When societal perception gets on your nerves

By Jay Kirigo

If you were born where I was born and raised, you would be surprised at the words that come out of my mouth, the thoughts in my head or even the things I write. In my world, a woman is raised to the be neck and the man the head; an analogy often used to hide the real intentions hidden in the  patriarchal nature of this sentiment.  In a home where you are told to look for a ‘good rich man’, who will ‘take care of you’, and all you have to do is play house and submit. “Submit.”  they said.

educated women ‘refused to submit’ and cater to their needs as they should, that in the modern day women have garnered too much power which was going to their heads.

I don’t understand how women don’t see the intensity of the word. The actual meaning of it. To me it is but another form of slavery. I was sitting on a bus one morning, and the radio presenter was facilitating a conversation on how men are going for uneducated women to marry instead of the enlightened ones. This conversation incited a lot of calls from men complaining of how educated women ‘refused to submit’ and cater to their needs as they should, that in the modern day women have garnered too much power which was going to their heads. You would expect the presenter, who was a woman, to wrap things up with wisdom like, ‘marriage is a companionship not a form of employment with one person bossing around the other’. Sadly and to my disappointment, she ‘advised’ women to submit to their men, attend to their needs, listen and obey them, since every woman needs a man and no one wants to live alone. Walking to the office all I could think was , ‘what kind of fucked up society raised this person to believe that they have that sort of power? Who said men are the heads and not the necks? Who gave men the standing of the ‘head of the house’? Who in their right minds saw a woman as powerless enough that she should live her life to please a man?’

I was angry, infuriated.

I was raised by a single mother who also believes in patriarchy kind of society and men having ‘one over women,’ you would think that is how I turned out. I have always been angered by remarks like those made in the radio station are made; I was even madder when my classmate, psychology student, aired the same comments in class, saying education has destroyed women making them think they are equal to men. Tell me this, in what way are women not equal to men? What way? Last I checked the only difference between men and women are based in the physiological and less related to actual manifestations of ‘power’. Just because I have a vagina and you have a penis, it does not mean that you have something over me. In fact our genetils have nothing to do with who we are as people. In high school I was told girls are good at languages so it would be better leave the sciences to the boys. I, in turn, went ahead and did three sciences and aced them, to show them a girls’ ‘fragile’ brain can also crack organic chemistry even better than boys.

What is my point?

I dream of a day that the society will understand that gender is just but a social construct. A day that women will realize they are more than homemakers. A day that men will wake up and realize what their ancestors taught them is more of a fallacy; A day that the society will not see man or woman but just a person; A day when society will not see wife and husband but just two people that love each other; Schools that don’t see a male and female student but just a student. My dream may seem far-fetched, but I think we nee it more than ever especially in our society today.

 

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