It’s a Girl (2012)
According to generally accepted statistics, over six-million Jews were killed during World War Two. The thought of this mass murder—organized and carried-out mainly by Heinrich Himmler (though, of course, others knew and participated)—is mind boggling. The train tracks, organized camps, the death chambers where Zyklon-B poisonous gas ended so many lives–it was clearly the work of madmen.
Now imagine bucolic villages in India and China. Women dressed in colorful garb cheerfully tell how they killed their newborn girls: suffocation, acid, crushing the neck. One lady stood upon the mound where she’d buried eight—EIGHT—daughters. Daughters are a curse. Even though dowries were made illegal in the early 1960’s, in some parts of India they still go on. Which would you rather be? The family paid to take away a daughter, or the family who has to pay and raise the damned creature anyway?
Many Indian couples try to get doctors to do ultrasounds to determine the baby’s gender. If it’s female, it’s frequently aborted. Under Indian law, this is illegal. Under Florida law, driving 66 miles per hour on I-275 in St Petersburg is illegal. Many laws are less-stringently enforced than others. The family slips the doctor some cash under the table, and the deed is done.
China—sensing its overpopulation problem—has enacted a one-child-per-couple law. They enforce this. What happens here is that if a woman gives birth to a girl, it’s sometimes taken out and left in the woods, or left in more humane conditions. Orphanages teem with “unknown” little girls.
A friend of mine and his wife—unable to conceive on their own—twice flew to China and adopted a Chinese girl.
“It’s a Girl” is quirky in the way it’s told. There are painted or chalk drawing-looking graphics, quiet parts where information rolls across the screen, and the usual documentary talking heads. We visit some of the orphanages, and schools where girls learn to be proper wives. The most galling thing is seeing groups of women cheerfully discussing how they killed their baby daughters, much in the same way someone would exchange characters in a TV show, or favorite foods. They were so casual, that it was sick.
The film’s almost light tone actually makes it more powerful, not less, because the cartoonish graphics and laughing murderers make what they do seem so much more horrible.
“It’s a Girl” is a fairly short documentary—65 minutes or so—and the vast majority of the time is concentrated in India. Whether the killings were just more commonplace in India or that there was less access in China, I don’t know.
Also, I want to make clear that this gender-based murder doesn’t happen all over India. This film was focusing on certain small towns and villages, pockets where dowry laws were ignored and daughters were still considered burdens. The film never mentioned such atrocities in Mumbai, or any of India’s other large, modern cities. It was the villages and small towns.
There is no apparent MPAA rating on “It’s a Girl,” but I’d put it at PG-13. Some of the content is just shudder-worthy, and that’s just the words–there are no offensive pictures, really. It’s an important film for young people to see for two reasons. First, it shows how another culture works (</social studies explanation>. The main reason, to me, is that it instills a sense of humanity, of how people should have the right to live–XX or XY–and that the basic unit of justice is–as Spencer Tracy put it in “Judgment at Nuremberg”–the value of a single human life.
My hope would be that millions of this morning’s daughters scheduled to be a casually murdered single human life can live to see her own free and happy granddaughter play one day.
Again, estimates are that The Holocaust killed six-million Jews.
The UN estimates approximately 200,000,000 females are missing today because of this “gendercide.” (per IMDB)
One murder is one too many, but 200,000,000?
Himmler would have leaped for joy.
(“It’s a Girl” is available on Hulu Plus. All views and statistics reflected above are the filmmakers’; any brilliant insight is mine. (kidding) And God knows there needs to be a little levity; no apparent MPAA rating, but I’d say PG-13, however in parts, the content made me a little ookey in its nature, so use your judgment)