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This is from a tweet from a Staff writer of 朝日新聞 talking about their history with and understanding of the term 名誉男性 (honorary men) in relation to the term 名誉白人 (non-whites given certain privileges, including the Japanese, during apartheid regime of South Africa).

女にしておくのが惜しい、男に生まれればよかったのに──そんな女性を男たちが称揚する文脈で、この言葉が生まれたとは到底想像できない。名誉男性と呼んだ瞬間、ほとんどの人は名誉白人を連想したはず。その特権と恥辱を日本人が負い続けた歴史の長さを考えれば。…局所的にでもあり得ただろうか?

I don't know how にしておく is functioning here. One of my dictionaries defines it as "to leave as, to view as, to maintain the status quo", but what I don't get is while ておく can mean "to do and leave in that state", I understand it literally as something like "It's a shame to be made into a woman (and maintain that state)" which is confusing. What does にしておく really mean?

I also find it weird that this is in the present tense considering the following 男に生まれればよかったのに, not sure why this isn't in the past tense as "にしておくのが惜しかった" since we're talking about a past event I assume?

I also find it weird that にしておく can be used for what I can only assume be referring to birth (is this a common way to refer to birth? Because I was even able to find someone on Twitter say "日本人にしておくのが惜しい")

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    It's much closer to そのままにする than to 大切にする or 楽しみにする and it has little to do with how the speaker, or anyone else, "treats" or "regards" the woman in question. There is nothing subjective here.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Jun 12 at 18:09

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I think it's not (-て)おく but ~にする that is throwing you off here. This Xにする does not mean "to turn someone into X" but "to treat/regard as X". It's the same にする as in 大切にする ("to cherish it"), 楽しみにする ("to look forward to it"), etc. Then 女にしておく just means "to treat her as a woman and leave it" or "to regard her as a woman and not worry about it". It's in the present tense simply because 惜しい refers to the speaker's current feeling.

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