To Feminists: Women are not Powerless Victims

2013-12-21 04:07

On a cold winter day I and my cousins decided it was time. Up the mountain we want and did the deed.  We came back from the mountain and had a family feast cows and sheep were slaughtered satya sathlutha.

Songs of joy and jubilations were sung because the boys came back from the mountain as men not as boys. A tradition so old even our Tata Nelson Mandela did it.

Increasing are debates that such cultural traditions are oppressive. A similar debate made by feminists about women who practice their culture, religion or even sexual expressions. Feminists argue that these women are helpless and are victims. I object to this.

As humans were are born with a conscious, when something is wrong we know. And when we know, we have choices either to carry on with what is wrong and submit or rebel, object and do away with-it.

This blog is provoked by a twitter debate I had; Twitter Feminists believed cultural practices such as polygamy, circumcisions and some religious practices are oppressive to women and in the case of circumcision to Xhosa boys and that they don’t have a choice but to helplessly submit to them.

This also included the cultural practice of Venda women who when greeting both men and other women lie down one sided and clap their hands as a sign of respect. This they do to both greet and thank people. Twitter Feminist found this to be oppressive to Venda women.

I must before getting into the debate make it a point that I do[User1]  admit patriarchy exists. That is why we have one women president in the continent of Africa and we never had one in South Africa since the inception of the republic. It exists at home, in schools and even in holy places like as churches. Society views women less to men and we all know that is not true.

My argument is grounded on the belief that we humans are created equally and because of that women are not always victims. They can see what is oppressive to them and choose to either submit to it or leave it. They are never helpless victims because they can self help.

Muslim Debate

Most argue that the way Muslim women respect their men, the clothes they were covering their bodies and even the way and times they pray is oppressive. I find flaws in this.

Most Muslim women don’t see these practices as oppressive to them; rather they see them as their cultural and religious beliefs. There are other Muslim women who find them oppressive, rebel and do away with them.

I find both sides acceptable, people have choices. You either see no faults with it and stay or see them and leave. You who left has no business in looking at the women who did not leave less intelligent than you are.

Polygamy and Polyandry

One other debate is that Polygamy is oppressive to women as a man can marry as many wives as he want.

I also find flaws in this; many women enter into polygamous relationships knowing. These women as I have said are not victims, they enter knowingly and are not forced by anyone.

An example would be our president, his Excellency, Jacob Zuma of Nkandla who has more than three wives. With an ex Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma who married Zuma and became a second wife.

We can all agree here that Nkosazana has a brain, which is why today she heads the African Union. When marrying Zuma knowing he had a wife, I certainly don’t believe and I would have never seen her as an oppressed women but one exercising her right to choose. Like she exercised that right when they divorced.

One will quickly say “hey, that’s why they got divorced, Nkosazana saw the oppression”. If that is so, please explain how a woman who holds so many degrees in Economics and is in an exec of a company would become Jacob Zuma’s latest wife married in 2012. Is this old, strong, independent woman also oppressed, or she exercised her right to choose?

Whispers ( or has her own motives ) moves own

The irony here is that feminists always shy away from the Polyandry debate where a woman has more than one husbands. Are these men who choose to marry those women also oppressed?

A similar debate to Pornography

Here feminists get torn in two sides, the anti-pornography and pro-pornography debate. The anti-pornography debate as obvious from its name sees women as powerless objectified beings that are used by men in porn for their sexual fantasies. They view it as gross violation of women's rights.

On the other hand, other feminists strongly argue that pornography is a form of expression for women. They argue that it’s an essential component of women’s sexual expression. “Who are anti-pornography feminists to limit women freedoms they ask”. Women to they are now weak objects as the opposing debates argues, they are strong being who are not scared of being paraded in magazines and films naked.

Pornography debates are similar to that of prostitution.

I found both sides interesting and acceptable, like I have said: women have a conscious, if they find porn oppressive they must do away with it.

But if they enjoy it and see it as a form of expressing themselves sexually then they must get in front of the camera and used their God given talent because it’s theirs body and no anyone’s right to decide but them.

Venda Women debate

Interestingly, this debate was sparked by our honorable fire-pool owner president of Nkandla. Speaking in isiZulu, Zuma giggled and said she was impressed by the way people in Venda show respect.

He commended Venda women and said if he did not have so many wives already, he would add a Venda woman on his wives.

A Women’s Right Group in Eastern Cape reacted “how dare Zuma commend the oppression of Venda women”. The woman who headed the group is Xhosa N.B not a Venda woman.

Twitter reacted, one of the people I follow on Twitter is @FloMasebe a Venda woman who is famous on our TV screens. As twitter was getting outraged, she tweeted.

“Please find something else to be outraged about, we vhaVhenda women are doing just fine. Ndo losha. Aa!”

This was followed by many other retweets and tweets from her and other Vhenda women who said they found nothing hurting with Zuma’s comments as their culture is not oppressive to them.

She went on to say when she won an Award in one of her acting roles she went to Nigeria to accept it. When she got on stage, she lay by her side, clapped and thanked the audience and the people who gave her the award(something Jacob Zuma saw as worthy and interesting).FloMasebe is a strong, independent, educated women and she does not find her culture oppressive.

Interestingly, its people outside her Venda culture that look into it and say it is oppressive. They speak on behalf of the Venda people and mistranslate them. They are not oppressed; here @FloMasebe tweeted and asked

“You cant even grasp the essence of your own culture yet you make it your business to call mine oppressive”

Same could be said to those who say isiXhosa culture of ulwaluko (male circumcision) is oppressive. When I went to the mountain I was not forced by anyone, I went there on my own will. I was even under age and my mum disapproved. I was not oppressed and did not experience any form of oppression.

While I accept the debates from Feminists, I have a problem with its flawed assumptions that women are always victims. They are not, they always have choices and whatever choice it is to me is fine, as long at the person sees no oppression in it.

Women are not always victims; they know when they are being oppressed. Some choose to submit to that oppression, some choose to rebel. Some don’t see anything oppressive and live and do their cultural customs happily.

I see those who see no oppression and those who rebel just fine. Who am I to impose my beliefs of what is wrong or right with their culture?

I have a problem with the African youth who no longer sees value in their tradition. Increasing, our youth are finding their African cultural custom oppressive. It is the same view of the people who viewed actions and found ways of living of Africans barbaric.

Culture and tradition are not fixed, it is bound to change with time and that is inevitable. But to stand on a hill and point at people who value and practice their culture or religion happily and say they are oppressed and must be freed is not different from those who came from our land and saw us an uncivilized people who needed to be saved.

I do however find oppression in domestic abuse on women and children. I find oppression and child trafficking and child pornography. I find oppression in rape and the death of young boys who go to the circumcision school. These must not be mistaken as a result of of culture and tradition and therefore warrant unfair judgments. These are social ills that oppress our people. Lets all not get twisted.

Like Nelson Mandela "I came to accept that I have no right whatsoever to judge others in terms of my own customs" for that will respect others and not judge.

One more interesting thing is that the debate I had on Twitter was dominated with Gay male feminists. I also have a problem with them, they think their sexuality gave them an imaginary vagina and they know more about women than women know about themselves. And this is not directed TO ALL GAYS, but rather to those who speak on behalf of women. Same thing I would say about a white person who will act like they know about a black struggle than black know themselves. Again, the reduction of women into helpless victims with no brains is rather insulting to them.

TWEET ME @esethu_u

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