“It is not Paka’s fault,” she said, “that I’m a girl.” Kahu put her face against Nani Flowers’ cheeks. Poor girl, don’t you think?
Boy child. How did you feel, that time in standard four when a girl in your class scored more marks than you? As most will admit, you felt intimidated and prolly kept thinking to yourself msichana anishinde..mimi? You walked away face down or in other words, ashamed. You were in standard four but you still felt like your masculinity was being sliced. At that age, who taught you that boys ought to be better than girls? I can’t blame you. Baba yako ashasema, it’s the common phrase we heard our moms spell whenever you wanted to sort of argue why you can’t just have those long dreads in your head (you can’t argue with an African parent you know). Who makes the rules? It’s dad of course. Then came girl empowerment. Things changed and the attention sort of shifted, eyes opened and many realized that the girl had the same thirst, the same ambitions as her brother or as Guardian would say, jua likiwaka linawawakia wote. Witi Ihimaera’s The Whale Rider must have been the bestseller then..the African world needed to see the possibility of educating Waithera the same way Kiprop would be.
Then things changed and I guess that’s where the “what a man can do, a woman can do better” cliché found it’s way to existence. Feminism, let’s talk about feminism. My teacher says, female emancipation. I say, the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of equality of the sexes and luckily, my dictionary agrees with me. My best friend says, it’s when your guy walks you to your place (if he’s a gentleman that is) and then you walk him back to his place. My buddy defines being feminist as the “I love the woman I’m becoming” sort of thing. Jennifer Lopez says “stick out your heads and yell, I ain’t your mama.” There is this other one, the type that once they start laughing they forget they are female, or don’t even know how to wear dresses and skirts or make up and stuff because they simply don’t believe they are bound just being female.
With feminism came roles and opportunities, and so how far do you think we’ve taken feminism? How extreme is extreme really and how much is enough? Some think that women deserve better chances than men but how? I love to think that deems the woman as a weak gender which is totally off, vulnerable can be the word. When someone says “what a man can do a woman can do better” I bet they mean they can lift two bags of cement more than what their men can. Or they probably mean they make better boyfriends than men can. Some say so, go for dates and expect their guys to pay for their meals like yooooh are you out of your damn mind? If you really think women are as smart, why not let them battle it out with men? That gives them equal opportunities and maybe gets your point out there more clearer. Have you ever thought feminism could actually involve all genders?
The empowerment has so much been done I feel like our brothers are literally losing it, and we’re bringing up a generation with so many empowered women, with no men to equal them, amidst men whose masculinity got ripped off, so much of an ecosystem huh. Tutaambia nini watu. My lecturer once asked “why are there many cases of men committing suicide than ever?” I’m still cracking my head on that. It’s time someone looked out for answers, consider the boy child struggles as belligerent challenge. I guess as much as we all spell equality, shouldn’t it be more of the real intentions than just gains? Less of liberal feminism re-branding patriarchy but liberation from sexist role patterns, dominations and oppresion. I don’t think feminism is using your gender to earn yourself positions in high places but rather showing you believe in women just as much as anyone else.
Maybe it’s about believing in acceptance, equality and respect that defines it all but I can bet you, you need to earn it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a feminist, I don’t hate men, I believe women need equal chances, but not favoring. We don’t rise by stepping on their backs, the men, it’s about our ability to lift ourselves. Forget the roles, no rules rule out what roles ought to be done by men and some by women. Dial down the feminism, a little, or tone it to something like “a radical notion that women are human beings,” the granddaughters and grandsons of the witches that the old society could never burn.