By Julie Nxadi
Being a woman is tough. Not because of childbirth and the intricacy of applying mascara but because everyone (including other women) seems to hate you. I realise that this is a bold and generalised statement but not entirely unfounded or at least not in my opinion. The rape and domestic violence statistics speak volumes about how a substantial amount of men feel about women, and then the fact that a woman will snatch another woman’s eyeballs out over a man says all there is to be said about the so called sisterhood. Women seem to be on the bottom of everyone’s list and nobody seems to know how they got there.
Frank discussions with female friends of mine have resulted in men being related to every being in the animal kingdom. Sentences are punctuated with hand gestures and are drenched with onomatopoeic slurs as women relate their nightmarish encounters with men they dub inconsiderate, selfish and ignorant. However, at the end of all the ranting and cursing…the cliché “boys will be boys” still prevails.
Now I could take on the stereotypical feminist standpoint and throw my hands up in disgust at the way that men treat woman but that would be too easy. I’d rather point out the fact that we as a society have taught women how to treat men and in so doing cultivated the way men treat women. We worship them from birth. It is a sad truth that is apparently here to stay. I was naive enough to assume that women my age were enlightened enough to know that there really isn’t anything that special about a man other than the obvious mechanics. So, imagine my horror when a woman my age with all her education and English said she would rather have sons because “girls are whores”.
We insist on making all sorts of excuses on behalf of the handful of men who treat women like rubbish and in so doing detract from those men who hold women in a high regard. We, as women, account all inappropriate behaviour displayed by men to them being men. I mean surely even men are insulted at the notion of them having absolutely no control over their penises (so much so that they urinate and scratch in public because apparently; once the penis has spoken…it has spoken).
We are living in a society where young gay men are being beaten to death for not being man enough. Lesbian teens are being raped “cure” them of their “disease” because God forbid anyone say no to a penis. Women are married to men who have illegitimate children sprinkled all over South Africa and dare not stand their ground against the man of the house. Really? In a time when HIV/AIDS has our country in a choke hold, women are still allowing themselves to be subjected to repeated infidelity and physical abuse. In a time of female rights and feminist action there are still very few people who believe that there is such a thing as a husband raping his wife. In 2011 we are still making excuses rapists…really? Now, I know the darkness that surrounds abusive relationships so I sympathize, however what frustrates me is how blasé most communities are when it comes to these situations. This “men are men” attitude is a load of rubbish.
According to (black) women the options are as follows: if you find a man you love you can either a) accept that he is going to cheat on you and ask that he has the courtesy to cover his tracks or b) leave every man that cheats on you and land up having slept with every man alive. We have been robbed of our confidence. We as women are not confident enough to expect any respect out of our relationships. All we expect is to be cheated on and beat on and if we aren’t we just assume that the man involved is some sort of master of deception. Women weaken themselves in the shadow of men, we women who start and end wars.
I find myself wallowing in a pool of disappointment when it comes to women’s willingness to shy away from the glory that is rightfully theirs. When a woman is confident in herself and does not depend on the opinion of another, whether they be male or female, I believe she flourishes in ways that far surpass anything she could have imagined for herself.
Now I am not a bra burning feminist, I am even honest enough to admit that in the modern world; I do not really know what true feminism is. What I do know that I am stubborn and I wish that a few of my sisters would be a little more stubborn with me. I won’t try and do every little thing a man does…but I will never let a man tell me what I CANNOT do.