Men vs women: The battle continues

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I have a guilty pleasure, a secret rarely revealed. Well, here it is; I am a closet-fan of The Hostel. You may now proceed to judge me. Oh, you don’t know what the Hostel is? (And you live in Kenya?) Let me clue you in: The hostel is a Ugandan based comedy/drama about a couple of university students living in a hostel. (And now the name makes sense). In the second season, in the name of adding flavor to the show, a new character was scripted in. The script writer couldn’t have made their opinion on Kenyan women any clearer in the addition of the loud, brash and opinionated Makona, who has an innate habit of bursting into Kiswahili, which leaves our neighbors on the other side of the lake acting like she just spoke a dead language.

Let’s face it girls; we don’t rate high on the scale of ‘Ideal African Woman’. Our sisters in the land of the crane, for example, are openly viewed as better wife material. (Not that we’re willing to do what they do, so…). A quick survey of magazine headlines is enough to show you that things are not as they have always been. With classics like “So She Earns More Than You Do” and “Does She Wear the Pants in the Relationship?” it’s clear that a transition seems to be taking place. And yet, this transition began almost at the time of independence! So what exactly is going on? Will we ever settle down in our genders and stop fighting over the bread rolls?

Look at it this way, pre-colonial Kenyan communities were basically patriarchal. Sociologists would refer to them as primitive societies whose basic goal was survival. Science has shown us that men are generally stronger than women in their muscular build so it makes sense that in that era, when brawn was the currency of the day, for society to have been patriarchal. Then colonialism swept in and riding gingerly on its coattails was the feminist movement. We have great examples of Kenyan women who stepped up into leadership, despite opposition and of whom we speak of in pride to this day. Ladies such as the late Wangari Maathai are gems who stood out from the male-populated political scene. Kenyan girls then grew up with these great examples of strong, independent women whose greatest achievements didn’t end up being digested at the end of the day.

Nowadays, a woman will leave the house at the same time as her husband, head out for a day at the office, and bring home the other half of the bacon. She has her own money and as a result, has a higher degree of independence than a lady who would have to go to her husband to ask for money for everything. They could even be said to be on the same level; a fact that does not sit well with all folks (MAWE, hoyee).

To such folk, I tell that times have changed. You may not have gotten the memo so this is me letting you know. The currency as it stands, is brains not brawn and unfortunately for you, changes societal order. It’s not a war, as you seem to think it is, but you make it one every day when you try to mold us into this ‘ideal’ that is unrealistic.

Feminism aside, it is clear to see that we are a generation brought up with a serious case of ‘Daddy-issues’. A significant percentage was brought up by single mothers or with the ghost of a father figure. So boys didn’t exactly have someone to emulate. As women were experiencing an era of empowerment, men were actually going through a season of neglect! Therein comes a disconnect between the sexes. The only solution would be empowerment to all while checking to ensure no one actually tries to ‘sit’ on anyone. But right now, everyone’s too busy shouting across the board to actually sit down and think up a solution. Aluta Continua…

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