“ We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
These words are true”, I said and nodded silently to myself while enslaved in the haven of Beyoncé hit song flawless. This song was of particular interest to me since she featured a personality I so much admired Chimamanda Adichie Ngozie; a renowned writer and feminist as she likes to call her self. It was actually exceedingly rare to hear the queen of pop feature another artiste more so a native African. I felt so proud, as though Chimamanda was my child. Her featured voice in the song was so thought-provoking I caught myself repeating her lines and surfing the internet for the lyrics to the whole song, paying more attention to her side. Like most of Beyoncé songs, it was one about empowering women. Having women to be seen as equals to men, not subordinates. It was about pinching the female species to know she can be anything she dreamed of. Beyoncé through her art and fame had found a voice for advocacy for female empowerment-and she wasn’t alone.
The fight for women empowerment and or equality is otherwise known as the feminist movement started to make waves in the 20th and early 21st century. It focused on legal issues, primarily on gaining women’s suffrage (the right to vote). The torch kept blazing when in 1963, the Feminine Mystique was published; it is a book written by Betty Friedan which is widely credited with starting the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States. Black feminism became popular because of the exclusion from the civil rights movement and the feminist movement. Names such as Eva Bacon, Stella Browne, Margaret Cousins, Eva Cox, Agnes de Silva set the pace for the current era of female empowerment activists like Chimamanda Adichie and Bell Hooks.
smile of posterity
Undoubtedly we can say with much certainty great strides have been made, from women voting in the United States to the most recent Saudi Arabian women being able to drive. I smiled the thought of this but simultaneously was struck but a lightning question, “where are the male species in this struggle?” At that moment more questions without answers flooded the walls of my cute head. It then dawned on me. For the past decades, women have been fighting for equality but have failed to address a very integral front of the movement; building the psyche of man to understand the precepts of their struggles, grooming man to love and understand the basic principle that woman was created from the rib of man (according to the Bible) thus his side, to signify her equality to man, not her inferiority. I asked all these in despair. It was so obvious to me this was a lost fight if the women failed to paint their larger picture to the opposite sex to create a balance in perception. After all, everything existed in two’s and that is what makes the world balanced; right and wrong, good and bad, man and woman, light and darkness.
I further wondered if there was a male version the word feminism? (which obviously was masculinity) But how much advocacy is made in that direction? Who is teaching the male child to be male and simultaneously “human”? I use human because many stereotypes have been created and propagated about the male species so much they have become false truths. Stereotypes such as males aren’t supposed to show emotions, a man must be fearful to command respect, the only thing men think about is sex and sports. The patriarchy system it is called.
It this system that is largely credited with the greatest misdeeds perpetrated on than male psyche. This system ultimately paints men as some stone-cold, emotionless figures always screaming and yelling at women in rage to get their desires met with little or no regard for that of the opposite sex. Assuming these are true,(which I strongly I am against not entirely though) then how do the feminist society intend to heal this deep wound without the courage of awakening the little boy in the man? That little boy who was taught to love his neighbor and share with the utmost kindness. The little boy who was taught to say sorry when he offended anyone. That little boy who genuinely expressed love without fear of being tagged a weak person. That little boy who loved and yearned to be loved and appreciated as well-not the man who sees as a norm to be respected regardless.
we can love
we are human
If men have been immensely done so much damage by the patriarchal system then I don’t believe fighting for equality will do any good without first undoing the harm done by this system. Men are very capable of loving too and we do yearn to be loved. Teach men to love again. Teach the male species it’s not a sign of weakness to gleefully express love in the wonders of all its forms and colours. Teach the man to say sorry overlooking his ego. Teach the man saying, “I love doesn’t make your life span diminish by a decade”. Teach men emotions only emphasize how human you are not how weak you are. Teach men to cry and respect the autonomy of women. Give men the language of emotion.
“A single story creates stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is not they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story”. Chimamanda Ngozie spoke these words to an audience and echoes the silent cry of the modern-day man. We have another side to us. We have a latent volcano of love, warmth and an amalgam of emotions readily awaiting eruption. Men also have fragile imperfect feelings of pride that can be wounded and heart that can be touched.
Now fight the most important frontier of the feminist battle; the battle against the male patriarchy psyche. If you cut the branches of a tree, they grow back but if you uproot its root it is put to rest forever.
Continue reading “FEMINISM- Dangers Of A One Sided Fight”