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Women must involve men if they want equality

By Ochieng Obunga | October 17th 2019

There is a peculiar way in which the talk about equality of the sexes pricks when exposed without shrouds of misconceptions. For reasons I am yet to understand, the majority of people loathe the word feminism. The word as majority view it drenches of hatred and prejudice. It invokes emotions that reek of the ripe stench of decay.

I know people who shift and look elsewhere with skin gathering on their forehead when I mention the word. And then what seeps between us is wind borne silence. Some women think that the expression of detest towards men is what fighting for women's rights is. And remember, no one is talking about feminism yet.

How do we achieve equality if we isolate men from the circle? Do we need to take the route of separatist ideologies? 

You want a man who will take care of you, a man who can pay your bills; a man who can "afford" you—afford is the word. The problem arises when a man begins to think that he will be taken as a lesser man should he fail to do certain things. [Some] women are the perpetrators, creators of the prison that keep men isolated. Some people think that gender stereotypes only jail women. Men, too, are imprisoned by these gender stereotypes and gendered roles. When you have to insist that it is the man to pay your rent, food, clothing, everything, a man feels 'little' when he cannot do these things. If the society defines a man as a provider, a man who cannot provide will know he is 'half' a man. He becomes imprisoned by the "a man provides" stereotype.

These stereotypes, unfortunately, are fueled by women. I have heard young women in groups blathering, with the intention that men nearby hear it. "I cannot date a man who does not have a job," "I cannot date a man who cannot provide," and "I cannot date a man who cannot do this or that." "A real man takes care of his woman." Hey, give young men a break. Young men too battle unemployment. These men, also, have younger siblings who look up to them.

When will we stop saying I cannot date a man who can't provide and begin saying I can date a man as long as we share bills. I can date him even without that job; we will look for it together. You are scaring men away... And yet the two genders need to complement one another. Men will shy away from expressing their feelings, and you know what this means? Women will become [sex] objects to them. Men will not respect women. And no one needs to see the other as an object. This is the extent to which the young women of these days are isolating men. At the end of the day, after men stop making advances, then another stereotype sprouts, "men of these days are weak. Who has made them vulnerable? Is it not women? We must stop judging people—because that is what we are doing—by what they are not. For once, we have to start looking at people based on what they are.

The fight for equality of rights for both men and women is far from being won because what we seem to do is walk one step frontwards and march ten steps backward.

You want an equal salary when you have made it clear that whether you are working or not, the man must take care of you—that your salary is yours while the man's salary is yours (his and yours). Why should you be paid the same wage when you will want to depend on the man's salary? Why not make the man's salary higher than yours so that you can 'do the balancing' in the house? You insist you want a man who is employed when you know that the rate of unemployment in the country in percentage is close to the price of a packet of unga. Why should you be given the job when all you need is to be taken care of? Give the job to the man so that he can afford you. And this is the way society now operates.

If we really look forward to a society where men and women have equal rights in every aspect of life: where women are respected as men are, where women have the same pay as men, where women have the same job opportunities, where women are involved in decision making of decisions that affect their lives, then women must first cut loose the chains of isolation from men. The truth is that equality of sexes will never be achieved by leaving out men; by not involving them by isolating them. That cannot even qualify as a remote possibility. Far from it! We must understand the mechanics behind the fight for equality of rights for men and women—which is what feminism is. Hating men and pushing them away with bitterness that they are weak, un-romantic, jobless will take us back to days of permittivity.

The battle will not be won by showing men that women can raise kids on their own. It is the kids we are traumatizing by keeping them away from the father. Anyway, wasn't the kid a product of man's intercourse with a woman? If you can get the kid without a man, well, go ahead and raise the kid without the father figure in his or her life. Men need women just as women need men. No gender is superior or weak. The biological differences cannot make one more superior than the other. The gendered roles can be reversed. We can bury the stereotypes in the dustbins of history. It is time we woke up and relooked what we are battling with.


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