It took strenuous conviction to write this post.
Many know me as an ardent Feminist. I believe the much maligned Feminism is purely pursuit for social justice.
What is wrong with that?
So I tried to write this post how a disgruntled man would feel or see the threat of Feminism.
#TheBoyChild is now an endangered species, thanks to the rise of women empowerment.
Sole square blame is attributed to the emergence of feminism scaling up the ranks of women in society.
The old families were content to have their daughters and mothers stay at home to bear children, shuffle trips into dense forests foraging for fuel wood, lunge uphill pots on heads or backs and run minor family errands within the confines of the societies they lived in.
All the while society eyes were trained on them, measuring performances, keeping them in their place, allocating star rating for the most ardent so and so’s wife.
Now women want out.
Fast forward to late 80’s and much of 90’s, the women liberation movement peaked in the millennium age. #TheGilrChild picks up.
All Millennium Development Goals 2000 aimed at reaping maximum benefits for the woman and her daughter.
They must go to school, must own land property, have less babies, spend time away from home but in class or working, earning. They should line up on the inheritance chain and be given priority in allocation of resources.
She must have it all.
If nation or society resists, affirmative action should step in and ensure “she” accesses everything out of her reach.
Fingers pointed at male -scheming to keep ‘her’ out of the goodies pot. Everything must be done to turn things around in her favour. And so that has been the song since the launch of Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action in 1995.
The blueprint was a mother daughter affair; the boy out of the picture.
Did family lose or gain at the ascension of the woman in society?
Betty Friedan the early female suffragist in the 60’s challenged traditional notions, which held women could only find fulfillment as wives and mothers.
What do we see now?
Increase in Violence
As women fought for freedom to move out of home confines and find work outside the home, men lashed back, often with violence. To show wives the upper side of who was the ‘man” the strongest. Cases of marital violence rose in homes leaving families prone and susceptible to breaking up.
Broken homes equal broken societies.
Divorce and Separation
The safe family space was shattered and so began its disintegration. The pace continues to date with alarming figures of divorce rates, separated families, dysfunctional and blended families clutching at survival.
Rise of Single headed households
We have a new social construction taking place. The rise of single headed households has tripled the last three decades and today in Kenya, the numbers stand at 21%. Majority led by working mothers. They claim the job/ career is their first and foremost husband. It provides for the family, after all. Men as family heads have been cut off.
Of teaching family values
The role of a wife diminished while that of a mother has become a delicate balance juggling between home and work spaces. When a mother is away from home and family lacks a father what happens to the children? What values are passed onto the children? And who passes on these values?
What’s the children’s future view of a family unit? Absence of parental love is no mean feat to deal with for young children or thereafter.
Are we bringing up children in error? Who will teach them family values or cultural convocations?
Men shirking Responsibilities
The push and determination by women to prove they can provide material needs of family, have led to men shirking responsibilities. Men’s incomes are no longer planned around family. It’s estimated of family incomes, 90% of a mother‘s earnings benefits family while only 30% of a man’s directly benefits family.
Where does the 70% go?
The boy child lagging behind
As the scriptures puts “Let older women teach the younger women.” Who will teach the boy lagging behind, if minus his father?
From the days of our forefathers boys spent time out with men and fellow male age groups to learn community values.
They learnt do and don’ts of society; they learnt to go out and hunt, to provide for family. Is it any wonder present young men can’t handle family responsibility? The new family set up doesn’t allow for it to happen.
Today an only son living with a female nanny for second company is likely to interact with saloonists and mall tellers than older men. God didn’t intend it that way. There are things men learn and do from men and there are things women learn and do from women
Even the mundane like giving out a bunch of flowers.
A woman who sees her son or daughter go astray will no doubt feel unhappy, the dollars earned at work notwithstanding. So is the society full of angry depressed women?
When carers of society are troubled, the whole society is troubled.
Too much empowerment
It’s said a much empowered woman intimidates men. They don’t feel adequate and sure or secure around her. Could this be why many are turning onto their heels from proposing marriage and resorting to heavy drinking and the scandalous caught mounting beasts?
Did empowerment kill the family?
We live in a patriachical society, where women feature on the lower ranks. They can’t go to war or be killed in war. They are bearers of children and look after family while men protect society. But when you see them clad in military fatigues and give orders as Commander in Chief, then know a family coup has taken place and matriarchy has arrived in full swing.
Is that the right order of society?
Are the males brought up by women singly turning out to be more feminine in outlook speech and thought patterns? We need a bit of more research.
We all want our sons to have six pack ripples and deep voices. Just so we can separate them from their sisters. If they twist their hairs and put on blonde weaves, in competition with their mothers, I am left shaking my head at the family remnants.
The new competition for family resources (Girls want a cut of the family wealth) has left distaste in sons and other members of family, there’s ongoing scheming, fights and killings to the detriment of the once stable family organ, where everyone knew and kept their place.
Would you say Beijing reorganized or disorganized families?
In the process of uplifting women did we upstage the family unit? Giving women equal rights to vote like their male counterparts has turned detrimental to family? While lives have really become better for women as they join politics, the military, public office, even run for presidency.
Has the family suffered a toll?
Many single young women unable to juggle both worlds of work, wifely duties and motherhood have sidestepped marriage altogether and chosen single lives. But while nature endures, children have resulted out of one night stands. Working mothers go out to quell the natural desires of both men and women. A fatigued mother in a home with an absent father cannot have it easy steering the family train to success.
And men are piling the guilt on women choosing the career field than their families first. It is said frustrated and abandoned men die earlier than their female counterparts, because men don’t handle stress well
To be a housewife is considered backtracking on our gains. Choosing careers instead has impacted negatively onto family. It has been a forty year journey culminating in current anti women attacks.
So Beijing deconstructed our social pillar- The family!
And you can be sure women empowerment is not toppling off the local and global Agenda soon.