I have always fancied the dream of bringing forth a daughter into the world; pepper her with fondness, nurture and affirm her, watch her bud through the vagaries of adolescence; where – poignantly – she might get rebellious and think I’m lame; not so cool anymore (mostly true). Then as I turn grey, I’d relish watching her beautifully blossom into a maverick self-assured woman. Now, as I get more cognizant of the dark underbelly that patriarchy unravels and the grimness therein, I’m dubious about that dream; not because of a mercurial mind but the excruciating acknowledgement that the world (me and you) has trudged to present auspicious conditions for a female to thrive, at least not yet.
The recent spate of Gender Based Violence – predominantly meted on women – had me poring through Twitter to read people’s sentiments on the topic. Engrossed as I was on the online discourse, I found myself subconsciously humming to a Kanye West song; Violent Crimes. Here’s an abridged excerpt from the lyrics; CAVEAT: Lyrics might be obscene and profane to some.
“…Niggas is savage, niggas is monsters. Niggas is pimps, niggas is players. ‘Till niggas have daughters, now they are precautious…”
The general tenor of the song forms around Kanye reminiscing and juxtaposing his frivolous days with women to the lucid reality of being a father to three daughters, all through, whilst conveying the regrets vis-à-vis his past and apprehension for the future well-being of his daughters.
Kanye’s trepidation wasn’t just his, it is a wider projection of how most men feel towards women. Most men are disposed to care about GBV on the basis of the woman being related to them in some sort.
When not, we tend to put up a charade and pussy-foot our way around addressing the real crux of the problem when it seems far-flung and distant; being so vocal online but receding to our patriarchal cocoons when the sun cedes, profoundly imparting our hypocrisy and double standards.
It Is for this reason why GBV averse agitators undeservedly feel the need to appeal to our emotions with statements like; it could be your sister, aunt, mother et al.
The truism is most men are conservatives in regard to social change and would want to maintain the status quo and have women below them In the pecking order. Subverting and subjugating women whilst offering pittances and alms to give the illusion of fleeting to non- existent progress.
These play into the laborious rigmarole of women seeking redress after rape or assault ordeals. They are asked questions like; Why did you go to his place? What were you wearing? Why were you out late at night? And all that jazz of shifting the blame on the victim, sadly, catching flak even from fellow miseducated women.
The reality Is that we men are innately shrouded in male privilege and are fretful to forfeit that advantage. We want the woman to stay conventional in a contemporary world; cook, clean, conceive and bend over backwards to tend to our needs whilst pursuing the demands of a career and whatnot.
The orthodox ideals of patriarchy are arduous and untenable with the dynamics of the changing world; wherein the woman Is getting more self-assured and the man is misguidedly feeling threatened.
Methinks we need to expeditiously reappraise and reform ideologies and rules to avert the constraints around the liberty of women. Men need to do better to foster ‘uncomfortable’ but necessary changes for the modern woman, we need to do more to create an almost conclusive if not optimal conclusive parity between the sexes.
We need to show prudence regardless of our affiliations to a woman. We need to be more proactive in agitating for social change and alleviating the threat of GBV. It’s not going to be easy these changes, neither will they be sudden but we definitely can get there.
If you have some minutes to spare listen to Lauryn Hill’s album; The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill.
Maybe then , I can assert my dream.