China often flow to the northeast, the dust will reach . . . Beijing.

Or, if on a semi-clear day you can see winds stream forever east, those clouds of dust will blanket China’s commercial coastal cities, like Shanghai and Fuzhou.

From the Independent: “Air pollution is a major problem in China due to its rapid pace of industrialization, reliance on coal power, explosive growth in car ownership and disregard to environmental laws. In Beijing, authorities have [also] blamed foggy conditions and a lack of wind for the high concentration of air pollutants.”

Can we add “lack of planning”?

Look, it took many years of hard work before the Clean Air Act was passed in the US. Manufacturers balked and protested that they would go bankrupt – yet General Motors still exists – and even today, Tea Partyers complain about government nannyism.

Would they and their children rather breathe Beijing’s air?

That air is a brewing toxic nightmare, and for the Chinese, rather like riding in a freight train they know with certainty will hit a second freight train dead-on.

We’re just watching in slow-motion.

Playing Chicken on a World Stage

Bullied once more?

 

With a shrinking population – its births last year were the lowest ever – Japan is really in no position to make things harder for itself. Despite its tech-savvy, homogeneous culture, which makes getting along more of a family affair than in countries beset with over-immigration (the Japanese are famously opposed to taking in new citizens from beyond its shores), it has a smaller population footprint than many of its neighbors. Thus every Japanese citizen, especially those under 70, ought to be valuable to the nation as a whole.

 

So what does Japan do? Like a sly classroom bully more renowned for book-learning than street smarts, Japan has once again taunted its former enemies of World War II. Asian survivors of the war are still living. In Japan, of course. Also in the Philippines.

 

Some of the Filipina survivors lived through the physical pain and mental anguish of daily, brutal rapes. They were forced into unpaid prostitution as – what a euphemism! – “comfort” women, available to Japanese soldiers as the men desired and depending on their rank. Essentially, the women were treated as vaginas poked without regard for their own human needs or pain.

 

If this starts to sound like a lament for the recent rape victim in Delhi who was tortured, beaten, threatened with death, tossed under the tires of a bus, the yet-unnamed woman who fought valiantly for her life – well, naturally there are similarities.

 

In the Indian case, the six rapists carried iron bars. In the case of the Japanese armed forces, they carried guns and knives. If you imagine that women facing such threats had any choice about whether their bodies would be cruelly invaded, think again.

 

A recent New York Times piece reports that “Japan’s new (and former) prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and his conservative government may revise Japan’s 1993 apology for forcing thousands of women to be sex slaves in the service of Japanese soldiers during World War II”.

 

So a nation finally brings itself to apologize for wrongs done to civilians during its occupation of their countries decades in the past. Nearly 20 years after that, a conservative – read: “what, me feel shame?” – politician makes noises indicating that that long-overdue apology may now be retracted.

 

The mind boggles.

 

Prime Minister Abe and his ilk may regard this as a small matter, easily swept under the rug of statesmanship errors. At under 60 years old, he might perceive that the women brutalized before his birth are a mere handful of the unimportant elderly. And apologies mean “face” is lost. Conservatives everywhere love to preserve “face” . . . especially when they don’t deserve it.

 

Aw, shucks. I hate to spoil the self-pity party, but has Abe looked southwest toward that giant land mass across the Korea Strait?

 

China, yes. Where the Japanese landed during WWII, where they also forced women into sexual torture (that’s what unwanted sexual entry is) accompanied by its henchmen, pain and despair. Like Dementors, those men swallowed their victims’ joy and self-esteem, leaving behind decades of work to recover. It’s no accident that rape carries a high incidence of PTSD, just like experience in combat.

 

Yet in combat, you face the enemy as part of an armed group. In rape, you face them unarmed and entirely alone.

 

So Japan seeks to de-apologize for the intense harm it caused women during the 1940s. It seeks to minimize, to diminish the brutality of its actions.

 

Is it mad?

 

Revising the 1993 apology is the ethically wrong thing to do. It’s also the least prudent course of action. In thumbing its nose at Chinese women’s pain, Japan would be thumbing its nose at these women’s children and grandchildren. At their relatives, their neighbors, their friends. Their support groups.

 

Collectively, Japan would de-apologize to a nation that over the next twenty years will develop in a skewed sex ratio population the extraordinary ability to fling soldiers into war . . . and the need to do so in order to avoid tumult and violence in its large cities to the east and south.

 

Japan is like a single-child family dissing its next-door neighbor with ten sons (and two daughters). Does it have the right to do so? Certainly. There’s no law against folly.

 

Yet Japanese conservatives would be better advised to let sleeping dragons lie. Japan simply doesn’t have the numbers to play the school bully.

When Mom Makes You Play Outside

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Lanzhou, China

 

When my mother had had enough of running, screeching children, she would tell us, “Everyone outside!” Unless rain or snow poured down, we were expected to jump out in the fresh air and leave her in peace for at least an hour. My protests, as the eldest (“I’m not making any noise, I’m just reading!”), were met with professional deafness. Fresh air would do me good, she said firmly. Even if its temperature hovered below freezing.

 

This was probably true. Truer still: she relied on my watchful eyes to ensure my younger siblings’ safety and wellbeing.

 

Tossing kids, especially squabbling brothers, out of the house into the wilds of suburbia left my mother in peace. She was not the only woman to have hit upon that answer, and in winter my brothers spent their time building forts, stockpiling snowballs, and persuading their friends across the street into a battle with white missiles.

 

Imagine my mother’s solution multiplied by . . . well, a lot. On a national level. In a nation where the noisy, troublesome younger brothers number in the tens of millions.

 

Citizens of China sometimes refer to their country as “Mother China”. Mother is definitely sending the boys out to build . . . after they flatten 700 mountains.

 

Plans are afoot for a huge undertaking in the western city of Lanzhou, nearly 1000 miles from Beijing. Lanzhou is even farther from populous Shanghai (1311 miles). In order to create a “new city” – Lanzhou’s population already numbers above 3 million – hundreds of thousands of people will be imported to flatten the surrounding mountains and then construct the new roads and town.

 

Already a transportation hub and industrial site prone to earthquakes, Lanzhou will become the backyard for some of the excess young men created by the one-two punch of the Chinese one-child policy plus the massive use of sex-selective abortion to ensure sons. This risky practice continues despite obvious flaws (some kindergarten classrooms contain only a couple of girls) and even more dangerous projections. Despite recent suggestions that China might relax its one-child policy because of a rapidly aging population, there is no plan to require women carrying female fetuses to bring them to birth. Absent such a provision, China might easily go the way of India (where the increasingly popular two-child family is more often than not the family of two sons).

 

So. There’s Mother China on one side: “Go west and play in the dirt! Get out of the eastern cities, the crowded places. We’ll pay you to create this new city, the pride of western China . . . and you’ll be well out of our way, with your testosterone and aggression, out under the big sky!”

 

On the other side, Lanzhou itself, a city whose current population falls between those of Chicago and Los Angeles. Presumably, enormous civic pride met the announcement of the new project (which, of course, will take years to complete). Yet destroying the mountains of Lanzhou means an ecological nightmare. The soil is loess. Loess is made up of silt deposited over time, and is highly prone to erosion. Strong westerly winds from the Gobi Desert pick up the easily dispersed soil and waft it into the atmosphere, where it is carried east and southeast to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong – basically, all of China’s largest cities.

 

Already, Lanzhou’s own air quality is dangerously poor. Releasing more soil to be rushed into the air as particulate will worsen air quality and endanger the health of everyone nearby and in the winds’ path.

 

In addition, the Yellow River runs through Lanzhou. It is already well-used for industry as well as for crops and human domestic use. Imagine the pressures on the river of the horde of new workers – not to mention those who will follow. The Yellow River (the second longest in China, prone to flooding and course changes due to its rising riverbed) then winds its way through the nation. What water will be left for those downstream, and what will be its quality? Again, a health disaster.

 

Yet the most obvious threat to Lanzhou will be the invaders. Oh, they’ll call themselves planner, engineers, construction workers, and so on. Really, though, a huge plague of young men will descend on Lanzhou, many more than the area is prepared for or can tolerate.

 

Perhaps they will be housed away from the city proper. Perhaps they’ll be kept under close watch, locked into their dorms at night and allowed only brief tantalizing glimpses of the city – these eastern boys with their education and knowledge.

 

How well do you suppose surveillance will work? When the numbers of young women have already been made low, and the competition for them extreme? When any group of young men contains extroverts who lead the way in taking risks, challenging authority and creating mayhem? When their numbers will be in the hundreds of thousands?

 

Exactly.

 

China faces a terrible dilemma, and no amount of “by 2030, theirs will be the first economy in the world!” can disguise the fact that – even if that turns out to be true – it will come with a steep price tag of trouble and pain. In the past, a centralized state could rid itself of a population that threatened it. These days, that’s not only unethical, it’s impossible. Unless a nation shuts down its internet, texting, Twitter and other forms of social media, it faces immediate worldwide wrath for selective genocide.

 

What will China do with all its noisy, wrangling, upsetting-the-peace young men? Sending them outside to play in the dirt can result in even worse outcomes. While China needs to act immediately to raise the proportion of newborn girls, its excess boys and young men are here on the ground. Keeping them busy, productive and away from the populous east – without creating more harm – is a problem that, so far, has no effective resolution.

China’s Trial Runs

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China and Japan in dispute

If you live in the West, an Asian dispute over a few tiny, minor Pacific islands may seem like small potatoes.

Except that these tubers are in a microwave, and they will blow up. Go big or go home, is China’s motto, and Beijing will not willingly rest its own spuds on the couch.

At issue: several islands in the East China Sea whose names differ depending on who asserts sovereignty. To the Chinese, they are Diaoyu — to the Japanese, Senkaku.  The islands, formerly privately owned by a Japanese citizen, were sold to his government. To China, that smacked of a national land grab, and they’re protesting. Loudly. With ships and men, although not, so far, with armed response.

Partly, the issue is visible land. In part, the contest is over what might lie under the land, particularly under the nearby sea. In addition, there is the history of Japan’s invasion of China during World War II, plus the fact that Taiwan is putting in its claim for the islands.

The real issue, however, is the continuing and growing disparity between the available fighting forces of China and that of Japan.

There is no question that both nations contain aging populations, and that both are averse to or unavailable for in-migration. Japanese who at birth had a life expectancy of 60 are now well into their 80s, and the Chinese are not far behind. There is virtually no immigrant class in China, and the famously xenophobic Japanese only reluctantly hire temporary Chinese laborers to help handle harvests. After the harvest is in, back they shuttle to China.

China, however, has an ace up its sleeve. Rather, 34 million of them.

Due to the one-child policy, combined with the past and current popularity of female-specific fetal abortion, China possesses a vast population of extra boys who – as all parents know – will become young men in the wink of an eye. What then? What does the most populous nation on earth do with four Sydney, Australias, full of young, ambitious, aggressive, testosterone-filled youths?

What nations have always done: hurl them against others.

There’s hardly a choice. It’s either channel young male energies for war or accept constant rages and civil unrest at home. If you had a family of six boys fighting each other and making life hard for their elder sisters, which would you choose? Keep them at home to argue and battle, or send them out to the soccer pitch?

Only there’s no equivalent of soccer for 34 million men. That’s what the military has always been, a place for aggressive, pugnacious young men to use up their energies on behalf of their nations.

Thirty-four million young men, of course, cannot form the armed forces of China. No nation on Earth will be able to afford – or control – such a vast force. Yet Chinese generals and admirals will regard several million as expendable, cannon fodder in an age of drones. Selectively tossing them against neighboring nations – only India will have a comparable, though still slightly smaller, population of young men – is realistically the only hope of China to reduce the pressure of a population of men it cannot easily control.

It is a regrettable but probably essential move so that China will not implode. From the Chinese point of view, better that other nations bear the brunt of its population error (the one-child mandate plus permitted abortion of female fetuses) than that its population be attacked by their own sons and brothers.

Even now, China is making calls for increased military recruitment, and its military spending has increased, causing worry around the world.

Lately, there have been appeals within China to relax the one-child requirement, to allow families to have two children. So many couples already manage to get around one-child – by paying fines, alleging tribal or special status, even moving to China’s west, where fewer restrictions apply – that one-child has become less implacable.

But it is the specter of continued, skewed overproduction of baby boys – who in twenty years’ time are active men – that frightens China’s planners. As it should.

The image of constant warfare, of decades of Chinese penetration into neighboring countries, is one that should make us all take heed.

This little skirmish over a couple of Japanese islands? The tip of the iceberg.

Studying While Female (and Chinese)

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Today, discrimination. Tomorrow, banning.

 

Centuries ago, when the few people allowed higher education were male, prospective scholars in China would be locked one by one into small rooms to take an exam of several days’ duration. They would bring with them food and water and lamps for their stay, a bucket for their wastes, and the hope that they would remain awake. At the end of the exam period, the door would be thrown open. Finished or not, their exams would be snatched for lengthy grading. If they failed, they made their disappointed way home. If they passed, they were assured of a government post – which often meant the power to award lucrative contracts to relatives and friends, and the opportunity to pocket bribes.

These days, university degrees are still essential to gain government jobs in China, but no longer do young hopefuls have to gird themselves for several days of testing. Women, too, may attend university.

At least, if they can get in.

A recent New York Times article covers the illegal practice since 2005 of China’s universities requiring higher entrance scores for female applicants than it demands of their male competitors. Apparently, girls are outstripping boys in academic performance, an observable trend in the West, as well. China’s Education Law forbids discrimination as to gender, among other factors. Nonetheless, some universities and training programs are promoting it, and the Education Ministry has turned a blind eye.

“In July, the Southern Metropolis Daily, a newspaper in Guangzhou, said the practice of discriminating in admissions was ‘extremely clear’ . . . In science courses at the China University of Political Science and Law, the bar is at 632 points for women but 588 for men,” said the Times.

To counter this professional lack of guts, some students – male as well as female – have shaved their heads in protest. Out in the open, in southern China. In Beijing, which frowns on public protest, the protests have been indoors, but many people know of them.

In language schools, where women have long exceeded their male counterparts’ scores, the bar has been set artificially low for male students, especially to study Arabic. Such schools’ officials perceive that Arab nations will not deal with women from other countries, so training women in Arabic seems fruitless, despite the female applicants’ higher scores and the fact that other countries send their Arabic-speaking female nationals.

Still, women make up 50 percent of Chinese undergraduate and master’s degree candidates. With PhD’s the proportion drops to 35 percent. So a great many girls are getting degrees. But it’s inherently unfair for a woman who has studied hard to be rejected for a university place because of a “low” score that, if she were male, would be well above the acceptable level and guarantee a place.

Young Chinese women are largely silent about this. They change plans, apply elsewhere, get themselves into second-tier or alternate programs. Like women everywhere, they tend to accept.

Instead, they should shout. Now, and loudly.

Here’s the reason: while Chinese universities’ and schools’ illegal barring of several hundred, a few thousand girls from university may look unjust now, it is the thin end of the wedge for a nation that within a few years will be looking at a massive shift in the population of 18-year-olds hoping for a university place.

Because China’s one-child policy coupled with ultrasound determination of fetal sex has spawned the abortion of literally millions of female fetuses, China will soon be faced with a never-before-seen spike in the number of male students graduating from high school. Naturally, not all boys will want to attend university – some will stay in rural districts, some will join the police or armed forces, others will take over family businesses or grow their own. But enough will see a university degree as a valuable tool for their own success to make pressure on admissions offices fierce. Enough will be willing to protest and use their population clout – we’re not speaking of a spike in 80-year-olds, but in strong and aggressive young men – to influence decisions.

What then? Will Chinese universities lower the bar further for men and raise it even higher for women?

My guess is yes . . . and no.

Raising the bar for female applicants will be the logical first step. Until the numbers are so wildly out of proportion that their absurdity is evident to all.

The next step will be banning women from certain programs. The high-profile, historically male ones will go first: engineering, IT, law. Then others. Until finally, university and training programs will be closed to all women except those with tenacious family pull and the politics to back it up. Even then, chances are those few young women will be shuffled into “feminine” programs: midwifery, nutrition, language.

They would be the lucky ones. Until they’re attacked by male students for “taking” places that ought to be reserved for young men. Until they recognize that female education in China in 2033 is as dangerous as in 2012 Afghanistan.

That China’s Education Ministry has failed to discipline university programs that unjustly discriminate against female students is appalling. If China is to avert further harm, and the wastage of valuable female brains, the ministry must act now, and preemptively, to make sure the most talented and hard-working individuals fill the halls of universities, without regard to gender.

Otherwise, the Ministry doesn’t deserve the word “education”.

 

Is It A Good Time To Be A Girl In India?

How few there are . . . how many fewer there will be, unless India acts now.

 

Is 2012 a good time to be young and female in India?

It depends.

This New York Times article says this: “The number of girls in schools has increased. The maternal mortality ratio has dropped. The government has carved out more money for women’s welfare measures in the budget. And for the first time, women outnumbered men in the number of literates added to the country in the last decade.”

Yet the same piece also points out that rape is high, child marriage is on the upswing – with its concomitant surge in domestic violence (in Hinduism, a husband is supposed to be a god, and gods are allowed to beat humans) – and compared to Western nations, as a democracy, India is far behind. This article on the thoughts of male elders in the state of Haryana is alarming. Their idea is to marry girls off early, so that they won’t be raped as single teenagers. Which is rather like saying that to prevent lambs being attacked by groups of jackals, each lamb ought to be housed individually with a single jackal. The fact that a lamb is just as much at risk from assault by an individual jackal (especially one larger and older than the lamb) is ignored.

So, it depends. Are Indian girls better off than their grandmothers at the same age? Definitely. More of them are being schooled, more are out in public where other people can assure their health and success. The eyes of the world, via the internet and Twitter, have made it possible for Indians of good faith to ensure girls’ nutrition, vaccination, and education.

On the other hand, there are reactionaries who – not unlike their Taliban contemporaries in Afghanistan – deplore the improvement in girls’ lives. It’s no accident that village elders are male. That such a skewed power structure (as the saying goes, women hold up half the sky) can be neither effective nor impartial is swept under the tribal carpet.

And the girls of tomorrow’s India? Will they have it even better than current schoolgirls?

I’m sorry to say, probably not. Not unless India stops the abortion of female fetuses. Not prohibits, but stops.

All over Asia, but particularly in India and China, the number of girls has dropped. Where there is scarcity, often there is value. Supply and demand, yes?

Only, not so with girls and women. Instead of being valued for their rareness, they will be trampled and hidden in order to “protect” them.

Where women and girls are hidden, they are subject to abuse. After all, who will know? If a man’s society affirms that he has the power and the right to inflict pain on people in his family, unless he has very good mental health indeed, he is likely to be the pain-inflictor.

Where there is a huge overpopulation of young males regarded as more deserving of schooling, college, jobs – even food – what happens to their sisters? They lose out. It is not that many years since Indians failed to feed unwanted girls, and in some rural areas that practice of slow infanticide continues. In the future, if sex-selective abortion continues its expanding course, the female child will become a rarity. The few who are born will not find themselves among others like them. Instead, they will be valued for one thing: reproduction. Their lives will be shadowed, isolated, and filled with fear. They are likely to be married off as infants, promised to families of boys, and they may well be subject – due to scarcity – to two or more husbands who will all too often demand their “rights”. That’s already happening in India.

So, are Indian girls today at a good place? Compared to their grandmothers, yes. Compared to their granddaughters, most certainly.

But it should be better than that. India should be looking ahead and planning how to empower these girls, how to assure their continued health, and how to stop sex-selective abortion so that the girls alive today have a chance to right the balance of daughters in a nation with too many young men.

Too Much Yang — Beginnings

Welcome! This is my first post on a brand-new blogsite.

I’m starting this blog in order to post pieces from a book-in-progress, Too Much Yang: How Sex-Selective Abortion in Asia Will Alter the World, as well as inserting new information for readers from various reports that will filter out of Asia.

Keep in mind that the effects of sex-selective abortion in Asia, though they are beginning to be felt, have in no way reached the intensity they will acquire in 20 years. This blog, and the book, is about what will happen. Not “may” or “could” but will. Given what we know of the history of nations in which the balance of the population skewed male, there is no doubt that trouble lies ahead. The only question is how much, how fast.

The androgenization (androgenization occurs where many more people are male than female) of Asia through the abortion of female fetuses – initially in China and India, but the practice is rapidly spreading and will be accelerated by over-the-counter tests for early determination of fetal sex – is the elephant in the room. No one wants to talk about the dangers androgenization presents to these societies and to the rest of the world. Apart from the wholesale murder of millions of boys and men, there is no way to stem the tide, and some nations regard an unnatural proportion of males as laudable. Their male leaders take pride in the ever higher percentages of infant boys.

They do not acknowledge that a society that skews male is inherently unstable and violent within itself, nor that retaining their own power will depend on men who are younger and thus more inclined to topple those in command. In fact, they are allowing their countries to be slowly devoured from inside.

This process will be painful to watch yet impossible to avoid.