The title of this article should not put you off from reading it and neither should it imply that it is against the crusade of women to take over the world. It was titled such to capture the minds of people using the now popularised words of Donald Trump who labeled Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” and unfortunately, inadvertently gave high-achieving women a rallying cry. It also happened at a time when another president consigned his wife – yes, his wife and not ours – to the kitchen, the living room and the other room ( I don’t know what the other room mean but lots of people have been very creative with it.) This article is a look at what women are doing, what they are thought of doing and what they could do to achieve lasting, painless results.
Tuesday, 9th of March, 2016 was International Women’s Day and, of course, it was celebrated with pomp and pageantry. Women all over the world gathered together to affirm the strength they get from being together. I didn’t attend any of the conferences but I can predict some of the hot topics discussed that day to include – The Girl Child Initiative, Violence Against Women, Gender Parity and Feminism. Women all over the world are shouting and we are hearing them.
As with all movements, everyone is joining the bandwagon so that they will not be left behind and their voices – and products – shunted out. Unlike everyone, I am sitting on the side-lines, arms folded with a smug smile on my face!
In a bid to push forward the women agenda, women, as well as the men, are pushing the women propaganda which is that “the end justifies the means”. To these women activists, women have suffered for too long that any means that can snatch them away from centuries of male-dominance will suffice.
I read a Time article by Christina Hoff Sommers – 5 Feminist Myths That Will Not Die – that discredited some hugely popular myths making the waves in women activism circle. These five misconstrued assertions are;
MYTH 1: Women are half the world’s population, working two-thirds of the world’s working hours, receiving 10% of the world’s income, owning less than 1% of the world’s property
MYTH 2: Between 100,000 and 300,000 girls are pressed into sexual slavery each year in the United States.
MYTH 3: In the United States, 22%–35% of women who visit hospital emergency rooms do so because of domestic violence.
MYTH 4: One in five in college women will be sexually assaulted.
MYTH 5: Women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns—for doing the same work.
Ms. Sommers posited that these were all false; some outright falsehoods while others were not placed in a fair context. I have no desire to put down the above arguments because it won’t do any good. Women have brutalized by men and we will do well in trying to provide justifications to not pick holes.
Is there a global gang-up against women? Are they targets for mass suppression by the ruling male caste? Are women deliberate victims of the mistakes of the foolish, philandering male? I will answer a capitalized “NO!” for the four questions raised and many more that Women Rights groups throw up on our faces.
We have known it is said that “It is a man’s world” but what is left unsaid is that “this man’s world revolves around the woman!” From the days of Kings to Presidents, women have been pawns, yes, but they have more often than not been the real power behind the throne. Just like every scheming man, these women when caught do find their throats at the edge of a sword, or crudely axe, but so did men. Even Shakespeare understood this when he wrote Macbeth and of Lady Macbeth.
Women have suffered at the hands of men, from rape to physical abuse to disenfranchisement but these actions were although vicious but not deliberate and should be put a stop to. However, I know that there was no convention where all men came together and voted resoundingly that the next “item” for extermination, or at best suppression, was the womenfolk. Men have failed themselves and when they did they inadvertently failed the women and children. But the first person they failed were themselves.
Women need to plead their cause and as vehemently as possible. Women need to have years dedicated to this cause and not just a day but women need to know that men failed them because men failed themselves. We still love them like we do our children but when we are incapable of loving our own selves well how then can we love our women and children? Our problem is not a deliberate scheme to do them wrong but deeply held errors that affect everyone near us, even our dogs.
But in pursuing their cause women should not burn the bridge and push men to the wall, like we pushed them (women) to the wall. Because we failed does not mean that our women should fail too. We failed because we refused to listen, find a middle ground and tell ourselves some home-grown truths. Women should, in putting their feet to the ground, listen, find middle grounds and tell themselves the truth. The means have never justified any end and won’t start now. Women need to show us that they are better than our male ego not only in words but in deeds. They should realize that this is not attrition for supremacy neither is it a cause for revenge.
How should women do this?
By accepting that male and female complement each other. Not one can do away with the other.
This year is the year of the woman. Last year was also and next year and the years to come will be. This is women arising era but if women are seeking to show that they are better – which may or may not be true – then their objective is doomed not in achievement but in sustainability. They will throw us up into a vicious cycle.
By fighting their cause without resorting to lies and half-truths:
When a deliberate lie is found in an argument there is every tendency to discredit the whole. People are questioning the veracity of some statements like the ones listed above and more people will continue to. Women liberation is an emotional campaign and emotions are always associated more with subjectivity than objectivity. Half-truth may take them there but it will not keep them there for long. It may make women win the war but will not make them victorious.
By being humble in their assertions and push:
I hardly find anyone that listens to and agrees with a proud man. Not because he is not making sense but because everyone wants to dent his over-sized ego. Funny enough, this is where I think women will lose ground. When are say “humility” I am not talking of cap-in-hand, I-come-begging kind of humility. Rather, I am talking about women not lapping their victory in our faces and telling us to go locate hell. Nothing depicts a strong victor as one who in victory is still humble. Are women taking over or do they want to share space on the podium? If they have the mind of sharing the podium, that is accepting that male and female are same then they will manage their forthcoming victory with a sense of humility but if they have the mind of the former then we may be discussing other outcomes.
By not adopting the “Things Fall Apart” method where women become – bulls – in the china shop.
Permit me to heave a stanza from the poem The Second Coming by W. B Yeats, popularised in these parts by Chinua Achebe’s book Things Fall Apart. It reads –or sings;
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
We don’t have to take victory for victory sake. We take victory because we need it to better pursue a just and collective cause. Some countries took victories from the “colonial masters” when they didn’t need it and their children have found themselves wishing that their parents had not been so hasty. Power corrupts – Men can testify to that – I hope women have a cure for that malaise. In their victory who wins? Only women? The world? Who loses? Their children? Stability? Women need to ask themselves these questions. It should not stop them from “taking over” powers but it should make them prepared when they “take over” powers.
By persevering and continuing; Great things start small and take time.
We may say let’s wait until women win this fight but from all angles, they have cornered some victory and we need to see what they do with it. And no, this does not postulate that they should not be given equal rights because they have not shown competence with the duties handed over to them. I am advocating that if women show us that they are the better alternatives by maximizing and leveraging on the victories they have achieved then they can be sure of speedier victories.