Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Weekly Sneak: Amazing Dialogues With African Men

I like to hunt down guys in their lairs and talk to them about stuff like life, love, women in general, parenthood, etc. to see if all the stuff I have been told about them is really true. On an individual basis or in small groups, conversations with men are absolutely wonderful and incredibly informative. Also: no one gossips with as much generosity or relish as an older man. What I didn't expect to learn from these conversations was empathy. 

Tough as we make it for women to be women, men are also victims in the patriarchy. Though it varies greatly by tribe, religion and so on, there are certain African masculinities that are quite unpleasant if you ask me- that ask men to be much less than they really are. When women fight for the right to pursue our liberty and fulfill our potential, there is a whole movement behind us with support and funding and events and a lexicon. But guys are still expected to remain... what? Stuck in the patriarchal prison? We have to help them break out, and this can't be done through 'sensitization' workshops. 

Because if we don't tackle our gender equity problem, we're going to continue being plagued by flaming idiots the way that Mikocheni is plagued by rats: 

"Zimbabwean politician Morgan Femai recently stated, and I quote: “What I propose is that the government should come up with a law that compels women to have their heads clean-shaven like what the Apostolic sects do” and “They should also not bath because that is what has caused all these problems.”  He was talking about how to combat HIV infection in his country…by attacking women?

Mr. Femai made a few other choice pronouncements about female physiology, but they do not bear repeating outside the confines of a gynaecologists office. Clearly, Mars is too good as a planet of origin for his ilk- this is something dark and reptilian in him that is expressing its dim and thoroughly unwelcome views."

The thing about the Femais of this world is that for the most part they can be avoided or ignored. But every so often they end up on a podium and cause needless trouble. In the near future sexism will become a relic of the past the way that overt racism is- something that only crazed guerrilla survivalists in the bushveld would dare to espouse. For that to happen, we need at present to be vigilant and to smack down flaming idiots whenever and wherever they spew hate speech against what amounts to half of humanity.

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