It feels like forever since our last MonoMom date.
Spring is here. At least in most of Sub Saharan Africa. I’ve always thought of Spring as a happy season. The burst of colour in contrast to the grey tones of the winter that just ended;
the sound of birds chirping away cheerfully along with the promise of new beginnings. Happy Right?
Contrarily however, the energy all over the world, has been quite sombre to say the least.
News report after news report of yet another case of gender based violence…another women murdered in the most gruesome way.
One is tempted to shout out at least more than once: “Stop this world, I want to get off”.
So I want us to today, narrow in on the boys we are privileged to raise. I want us to focus for a minute on the male child.
Our fathers, brothers, sons.
The Adams of our generation.
What went wrong?
Well, we know a lot has gone wrong in Namibia. From the days of Juanita Mabula to little Avihe…
So let me rephrase. What went right?
Enormous strides are made towards reaffirming the girl child and her place in society.
A lot of emphasis has gone into supporting the girl child.
Charity organisations helping the girl child find her voice.
New opportunities for the girl child in previously male dominated career fields.
Voting rights for women.
The list goes on and on.
And that is absolutely fantastic.
I mean, what a time to be alive right.
Could it be that in the process, we neglected to adequately prepare the male child to embrace these new breed of empowered females, and thereby created a generation of weak traumatized males who cannot appreciate a woman who has come of her own? Men who take offense at the way she instills personal boundaries firmly and feel a certain sense of entitlement to the bodies of women.
In this day and age, I still personally experience comments like, “What woman travels so much alone?”
“She is too ambitious” or “for a woman, you are doing quite well for yourself..” from male counterparts that one would consider liberal or exposed.
I want us to look a little closer Mommy.
Our little boys are the men of tomorrow.
Aside from all the national campaigns against GBV and the efforts from the authorities, as Mommies, is there anything we can do?
Is there a way we can impact who they become tomorrow?
Is it up to us as mothers to determine the path they’ll choose?
Or can we in any way influence the calibre of men our male children turn out to be one day?
Perhaps a start would be to undo the harmful gender stereotypes we unconsciously affirm at a tender age?
Two, three year olds on the playground hearing over and over…
“Boys don’t cry”
“Come on Steve, you are no sissy, punch like a boy”
“How can a girl run faster than you?”
Or maybe we can ease up on the chauvinistic jokes.
“Show these girls whose the man around here”
Maybe mama, if we can teach them from onset that women are different in physique but are equal to them. Cultural norms reinforce the notion that men are aggressive, controlling and dominant, while women are or should be docile, subservient and rely on men as providers. Can we challenge this in our homes?
It is worth acknowledging that each case of these crimes committed come with their own merits, way more complex than anything we can think of, and no excuse justifies the unjust crime against us.
But it could be a start.
I don’t know.
It’s definitely a conversation that needs to happen. They say it is the little foxes that ruin the vineyard. So shall we plant the goods seeds at home mommy?
Till next time,