Men who hate women who wear pants

2008-05-23 00:00

PACSA’s Men Making a Difference Project is dismayed by the rise in the violation of women’s and children’s rights that have become the order of the day, to the extent that women are even being attacked for what they wear.

These recent incidents point to some unhealthy and destructive underlying factors. Who would you blame? Is it culture, religion or socialisation? Is it politically motivated? Is it a failure of our democracy or constitution to protect its citizens?

To answer these questions requires an analysis of underlying factors contributing to the public stripping of women who wear pants and miniskirts.

We therefore hold the view that the current miniskirt and pants sagas playing out in the media point to “fragmented masculinity”.

This is a result of, namely: • the socialisation of men, which suggest that men are socialised to be strong, aggressive, dominant, physically powerful, rational, competitive and unemotional; and • masculine behaviour that can be traced through the industrial revolution; colonisation through conquest and christianisation and the growth of the market economy that contributed to the growth of cities and factories and the migrant labour system.

These developments fragmented the masculine identity. A rural man left his household for work and was separated from his family. What we now see is men facing job role changes, trapped between old-style and new-style roles, with a growing number of female-headed households. Plus, the Bill of Rights affirms equal access to opportunities and resources for men and women.

Men must now learn to compete with women for resources and opportunities. These factors are contributing to what is now called “fragmented” or “crisis” masculinity. We now observe the harsh realities of men’s changing “status role”, translating into violence. This violence is projected on to women and children. Women’s “claims” of autonomy appear to be viewed as a violation of men’s entitlement.

Pacsa’s Men Making a Difference Project holds the view that men need to be taught to utilise their competitiveness, control, physical strength and rationale in a more productive way.

Public stripping of women has to be confronted and eliminated at all costs.

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