VARIOUS BRANDS OF FEMINISM

Angry feminist boring, caring one a gem

Can the compassionate, real African women stand up for society as a whole?

In Summary
  • One old woman said their voices have always been heard. 
  • This is what I learnt from her: It is not in shouting that you are heard. It is in understanding your environment.

I was in a meeting the other day and the topic of gender equality or inequality came up. You know how that topic really riles women up. Some men too because they feel offended that women have just refused to sit in the kitchen and not be heard.

Let me make a disclaimer here. Yes, there are women who are really disadvantaged and something is being and should be done. But let us not downplay the gains that have been made. Or that have been there because we were too busy being angry birds to notice.

So you know how it starts, women who have never had to light a fire and cook on three stones start yelling how women all over the countryside are slaving away, not allowed to air their opinions on important matters. (Just because he is a man, it is not automatic he will be ‘allowed’ to air his opinions.

Men also fight for a seat at the table). Not getting to go to school or have any money and are beaten daily by their husbands. Then the men, internationally educated CEOs, start fighting for boy child because now women are more empowered. Meanwhile, there is no woman on his board.

 

So here we are, seated in a Nairobi hotel thinking we know how things on the ground are and passing on a very sensationalised narrative, while the white people in the room look aghast.

If they will only listen to a man, make sure you know how to talk to the men in your life to be able to voice your opinions, even though they do it as their own. If they respect money. Make the most money in your home and become a puppeteer. Tag strings when you want your agenda pushed.

When I started travelling for work to various parts of the country, I felt that other than going to do the work I was sent to do, it was my woman duty to ‘empower’ women. Because women outside our modern cities must really be oppressed, unlike us ‘modern and exposed’ women.

Boy was I in for a shock. They empowered me. In Mpeketoni, a good number of women owned the motorcycles and bicycles, and are gangsta enough to ride them with babies strapped to their bodies. In Chwele, old women, widows and young single mothers made up a third of a boda boda sacco. The vice chairman and treasurer were women, and many others were officials.

In Ahero, I met many boss ladies who sold groceries but owned a bike or two, or even a tuk-tuk, that they hired out to young men. These are a few examples because I have a word count.

So in my confusion, really my disappointment, of not getting a chance to give my ‘we shall overcome’ speech, I sat down with some ladies over porridge, sweet potatoes and unsliced bread and asked them how they live. How did they make sure their voices were heard?

Can we accept though that it is not always as bad as we want it to be? Because we are trying to cash out on the false narrative?

One old woman said their voices have always been heard. What? That’s not what I heard! (Insert white cat meme)

This is what I learnt from the old woman. It is not in shouting that you are heard. It is in understanding your environment. If they will only listen to a man, make sure you know how to talk to the men in your life to be able to voice your opinions, even though they do it as their own.

 

If they respect money. Make the most money in your home and become a puppeteer. Tag strings when you want your agenda pushed.

I respect that. It is not how I would normally do it but it is working for the women. They seem to be flourishing in the places I have been. They seem to be appearing in what was once seen as men-only industries.

Can we contextualise our fight for equality? Yes, there are girls missing school because of periods, there are also boys missing school because it is demanded of them to herd their family sheep. That may be wiped out in the next famine. We lose in both scenarios.

Can we accept though that it is not always as bad as we want it to be? Because we are trying to cash out on the false narrative? Maybe because we have unresolved issues? Can we accept that our brands of feminism can be different? That I do not have to burn my bra (really I do not want to burn my bra, I like the support).

Can we contextualise our fight for equality? Yes, there are girls missing school because of periods, there are also boys missing school because it is demanded of them to herd their family sheep. That may be wiped out in the next famine. We lose in both scenarios.

The angry feminist is old and boring. Can we have compassionate, real African women standing up for society as a whole?

Tomorrow my firstborn turns 18. Happy birthday my child Maria.

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