Female identity is not static

2015-08-19 06:00
BENEDICT LETEANE - Social Observer

BENEDICT LETEANE - Social Observer

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

THE transition from apartheid to democracy brought a fracture in the representation of identities.

In this shifting cultural, social and political context, antediluvian ideologies of gender and race are being replaced by new ones X a replacement which exposes the instability and adaptability of race and gender. As new modalities of identity emerge, cultural and social identification also become remoulded and realigned.

Human beings use identification to connect to others. It is the same connectedness to others that humans use to make claims about their place in the past, as well as the future. Cultural and social values connect individuals to a community that shares ideas of a historically-embedded past.

It is problematic when the present identities in the communities do not reflect the authentic past. While the conversion embodied a historical rupture that enabled South African women to release themselves from the shackles of racial discrimination and gendered categorisations, it also intensified the dilemmas of identification of women. Society battles to understand womanhood in a new South Africa.

As the country commemorates or celebrates Women’s Month, issues such as abuse, empowerment and parity appear to be on the top of the agenda. As a social activist, I am against this campaign. It is totally wrong to be analysing and scrutini-sing issues of gender parity and domestic violence in one month. These campaigns should be promoted daily.

What we should be doing is to try and understand how, in a contemporary South Africa, intersects such as class, culture and generation locate and shape a woman’s identity. To what extent does patriarchy as a historical social institution shape contemporary femininity?

The globalisation of music, clothing, fashion and the availability of technology impacted cultural and societal norms and values. This emerging lifestyle forces society to see women in a new light. There might be a debate about the authenticity and perpetuaters of this behaviour, though. The reality is that it has influenced womanhood and subsequently challenged ideas of unchanging societal traditions.

Furthermore, feminists played a pivotal role in liberating women. These activists made it possible for women as human beings to have a voice in the community and to decide which categories of their identities should be acknowledged and which should be rejected. They challenged ideas of male domination and cultural, social and religious meanings which reinforces subordination of women.

The complexity of this transition is that it has problematised woman identity. In a sense that, while some women demand gender parity, others are precariously participating in sustaining elements of a patriarchal structure to ensure continuity of morality.

What I endeavoured to do, was to assert that female identity cannot be understood as a static, singular fixed social construct. There are numerous factors which contri-bute to shape womanhood. It is advisable for us as society to address this phenomenon which I believe will reduce elements of women oppression.

) To comment or express views about the issue highlighted in this column, go to www.express-news. Express Goldfields andamp; NFS welcomes anyone interested in contributing to the weekly column as public observers or citizen journalists. There is no payment for writers. Send your opinion piece (not exceeding 500 words, Sotho or English) to Teboho.setena@volksblad.com

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.