Published August 02, 2011
The world is becoming unbalanced. In pockets across the globe, women are giving birth to too many boys. In China, the sex ratio is 121 boys to 100 girls. In India, it's 112 to 100. Sex selection also is a force in the Balkans, Armenia and Georgia. In her eye-opening book, "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men," journalist Mara Hvistendahl estimates that ultrasound and abortion have "claimed over 160 million potential women and girls -- in Asia alone." That's more than the entire female population of the United States.
If you think that scarcity makes women more valuable, you are right -- but that does not mean females benefit. As "surplus men" have trouble finding mates, young girls are forced into prostitution. Others are forced into arranged marriages. On Taiwan's eBay, Hvistendahl finds three Vietnamese women for sale for $5,400.
Those women who do well economically in the new order sadly are more likely to abort daughters in favor of sons.
The results are equally bleak for men. Many boys grow up knowing they are unlikely to marry and start a family. In two years, 1 in 10 Chinese men will lack a female counterpart. The Chinese have a term -- fenquing for "angry youth" -- to describe the legions of young men likely to grow old alone. They find release in places like the Rising Sun Anger Release Bar, "where for the price of a few drinks, customers can pummel one of the bar's hired hands." In that equation, both men are losers.
Debra J. Saunders is a columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle. To continue reading her column, click here.