In these changing times where women are constantly slaving to break down societal discrepancies, it is important to be realistic about a few things and be able to come to terms with the fact that just as Rome was not built in a day, change is also an arduous gradual journey. It is time for Black Women to know their worth and value. This is really of dire need especially in African societies, such as in Zimbabwe, where men are taught from a young to keep women submissive and docile. In my humble opinion if the docility from the woman is out of choice then it could still be a feminist move. But if being submissive is not an option then that is where the problem is. Black women should come to terms with the fact that only we can break down the chains of oppression and make our voices clear about the things that bother us. Only we can teach men of our delicacy.
I grew up in a society where it was acceptable for a man to beat his woman right in front of his friends, and that awarded him respect from his counterparts. Growing up we constantly heard the phrase ‘’A man who does beat his wife does not love her’’, and in a society where we were taught, like caged birds, that elders were always right, we never really questioned why. In recent years I have to understand that in our traditional society men are most likely to listen to men and not women, because they respect each other and know that they operate the same way. I remember a Black Label 2018 AD, where an orchestrated group of women ambushed a match between Kaiser Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, sang a short song before the match against women abuse and left. I mean the effort was to be commended, but the number of men who actually understood the message or even sang along was disappointing. I was then left to ponder what effect that same melody would have made if it were actually presented by men themselves.
Now you may ask, how do you push an Empowerment agenda in a society where men are not willing to listen to women? I do not have an answer, but if there is one thing I know. As long as we still have women who see themselves through the perspective of men then we still have a long way to go. There is nothing that offends me more than a woman who is abused and does nothing about it. It is an utter shame to the revolution, an insult to the strong women fighting gender equality.
Growing up as a black girl it is imbedded onto our subconscious that we were made to please men, sit home be pretty and make babies, not forgetting to feed men’s egos and fragile masculinity by bowing down to everything they say. I grew up in a society where a successful woman is frowned upon by men. That only tells you that we as black women are a threat; a threat to the imbalance.
A black woman will in a black society exploit herself all in the name of maintaining societal peace instead of standing up against inequality, and that is the reason why the change itself is moving at a snail’s pace. This is why African men will always feel entitled over our bodies and lives. Still the black women will not conform to the movement; will not give up the key to patriarchy. I guess it is because as women we are afraid of uncomfortability. We are addicted to the imbalance because it is the only thing we know, and have known. But don’t they say for there to be peace there must be war?
At the same time the few of feminists we have in Africa are not proper role models and most of them think that trashing men behind their social media is the main trait of a ‘’True Feminist’’, when in actual fact the fight is not at all about that. So you find that Africa is growing a bunch of girls who do even understand what feminism is all about. The closest synonym to Feminism, correct me if I’m wrong, is Gender Equality. Fighting to have the same importance and gain the same respect in society as men. Not babbling about how useless men are.
But, change is not a walkover. We as black women must be realistic about some things. It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. So in as much as it is a virtue to be stern, it is also important to recognize the sort of communities we live in, and in that we will most likely be able to understand why things are the way they are. I remember a 2013 walk in South Africa where women of all races, age and economic status marched against Rape. The radical ones in this walk were even more or less naked. Some had posters written something to do with women being entitled to their bodies, that whichever way they dress does not give men the right to rape them. That is great indeed I thought to myself. But look. Objectifying yourself, in an African society, will if not always have consequences. There is no way a march by naked women make men more sympathetic to black womens’ cries. We must not disregard the fact we live in a society where women are constantly objectified by men.So as a feminist why fuel that? Why put ourselves in comprising positions that only lead to us being hurt? To break the system we need to be part of it, one with it, only then can we paralyse it’s tantacles.
So in as much those who call themselves ‘feminists’ believe in imposing their ideas it is also important not to be too harsh on the culture and societies we are in, it is wise to make the same broken system work for us.
Photo Credits: –> @marian_charumbira