[Photo courtesy of IGP]
By Dennis Mungai
An embattled governor’s Senate hearing revealed just how “backward” people are in some parts of the country. To devalue and dehumanize someone to the point of seeing them as sexual objects just shows how low the bar has fallen, if it was existent in the first place. For eons this has been the sad narrative women have had to go through in the hands of society, mostly men and apparently, the more things change the more they remain the same.
It has become a constant fight, with the men on one hand trying to put down women who genuinely want to be better versions of themselves, and on the other hand, women doing whatever it takes just to prove a point. How many times have we read stories of how ladies worked their way to the top, and when they eventually succeed, show up on interviews talking of how they overcame so many obstacles just to get there?
If you analyse keenly, a majority of these challenges are set by men. Women would not have to be termed as “warriors” or “survivors” if there wasn’t a fight in the first place. In the workplace, school, and the society in general, some men feel intimidated when women are successful. Hence they try and stifle their progress in life by any means necessary. When this fails, they try to attack them from the top. This is when one hears statements such as “she slept her way to the top job in the company” or “she was given that post just because she’s pretty.”
We need to nip this in the bud. They say one cannot start climbing a tree from the top, neither does uprooting it. We need to address the underlying issues behind such statements, thoughts and stereotypes. It is inhuman for someone in this day and age to still think that all women should do in society is be “child- bearers”.
It’s all a mentality. Men need to unlearn some of these ideas that were fed to us when we were growing up. Even today in some communities, there are certain parts of an animal that a lady should not eat, or certain places women should not be found. These are some of the ideas that are still being circulated around.
Exposure is very important in curbing this menace. Basic education is a foreign concept to some of the people purporting such ideas. Youths today call it “kienyeji mentality”. Travel the world, read books, associate with people who have more helpful knowledge than you. Ask questions if need be. It is sad, though, that even the most learned of individuals still have such misogynistic behavior. Women have to work twice as hard just to reach a man’s level. This should not be the case. They should be treated just as equally as men. The fact that a lady can go to school, learn, get a job and make her own money without having sexual relations with the CEO or compromising her values is basis enough for them to be spared of the harsh criticism they face day in day out.
Successful nations have been led by women. Key government parastatals have been led by women before. Of course there is the argument that women are trying to overthrow men as the head of the society. People who have such ideas should realize that these two are independent of each other. Why would a lady vying for a political seat make the male competitor feel threatened? She is just looking for an opportunity to lead as you are. Once we start seeing them as fellow humans and not people of the opposite gender, the backwardness witnessed recently would be a thing of the past.