Male Child Syndrome by Heaven Kalu, National Correspondent AST.

New Jersey

Northeast / New Jersey 164 Views

A boy is a young male human, usually a child or adolescent and when he grows into adulthood, he is described as a man. In the African-Nigerian setting, the boy child is a source of pride and honour while the female children are less regarded in a family. This explains the reason for the large number of children born by different families in Africa especially Nigeria, seek the quest for a male at all cost even if it means becoming a polygamist.
According to statistics and research contrary to the desires of most families, the National Population and Census Board data shows that more female children are being born than male children each year in Nigeria. Yet the desire for male children has always resulted into husbands pressuring their wives to give them a male child either by hook or crook irrespectively. Some even endanger the lives of their wives by compelling them to have more children which invariably put the woman at risk of consecutive pregnancies.
An average Nigerian couple will do anything to have a male child, who will carry on the family name in this patriarchal society. Some female children even go as far as retaining their family name even in marriage sometimes, just to preserve their father’s name as a way of making him not feel lost for not having a male child. The boy-child is one treated with all the preferences in the average Nigerian home because it is assumed that through him, the father’s name continues from generation to generation.
As an heir, a boy enjoys certain privileges in the family all because of the male-child syndrome and these cuts across nearly all tribes on the Nigerian soil. He is regarded as the little “man of the house” after the father. Amongst the numerous reasons, here are few notable ones which are:
1. Continuing the family name
2. Inherit their property
3. Help them conform to the cultural beliefs
These above listed reasons have become a necessary evil for wanting to birth a male child at all cost and by all means in our today’s society in Nigeria. The girl child on the other hand, is mostly considered not relevant and a failure because of the aforementioned reasons. She is being married to a man instantaneously stops bearing her father’s name and takes on the husbands fathers name which now becomes her surname so to say henceforth. In some geographical areas, a girl child is more or less a chattel that is to be owned by interested suitors or match makes. This case of being a chattel is synonymous to these fictional story with drops of truth embedded in it as to how a girl child a treated and sold out into early marriages while in their prime.
She is the last amongst four girls in her family but unfortunately the only surviving child of her parents. Her elder sisters were all married out at age 10, 11 & 12 respectively to different men at the time they marked the mentioned ages. It is so sad they died one after the other shortly after being married. Her eldest sister, married out at 10 experienced a severe tear while trying to birth her first child and bleed to death. Her second eldest sister, married out at 11 was diseased and suffered VVF (Vesico-Vaginal Fistula) and later died due to inadequate medical attention and lastly her immediate elder sister, married out at 12 had pre-mature labour and the fear of delivery ended up claiming her life. All these are one out many challenges that the girl child faces in the family whilst the boy child enjoys all the attention and respect which is supposed to be shared amongst him and his sisters.
In conclusion, this wrong mentality of attaching too much importance on the male child has no doubt destroyed many homes, shattered many marriages, ended many lives as well and has made many home poverty ridden while in quest for a male child.