Sometimes feminists make me feel a little uncomfortable. I think they can be very extreme when it comes to interactions and relationships with the opposite sex. Many of them are out to get equality and prove to the world that women can do everything that men can do. This is all good and well but it can’t be one’s only hustle.
The thing is, women have always been able to do everything that men can do and probably even better. Women have ruled nations, led armies and influenced national economies. We have nothing to prove because countless women in history have done that for us already. In modern times, Oprah Winfrey, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Margaret Thatcher, J.K. Rowling, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and so many more have stepped up in areas where men excel. The focus for women should not be on competing with men but rather on excelling in their own fields and finding constructive ways to bridge the gender gap so that both men and women can work together to dispose of social ills.
As a matter of fact, in a domestic as well as social setting, a lot of women are quite happy with the religiously inclined and culturally prescribed order of things where the man assumes the role of the leader and provider and the woman maintains the home and is a reliable source of education and nurturing. For many women, the real issue lies not in adhering to traditional norms but in finding the right male to share these important roles with. I believe that the crux of the perception of gender roles lies in finding the best person for the role and not necessarily in balancing the scales. My problem with feminists is that their priority is balancing the scales over all else.
A man who truly appreciates his role of leader and provider is wise and respectful. He is one of deeply rooted values and high moral standards. Such a man is on a continuous journey of spiritual enlightenment and he embarks on this journey with his group. He is hungry for knowledge and his quest for financial freedom is ethical. The alpha male is overprotective and his family comes first. He is easy to approach and at the same time, he commands respect in the manner that he carries himself. He is free of addictions and whatever he does; he is always responsible for his actions. A leader has the best interests of the group at heart.
This is the type of man that women want to interact with in a working environment. This is the type of man who would partner well with a woman who knows her worth in an intimate relationship. A woman who is proud of her family and home will make an ideal match for a man with great leadership qualities.
In general, women are eager to embrace a nurturing position in a team where the leader, whether male or female, is rich in character. Women want a bold man who will take charge of the household. The challenge comes when women choose men who are the complete opposite of what the head of the household should be. Sadly, sometimes a woman has no say in the husband her family chooses for her. There are men who are abusive and have no control over their physical urges.
As women and in particular, African women, I think our struggle lies not in taking over the socially granted male position. Our challenges include helping sisters find their feet after getting out of abusive relationships and raising a new generation of men who will value women and not rape and kill them.
We should combine our resources to help each other create employment and income opportunities so that we can make a necessary contribution to the family’s financial situation. Women need to raise awareness about traditional practices that are no longer relevant and conducive to building productive communities e.g. customs such as unregulated male circumcisions in South Africa and female genital mutilation in Mali, Gambia, Sierra Leone and a host of other countries.
If feminists focussed more on these issues as a matter of urgency, they would get my vote without hesitation. Personally, I am not trying to win the battle of the sexes. I don’t see the need for a battle of the sexes. This is the reason I often feel misunderstood by most feminists. While their rhetoric leans on the verge of the hatred of men and proving a point, I am scared to jump on the feminist bandwagon.