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FGM, early marriages, unfair gender discrimination even at work… I admit that our society has been rigged against women since the very beginning. And I agree that it’s not okay. Women should not have to be at a disadvantage in life simply because they are women; which is why I support most of the activities by gender equality advocates. Of course feminism is another story altogether and I won’t touch on it.
My point today is that girls are disappointing us. Yes. Boys are out there getting their hands dirty trying to revolutionize Kenyan music through the Gengeton movement. Gengeton is a young movement. It’s still in its baby steps. It will evolve and become more mature. It might even become a giant. It’s only a matter of time.
What’s surprising is that amid all the gender equality and feminism hullabaloo going on in Kenya, girls are content with just the role of “video vixens” in the Gengeton movement. It makes you doubt their whole feminism campaign – is it really serious or is it just… Drama?
If ladies in Kenya are really committed in ensuring gender equality, why are they not participating in the Gengeton revolution like their male counterparts? At the moment, Gengeton chiefly relies on the themes of sex, alcohol and drugs. Of course girls do alcohol, drugs and sex, so they have the required content.
Gengeton is at its easiest stage. It will likely become more sophisticated as it grows. When that happens, it will be much more difficult to join the industry than it is now.
What are the ladies waiting for? Are they waiting for men to toil and moil to build an industry ndio wakuje wapake rangi? Or are they waiting for it to become really difficult for a lady to join so that some years down the line, they can come with sob stories like, “The Gengeton industry is male dominated and it’s extremely difficult for me as a girl here so you should cut me some slack and have a separate set of standards for me because I’m a girl?”
Ladies, we have treated you unjustly in the past – to shameful levels, but what is your excuse now in this particular case? Moral grounds can’t be the reason – else you wouldn’t be video vixens (a polite name for the girls who twerk in Gengeton videos), right?
I agree that female artists are disadvantaged in the general music industry but heroines like Nadia Mukami are making it so that can’t be the reason either.
Is it that you think Gengeton is beneath you? It also wouldn’t make sense because again, you twerk in their videos. But in case potential female artists do view Gengeton as beneath them and that is why they are not making efforts in the industry… Know that it will grow as it is now. It is male dominated and will continue to be so. Moreover, when the industry has come of age, the odds will really be against you.
And then you’ll start lifting placards around and cursing the present society because it promotes male domination. Male domination that men established right under your noses – slowly and steadily, while you did absolutely nothing.
Ladies across the world have been victims of a male dominated society. It has not happened only in Kenya. But look at the ladies in other nations – look at Taylor Swift – she is leading the music industry in the US.
Kenyan ladies, you need to get serious in your fight against gender inequality. You can’t claim to be fighting a male dominated system yet you are calmly watching that system developing stronger roots without raising a finger. It doesn’t make sense. You are failing yourselves and you’re failing future generations of women. You need to step up. Otherwise, all the awareness creation and advocacy you’re doing for yourselves will continue to be ineffective. You’ll think you’re making progress but in reality – you’re just supervising male domination as it evolves and adapts.
Ladies, the effects of your disappointing absence in Gengeton are more far reaching than you think. Gengeton has become viral among Kenyan youth – the future of this country. The world just concluded a campaign against Sexual and Gender Based Violence. We were there crying and making noise on social media. But my question is this: How will men not objectify you if that’s all you’re training them to do? The youth are consuming dozens of Gengeton videos in which all you do is twerk. Media is powerful because it slowly shapes our perception of the real world. If you can’t be anything other than twerkers in our popular music revolution, how do you expect men to ever see you as anything more in the real world?