“Boys shouldn’t cry”, “a boy ought to show maturity”, and “as a boy, you’re the head of your family”. These are some lines society recites to suppress the immaturity and emotions of its males. In Ghana where I come from such lines abound. My father – who himself is a “victim” of this indoctrination – does sits and run me through some of these lines after it appears to him I have transgressed what seems the “male rules”. Often such sessions are grueling and culminate with a bond of good behavior. My sisters were permitted some sets of behaviors – emotional, soft in talking, rely on man for anything but me. My dad demands I act matured, strong, un-emotional, fend for myself and being in supply of the needs of my siblings. He also advocates I act as a leader even as the third in line of six siblings. He scorns, lashes, slaps, and hangs me by the leg when in the wrong. The least emotion I show for going through a punishment often attracts another punishment - worst.
The Chauvinist at work
“Boys should pay for things when with a girl”, “a boy shouldn’t allow a girl to pay for his bills - never”, “a boy should take charge of his relations with a female counterpart”. “You forfeit your leadership as a male the very day you accept money from a girl”. “Girls are weaker vessels than boys”. “The girls place is the kitchen”. “Stamp your authority as a boy”. Centuries on, the world look robust, firmly grounded on these stereotypes that discriminate against the female. Talking about gender has assumed the analogy of asking for one’s kidney. We dread this conversation. The only time we’ve had to do this, is when we feel embarrassed, disgraced or disappointed for subjugating our own. Often when we do, it ends with a “talk” to reform which only live in the heart of hefty dossiers on our shelves. We take the way of our forbearers.
The feminist at work.
Why should we talk about “gender parity” when all was created equal? And endowed with equal rights at birth? Perhaps, the atrocities perpetuated by some men would have been avoided had we allowed them – a prerequisite for world peace. The institution of family in Africa is on the precipice of collapsing – a consequence of insincerity of men to their wives. Since men failed to question society for heaving strait-jacket responsibilities on them against the women, they feel embarrassed, insulted, and un-masculine to ask for advice, money and any form of help from the females.
The feminist at work.
The parity bridge is far from fixed in a period when there is disconnect between the feminist purveyors and their constituents. The girl-woman in my village who cannot read sees the “battle” lost before the war. The lettered females have widened misgivings against one another over minor issue as approach. So the few united females stage their fight in the halls of conferences and summits and over wine, champagne and lousy buffet.
True, we have been “masculinized” but what is the alternative? Why scream from the roof top when you can get down? The situation looks far from being remedied a consequence of the divided front of the leadership of the movement. We need to ignite once more this conversation.