Ikenna: Mumsy, Daddy, I have something to tell you. I’m a Feminist.
Mumsy: A feminist? *Holds head, crying* My life is over. I know I shouldn’t have let you read that blasted Chimamanda book.
Daddy: My friend, you have brought shame on this family. Get out of the house.
Ikenna: The bottom line is that gender equality is not a women need protection issue. It is a men need to kinda stop raping and start treating women as equals issue.
We couldn’t agree more. But wait a minute, 25% of South African men admit to raping someone? That cannot possibly be true but I digress. More men need to come out and declare that they are at one with the feminist movement. And it is okay if you are scared of attaching yourself to the word. Chimamanda Adichie explains it beautifully. This excerpt from We Should All Be Feminists, breaks down how we teach our kids inequality by the way we raise them:
Some men feel threatened by the idea of feminism. This comes, I think, from the insecurity triggered by how boys are brought up, how their sense of self-worth is diminished if they are not “naturally” in charge as men.
We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.
We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves, because they have to be, in Nigerian-speak—a hard man.
In secondary school, a boy and a girl go out, both of them teenagers with meager pocket money. Yet the boy is expected to pay the bills, always, to prove his masculinity. (And we wonder why boys are more likely to steal money from their parents.)
What if both boys and girls were raised not to link masculinity and money? What if their attitude was not “the boy has to pay,” but rather, “whoever has more should pay.” Of course, because of their historical advantage, it is mostly men who will have more today. But if we start raising children differently, then in fifty years, in a hundred years, boys will no longer have the pressure of proving their masculinity by material means.
But by far the worst thing we do to males—by making them feel they have to be hard—is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is.
And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males.
We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.
We say to girls: You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man, pretend that you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him.
With all that being said, the ideals that feminism strives to uphold shouldn’t scare any good man. Note I said good and refrained from using the word “strong” lest we go with the “hard insensitive man” definition of strong. Unless of course you think of women as lesser beings, in which case you are not a “Correct Guy” and I doubt very much that you would be reading this. So please. All the “Correct Guys” need to stand up and be counted. You need to come out of the closet and not only declare your love for strong, yes I said strong, independent, ambitious and go getting women but also proclaim loudly and proudly that we are equal. To paraphrase Ikenna perhaps gender equality is also a men need to want for women, what they want for themselves issue.