It's the manly thing to do

2013-09-03 15:15

I read in horror a while back as a fellow tweep recounted how she got verbally abused, almost got attacked and raped all under 5 minutes just because she is a lesbian and a woman. This happened in broad daylight as she was walking in the streets and according to her bystanders just watched or turned a blind eye even though her life might have been in serious danger.

The South African constitution protects the rights of every citizen whether you black, white, you're a man, woman, gay or straight. It does so because it recognises that people are equal in the eyes of the law and should not be discriminated against based on their lifestyle or gender. But that is more true on paper than it is a reality.

The constitution is over shadowed by a patriarchal, misogynist and a sexist society that the world seems to comfortably operate by. Women are unfairly discriminated against as the fairer sex who must obey their men and know their place.  All this narrative does is promote a sexist mentality that women are fragile species who need protection but if men are majority of perpetrators, how can the they also be protectors?

Misogyny and sexism is deeply entrenched in our communities that some regard it as the norm and way of life. Men go by daily preaching how a women's place is in the kitchen, that he is the head of the household and that while it is a man's right to be a philandering egomaniac, she is emasculating your you if she indulges in the same proclivities men often do.

A few days ago I was talking to friend of mine who said she wishes that she was born a man. That's a profound statement to make, which I found peculiar but intrigued by. I asked her why she would say such a thing and she said quoting James Brown that this is a man's world with women in it.

According to my her she says she has to fight everyday to prove herself all because she was born with a vagina and not a penis. She said whether its in a relationship, work place or at home men always find a way to try and limit her ambitions . That while she is still climbing the corporate ladder some men and women don't take her seriously, some think she is a secretary but what hurts most is that at the workplace women call her a bitch who slept her way to the top. She concluded by asking that if she was a man, she would have not endured all this mistrust and judgement. Instead she would receive praise and seen as powerful just like her male colleagues who are in the same pay grade as she is.

This here is exactly what is wrong with our society. It has allowed itself to excuse misogyny, patriarchy and sexism that women who break this mould are labelled sluts and ostracised. Feminism by the same masculinity is seen as being anti men and a emotional ism.

That when condemning these injustices you seen as thinking with your emotions rather than using logic. It is the same masculinity that has refer to feminism as being anti male and detrimental to women's emancipation. Like white privilege,  this kind of behaviour refuses to go acknowledge its existence causes extensive damage all because men think it's their right to be alpha males at the expense of women.

I was in a bar a eavesdropping on a conversation between a man and woman sitting on the table behind me. He was trying to pick her up but he was crude and sexist in ways that made me cringe. He kept on saying how he does not want to date successful women. That it's natural for men to be 'providers' in the house. That the story of Adam and Eve made it crystal clear that men lead and women follow.

This kind of chatter is usually the foundation of what becomes physical, verbal and emotional abuse. The alpha male who cannot stand being challenged by a 'inferior'gender will shout at you today, raise his hand tomorrow, slap you next week, sexually abuse her next month and kill her in six months time.

All because in his mind a women is meant to listen to him and his word is final.

While I admire men who stand up for women it has to be more than initiating campaigns such as  “Not in my name. ” It has to go to the root of the problem and acknowledge that male privilege is at the expense of women who have suffered for centuries.

It has to stop feeling entitled to how women choose to live their lives, who to love and what career to pursue. It has to confront the privilege it enjoys whether its in religion, tradition or in the workplace.

A popular comedian recently said how can a 'joke' he told be sexist if thousands of women thought it was funny. Why are men getting worked up over it and NOT women. That popular opinion must be right over a group who were outraged by it.

That is where the problem lies. Patriarchy, misogyny and sexism is so entrenched that for some it's a way of life that refuses to acknowledge it's own privilege.

I'm on Twitter @BongaDlulane....

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