It’s a Girl! is a documentary that exposes the issue of gendercide, “the systematic elimination of a gender group, usually females” (It’s a Girl! Discussion + Action Guide), particularly in India and China due to the enormous size of their population. The documentary was broken into two parts: the first explained the matter in India and the second part was in China. In India the main issue was the dowry system while in China it was the one child policy; these two issues contribute to the cause of gendercide.
The film showed a great emphasis on the problem of gendercide being a strong cause of the devaluation of women in these certain societies. One important problem that is caused by this is the ratios of men to women in both countries today. I believe the film depicted a great message that supported the claims of the interviews of the mothers, which was presented in an emotional appeal. Also, there were many statistics that were offered in support of the argument as well. The main argument of the film is that girls are a liability to their families and boys are assets.
This is a problem in India because of their dowry system; women are being devalued and turned into properties and objects, thus causes the reoccurring act of gendercide. A common Hindi saying that was mentioned in the documentary was, “daughters are someone else’s property” (It’s a Girl! ). This portrays the alliance theory by Claude Levi-Strauss. The dowry system, gift giving, in India resembles this theory due to the fact that it makes “men turn women into sex objects whose exchange, as wives, cements the alliances among men” (Kimmel 66).
The problem in China is the same ideology/argument but with the one child policy instead, and mothers are forced to have abortions. According to the statistics provided in the film, for every 140 males born in China now, 100 females are born. The distorted sex ratio causes much harm such as sex trafficking, child brides, and bare branches. Also, it was mentioned that there are 37 million more men than women in China; these men, bare branches, are having a difficult time finding wives inside China (It’s a Girl! ).
According to Johnson, these two societies have a patriarchy system where it’s male denominated, male identified, and male centered (Johnson 90). If women were devalued from the moment they are born then they would suffer from discrimination later on, simply because they were never seen as the same or equal to men but always as less. The film provides many pieces of evidence such as interviews of current cases of families who have been through the issue of gendercide, both in India and in China.
In the interview of the Indian mother, Dr. Mitu Khurana, who was pregnant with girl twins, explained how she was threatened to abort her babies by her husband and inlaws. She managed to escape from that environment and started a campaign to raise awareness on th interview of the Chinese family, they explained how difficult it was to have more than one child, especially if it wasn’t a boy. They talked about their hardships and struggles of leaving their girls with family members in order to keep everyone safe from the communist government due to how strong the one child policy was enforced.
The film was mainly directed to feminists and activists who fight for the value and the lives of women. It was made to raise awareness for that specific audience to take action and make a change. The documentary was extremely difficult to watch and I had to stop it a few times. The reason behind that wasn’t because it was hard to follow, in fact, the film was displayed in a clear manner and it was very easy to follow, but because I simply couldn’t handle what I was watching. I became very frustrated and angry when the mothers explained the methods of killing the baby girls.
I wasn’t only angry about that but at the fact that they were laughing while being interviewed as if it was something to joke about, even though this is socially acceptable in India. I ended up finishing the film for the sake of this paper and most importantly for those 200 million girls who are missing. Even though the film was very challenging to watch, I highly believe that the film projected a worthy and an upstanding argument of how gendercide is a strong cause of the devaluation of women in India and China. I immensely recommend everyone, not only feminists, to watch this documentary.
It has opened my eyes and now I’m aware of this issue that happens throughout the world and not only India and China. What I enjoyed the most out of the film is that in the end it lists things you can do to take action against gendercide such as: joining a petition to be a world leader, saving a girl by donating money, and by spreading the message which is what I’m doing in class. Overall, I give this documentary 10 out of 10, and the reason behind that is that the curator did a great job of making a great point and by delivering it in a very nice and presentable way.