chauvinism

I am Not My Vagina And Sexist Attitudes Toward Womanhood

Disclaimer: Blunt descriptions below.

It always grieves my heart whenever I see sexist depictions of the female vagina.

In this era, I cannot believe that the value of a woman is still being placed on the appearance of what is between her legs or rather, what constitutes her womanhood. That some clueless personas have taken it upon themselves to make disturbing descriptions of a woman’s vagina, all in a bid to depict a pure or what they consider an impure woman. Don’t these persons know that they came out from that same vagina they now shamelessly drag through the mud? And when women go along with these supposed jokes, it sickens me.

Can’t you see that we are being made fun of? That when a fellow woman is bashed it is literally the whole female fraternity that is being bashed? Women, we need to be each other’s keeper. We need to band together and say no to these ugly jokes about the female vagina.

Image on sexism courtesy of magoz-illustration

I know some may argue that even women are guilty of the same crime directed toward the male genitalia. This is just but a testament of what our society has since degenerated into. That instead of gauging someone’s worth based on character, we have since decided to include private parts in the picture and have some sick fun in the process. I can say this with confidence that whoever engages in this kind of unsavory behaviors needs to get his/her head checked.

It is not right and hardly something we should pass down to the next generation. We need to teach our children to be respectful of women. And I speak today to the woman who has been branded a slut and had some people describe her genitalia in the worst way possible concerning this. We gain nothing other than furthering sick stereotypes by doing so.

Tearing down a woman based on her vagina is the worst form of prejudice often directed to the women. It perpetrates disrespect and a lack of appreciation for the role of the woman in society. We are mothers and we bring forth children into this world. And those same children are the ones who sadly turn against us and assume that their attack is specific to particular persons. I’m sorry to inform you that your attack is on all females in particular.

I do not care whatever experience you particularly had with one female. Just don’t go to social media and depict all women as that one woman you were supposedly dissatisfied with. We do not take it kindly when these kinds of depictions influence other males’ perceptions of women. We hate it that we are being forced to get insecure with our vaginas just because they are supposedly not the “ideal” vaginas.

Our mission in life is not only to please men sexually with near perfect or perfect vaginas. As a matter of fact, we are not sexual objects who have to be described to all and sundry and given a particular standard to adhere to. For all the women who have given birth naturally to children, you do not need to be shamed into feeling that things are not right down there. To all the women who are supposedly not tight enough or wet enough during intercourse, it does not determine your overall worth as an individual.

Any man who thinks he has the right to disrespect women in this manner needs to do some serious self reflection. Women are worth much more, than only what they have between their legs.

Do African Women Really Need Husbands To Keep Them In Check?

What happens when an African woman gets married?

  • People in society take her seriously.
  • She is no longer considered a threat to her married friend’s husbands.
  • She gets to sleep with one man.
  • She now has somebody to keep her in check in terms of taming her once ill habits while still unmarried.
  • She can now be accorded the status of a respected mother once children are in the picture.
  • She has a title while being identified as Mrs. So and So.

What happens when an African woman fails to get married and especially if she has children or a child from a previously failed relationship?

  • Every perverted man now feels he has the warrant to hit on her.
  • Her married friends can be excused for secretly considering her a threat to their marriages.
  • She is untamed because she has no figure of authority in the house.
  • She must be slutty for choosing to remain unmarried and especially if there is evidence of children.
  • Who beds her?!
  • She probably set unrealistic standards that ended up in her being single.
  • She is damaged goods.

And what happens when an African woman fails to get married, has a child/children or no child and is highly successful in her career?

  • Well, some influential man contributed significantly in her climb on the career ladder.
  • She’s free to use her body in whichever way to get ahead. No inhibitions. I mean, she has no husband…

About two weeks back, I attended a Girlfriend’s Confidential Talk in Nairobi and when the floor was opened for women to share their views, literally every unmarried woman mentioned something concerning the pressure to get married that some were already facing. The theme behind the talk was totally different but it was not long before the conversation veered off toward marriage and the expectations that the African society places on women concerning it.

A Ghanaian traditional marriage. Photo courtesy of www.pinterest.com

A Ghanaian traditional marriage. Photo courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

There’s a notion in Africa that a woman needs to have a husband in order to be kept in check. Single women in top positions in our country have often been criticized bitterly concerning their marital status. It almost seems like nobody in Africa wants to believe that someone can remain unmarried at a certain age and be totally normal. There has to be something wrong with that person according to many. And it sometimes goes both ways with unmarried African men in their 40s and 50s being considered selfish and irresponsible to choose to avoid starting families.

African women approaching marriageable age with no fiance in sight have been known to go to crazy lengths just to speed up the marriage process. I was a child or pre-teen then, I can’t remember, when some preacher decided to show up in Nairobi with a promise that after his crusade, all the women present will be contacted by their future husbands. As ridiculous as it sounded, Kenyan women turned up in droves all jostling to get space in the already crowded stadium where the crusade was being held.

The pressure for an African woman to get a husband is pretty much intense. As you approach your late twenties and seem not to have an eligible character in sight, your elder sisters, mum and aunts will begin questioning frequently when your boyfriend will be visiting. I think the most appalling thing I heard from a close relative was to hurry up and get married before my arms got flabby. Apparently, according to some, women age faster than men. And in Africa, we do not quite want to believe that an older woman can indeed get a husband.

We associate marriage with a woman having a husband who ensures she tows the line. No wonder all the tag names that single women and mothers have to endure being branded. Marriage is a wonderful thing but many times the “Wives submit to your husbands” Biblical phrase is usually taken out of context. Marriage is then made to seem like only the woman has an obligation to the husband to be obedient and to follow his direction.

We forget the Biblical phrase “Husbands love your wives just like Christ loved the church”. So it is not only women who are obligated to obey the husband and to submit to him and to allow themselves to be kept in check. Husbands have an obligation too to love their wives unconditionally. How will it be possible for a woman to submit to a man who does not show any slightest signs of love for her?

Love does not only encompass romance and sex. There are many aspects of love that ensure that the act of submission of a wife to a husband is easily and willingly, effected. Love includes care, support, understanding, encouragement, wise counsel, guidance, tolerance. It is only when both African men and women understand this that the stereotype of African women needing husbands to be kept in check will go.

As a matter of fact, you do not need a man to keep you in check. Your own individual principles are enough to keep you in check. Every person has different principles. Principles are varied and choosing to be and act in a certain way depends on an individual’s perspectives. So even if an African woman who has always been a rebel got married, a husband will not successfully change that. It may even be a cause for their separation or divorce. And that is the main reason why compatibility in a partner is particularly important when choosing someone to date possibly leading to marriage.

I feel like many African women fail to reach their full potential while single because their minds are preoccupied with the pressure to get married and the fear of their success while single being associated with sleeping around. Marriage is a personal choice and there is absolutely no wrong in a woman choosing to concentrate on career and fulfilling her dreams first before settling down in marriage. We all seek self fulfillment at some point in life.

It would indeed be a tragedy if a woman rushed into marriage to beat the biological clock and got kept in check by a husband so much that all she ever wanted to achieve got buried 6 feet under. We need to understand the concept of marriage rather than confusing it with a husband’s right to domination of a wife. Because this whole keeping in check argument is in essence a form of patriarchal, chauvinistic thinking needing to be done away with.

Thoughts?

 

I recently got the opportunity to join the contribution team of Conor Boyle’s amazing blog The Conversation Room. You can keep up with some of my posts and Conor’s work on http://www.theconversationroomblog.wordpress.com

 

 

The African Pressure For Grandchildren

Slightly over a month back, 27 year old Kenyan woman Jackline Mwende suffered the brutality of domestic violence when her husband of 7 years, Stephen Ngila chopped off her hands after a gruesome machete attack in their home. Reason behind the attack; In their marriage period, Mwende had not borne him any children.

However, the story takes a turn for the worse when it came to light that the root cause behind the couple not having any children was in fact due to Ngila’s infertility. This had been previously proven at a clinical facility. But being an African man sadly with the chauvinistic thinking that men cannot fail to produce offspring, Ngila went ahead and attacked his wife. Slashing her across the face and back then chopping off both of her hands.

Jackline Mwende on the left with injuries after the attack and her husband, Ngila on the right after arrest by the Police. Image courtesy of nairobinews.co.ke

Jackline Mwende ( left) with injuries after the attack and her husband, Ngila (right) after arrest by the Police. Image courtesy of nairobinews.co.ke

It was a tale that left a sour taste in the mouth and got men and women alike outraged and speaking up against it. Women leaders  visited Mwende in her father’s home where she was recuperating and later, in hospital where companies pledged to come to her aid with prosthetic limbs and a decent monthly stipend.

Mwende may have gotten a great deal of help after her ordeal but her limbs are not going to be the same again. The scars she now bears will often be a cruel reminder to her, how brutal domestic violence and patriarchy can often times turn out to be.

But was the pressure to bear children only coming from her husband Ngila? I can’t help but ask.

With all due respect to both families involved in the aforementioned , I will choose not to use them as a reference point for my argument. However, I will choose to look at the African societal set up instead.

In Africa, children have often been associated with being a source of wealth. Indeed parents who bore many children in the olden times needed not worry for it was assumed that they would have helpers in old age. We may have moved from the olden, primitive times but Africans still hold on to the notion that children are especially important in a marriage to complete the family unit.

It is not entirely uncommon to find African women who have faced enough castigation from in-laws simply for the sole reason that they had not borne their son a child/children. Many African families equally value the boy child and an African woman in such a familial set up would give birth to as many as 6 or 7 or 8 children just looking for a boy.

The fear often being that if she does not bear her husband a boy child, then he will definitely go in search of another woman to marry who can give him boys. These things are happening up to date in African society. I reside in Nairobi myself, the hub of East Africa, a capital city and I still encounter stories of real life educated people, who are actively seeking to conceive boy children as if the girl children they have are not human enough.

The pressure from the parents of the husband and sometimes, from those of the wife not doing much to help matters. The idea behind this usually being that the grandparents yearn to see their grandchildren which they consider a blessing to live up to the point of seeing children of your children.

Often times, these aged parents may not see how much their demands may be affecting a couple trying unsuccessfully to conceive. I mean, why do you think rogue pastors in African society are raking in big bucks just from offering false hope to childless couples? It is this pressure for grandchildren sometimes leading to sarcastic remarks from in laws directed many times to the woman and the husband being urged to get a fertile wife to bear him children.

There are many African women who have been cast aside by their husbands because the family had no children. In Africa, unlike the West, you cannot just decide not to have children as a woman. Society expects you to have children by a certain age. As a woman fast approaching my late twenties, I nowadays frequently encounter individuals who assume I’m already a mother. Not that it bothers me. As a matter of fact, I chuckle at their assumptions for I identify it as an African thing.

A wedding photo. Image courtesy of www.brides.com

A wedding photo. Image courtesy of http://www.brides.com

However, the tragedy behind this pressure for children/grandchildren is that African women get blamed for there not being the existence of offspring. Africans do not believe that a man can be infertile even if medical tests prove so. There’s this often stupid belief that African men are fertile, studs in bed. If there are no children, then it definitely has to be the woman. She has to be blamed. She has to be punished for it. She deserves to be added another wife who will bear children.

It is a backward belief. A chauvinistic kind of thinking that makes many African men shy away from infertility treatment. They just don’t want to face and admit the fact that the problem can be both ways and that there is nothing wrong with that. Treatment of either party addressing the underlying issue can solve this. They instead choose to ride on the wave of a false belief of an African man being powerful enough sexually to produce children.

So you can already tell how much mental torture an African woman goes through if she does not get children within an expected period in marriage. The husband may even justify the domestic violence with the fact that “Mwanamke amekataa kunizalia” (A woman has refused to bear me children). As if a normal functioning woman with motherly instincts may just make an intentional decision to irk her husband by not getting any children.

As a modern woman who has become exposed to other societal views, I think that the decision to have children by a couple should be theirs alone. I also urge African men to open their minds to the world of medicine. Infertility can be both ways. There is no shame in it. There is medical help for it. Bearing children is not only a woman’s thing. When two people come together with the intention of conceiving, it is a joint decision. The child will bear both of their DNAs.

How ironic that African children are considered to belong to the father yet when it comes to matters conceiving and family planning, it is the woman who is often blamed or tasked with that? Food for thought, per se.

 

For Men, It Is A Pleasurable Activity; For Women, It Is Often Laden With Stereotypes.

I’m a talkative person. Perhaps that is what makes me privy to sometimes, weird conversations. I shall not reveal identities for obvious reasons but I shall definitely share.

Someone of the female gender this week, shared with me that someone else of the male gender, had warned her against allowing a female friend of hers from holding her infant child. Why? Because according to this man in question, since he suspected that the lady friend to the one who shared with me the info was sleeping around, then she would be dangerous to the baby. In short, when a baby is handled by a person sleeping around, a woman for that matter, then that baby constantly falls ill.

thisisafrica.me

thisisafrica.me

I don’t know if this applies to other African countries but in my country, there is that cultural belief among some ethnic groups, that your baby should not be handled by a cheating husband or promiscuous woman. Sadly, this person who also happens to be my friend wanted to find out from me if it was indeed true. I didn’t even know what to tell her. But I had so many unanswered questions in my mind that I doubt will ever get satisfactory answers.

Did that mean that single women were not supposed to hold their married friends’ babies because they were unhitched and definitely sleeping around? The lady in question is single and the one with the child is married. Does that mean that men now have the mandate to decide for a woman, who is to hold her baby and who shouldn’t considering the fact that this man, has no relation whatsoever to my friend? Explain the relation between sexual activity and being a contagious transmitter of illnesses to young children. And why are women often judged so harshly in matters sex?

Sometimes it is really difficult to question culture and tradition. And especially, when belief is deeply ingrained in individuals. As a matter of fact I found the whole conversation to be in bad taste. I felt as if the stereotype of women engaging in sexual activity as being dirty, was further being propagated against someone, I was made to vow never to disclose the information to. Of course I wouldn’t. How would I start even?

The fact that it was a man who had come up with this whole conclusion made it even worse. What right did he have to judge a hapless woman who probably had no ill intentions toward the said child? Why didn’t he warn my friend against letting both men and women handle her baby because of their so called philandering ways? Why only the woman?

And was it a possibility now for my friend to avoid her friend and therefore create a rift between them because of this information? Would she be blamed for being suspicious now of her friend’s motives each time she wanted to hold her baby? Isn’t loving one another as we love ourselves the right thing to do?

The fact that in many societies the sexuality of women, is always associated with negativity while the sexuality of men, is often associated with some sense of pride, further contributes to some of these deeply ingrained notions. Indeed it is so bad to the extent where some people believe that women who get raped brought it unto themselves. Perhaps they wore the wrong attire or they attracted the wrong attention or they walked in the wrong places after dark, are the reasons that this section of people use to justify why a woman got raped.

I have encountered misplaced stereotypes in the past against single women living alone. With some men thinking that a woman renting her own place has all the freedom in the world to invite different men to her house for sexual activity. Nobody judges a single guy living alone even though in some cases, the evidence of a string of different women spending the night on consecutive days, is open for others to see. But they are just being typical guys! We often assume. Men and women alike. That is what guys do! We conclude. Save me the explanation that men cannot last long periods without sex.

Since when did chastity only apply to women and not men? But that is how society has over time defined the sexuality of men and women. That is why malicious sexual propaganda is often targeted at the female gender and not the male gender. It is a sad state of affairs and one laden with double standards. When I see learned people who have lived in urban areas thinking the same, I know that it will be nearly impossible to change how things have been.

 

Single Parenting And Judging The Woman Harshly

Single Dad:

Oh, the mother of his child must have been very irresponsible! 

He must be very courageous and kind hearted to choose to raise his child/children by himself…

Oh let me prove to him just how much of an awesome stepmum I can be to his kids…He’s just too alluring.

Single mum:

money101.co.za

money101.co.za

She must have been those hardheaded types who cannot stay put in marriages!

Or maybe she got her baby with a married man…

I cannot date a woman with extra baggage in the form of kids…

What if her son starts demanding for an inheritance from me yet I’m not his biological dad?

It is no secret that single mums are often judged more harshly than their male counterparts in a similar situation. But why the double standards?

Well, I sought to find this out from one of my male acquaintances who sadly, is of the chauvinistic thinking that a woman who ends up single parenting is in essence, damaged goods. So I asked why he thought such women were no longer eligible candidates in the dating world and his answer was quite interesting; No man wants to interfere with another man’s turf.

Fair enough. But why are we willing to interfere with another woman’s turf per se? Why are single dads viewed as heroic in their efforts to raise their children by themselves while single mums are viewed as failures for doing the same?

Is it because of the sexual stereotypes that have forever been applied to women? The idea held by some, that women should be virgins before marriage but men can be excused for being sexually active before marriage. Is it a woman’s fault for ending up a single mum? Has she any control over what happens once a baby is conceived and the relationship with the baby’s father takes a turn for the worse?

While looking at the single parenting scenario, we have no choice but to acknowledge that times have indeed changed. While it was once in order, ethical even, for two people to get children in a marriage and stay put through thick and thin, nowadays, many more individuals are ending up as single parents either by choice or as a result of certain circumstances.

Blame it on exposure or the feminism wave but in recent times, it is not entirely uncommon, for two individuals in a certain relationship involving children to want out if things seem not to be working. It may not seem like an entirely wise decision seeing that the children are the ones who are likely to end up quite affected, but we really have no control over how two people choose to solve their relationship issues.

However, I find it baseless judging the women in single parenting scenarios more harshly than the men in the same. What if we chose to reason similarly for both sexes regarding what might have drove them into single parenting? Is it possible for us to do so even, judging by some of the chauvinistic attitudes that have over time been deeply embedded in our societies?

Methinks that irrespective of whatever sex a person is, the choice to singlehandedly raise a child/children is indeed a courageous one. It does not mean that the child may grow up deficient as many would like to assume. There are living examples of children who have been raised by single parents and have gone on to become wholesome adults in future. It all depends on the parenting style chosen by the single parent.

And while I’m no advocate for the kind of drama some of these clueless children are subjected to once their parents’ relationship sours, I’m of the idea that a single parent can equally raise a child perfectly. Of course this child may be deprived of the presence of one parent but it may come as a surprise to you, that many children in single parenting households, see nothing amiss with one parental figure missing.

They may only feel something was amiss if the parent in their lives sadly, fell short of being someone they could look up to for their well being and security. Quite a number of children from single parent households have gone ahead to do amazing things with their lives. They are actually individuals whose parents can be proud of.

In my statements above, I’m not trying to trash the family unit. I’m all for the family unit of both parents and children. However, if it so happens that one parent is conspicuously absent, then the other parent should be in a position to step in and try as much as they can to fill the gap for both parents. Whether this parent is male or female. Of course challenges are inevitable in single parenting but the welfare of the child is all that matters in such a scenario.

When we choose to judge single parents with regards to their gender, we are in essence alluding to the stereotypical thinking that women ought to be tamed by marriages. And men should be placed on a pedestal for doing something that only a woman is considered capable of doing. Parenting is a two way thing. Once one decides to become a parent, whether a man or woman, then they should factor this in the back of their minds that their child needs their input.

A single father raising his kids singlehandedly is in essence doing what is required of him should the other parent choose to abscond her duties for whatever reason. It is the same thing with when a single mother decides to raise her kids singlehandedly. She is only doing what is required of her as the parent of the opposite gender.

However, I’m aware that there are women who knowingly choose to be single mums and have no intention whatsoever of providing their children with a father figure. Such a woman should be in a position to think critically of the implications of this to her children, before going ahead with making that particular decision.

Like I mentioned, the welfare of the child should always be put into consideration. If at all this woman is denying her child/children a father figure knowing fully well that she will do a poor job at parenting, then she has nobody else but herself to blame.

What are your thoughts?

Are You Involved With A Sexual Abuser?

Now that there are so many cases of domestic violence being reported on a daily basis, I decided to touch on a rather sensitive subject. That of sexual abuse in relationships and marriages. And while a section of people hotly contest that there is no such thing as sexual abuse particularly in marriages, I tend to disagree. If it makes you feel degraded, humiliated and a nobody then it is definitely sexual abuse whether in a marital or non-marital union.

nomore.org

One of the websites I visited http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/subtle_sexual_abuse.html, clearly outlines the many forms of sexual abuse in a relationship. Some of them were surprisingly familiar to me as things I have heard of in the past and never thought of them as that serious.

The website categorically states that one of the earliest warnings of sexual abuse is excessive jealousy and derogatory attitude toward women generally. There are cultures which actually participate in instilling a derogatory attitude toward women in men. This greatly influences negatively, the sex attitudes that the men have. In such societies, women are hardly accorded the respect they deserve. Women are treated as beings incapable of making decisions for themselves including decisions concerning their own bodies. Women are relegated to the roles of giving birth, taking care of children, running the home and satisfying the husband’s needs.

Women are only to be seen and not heard. If she speaks up, then she deserves to be silenced and often harshly. Women in such societies will watch in dismay, while their husbands marry other wives and bring them to the same compound automatically expecting all the women to live in harmony. In such societies, women have been socialized to suppress any negative emotions they might experience but only comply silently to what is the norm. Sadly, a woman in such a situation may not even realize it when she is being sexually abused in a marriage.

The author goes further to expound that sexual abusers will force you into sexual acts you are not comfortable in or that leave you feeling disgusted. I read in horror quit recently, about a Kenyan woman whose husband assaulted her physically in the home, then proceeded to rape her in front of her children and househelp. All those people contesting that there is no such thing as marital rape better open their eyes to this.

Yet another woman, in a certain talk show I watched, talked about a husband who would purchase stripper attire for her so that she could entertain him sexually in them. She had never been comfortable with it yet had to do it because her husband forced her to. Sex and sexual acts I believe have to be consensual. If one party is unwilling to go along with it or feels degraded doing it then there is no other word to describe it other than sexual abuse.

Some sexual abusers want us to cover up in public, others want us to wear provocative or sexy clothing so that they can show off their conquests to other men is yet another point I found quite important in the same article I was poring over. We sometimes take it lightly when a man we have just started seeing immediately embarks on dictating our style. Quite a number of women can confess to a point in their lives where they were dating someone, who kept on insisting that they needed to dress in a certain way. Others have been encouraged to show more skin and curves even though some may not be comfortable portraying themselves in such a manner.

There is nothing to be dismissed about a control freak. If he did not like the manner in which you dressed, he should not have shown an interest to date you in the first place. We meet and fall in love with people who are compatible to us therefore comfortable with how we are as individuals. Someone who requires you to change drastically was never your compatible in the first place. Women should be highly cautious of men who want them to be something they are not.

They will ask us about our previous sexual partners and encounters then call us sluts or throw sexual indiscretions back at us as proof of our being sluts. Another outlined red flag.

I once did a post http://www.definitelylorna.wordpress.com/ladies-there-is-absolutely-nothing-wrong-with-having-a-chequered-relationship-history where I talked at length about men who want to know about a woman’s sexual past. Again, culture contributes greatly to this chauvinistic view in men. In some societies, men are allowed to pursue sexual conquests all in a bid to prove themselves as being more manly. Women are expected to be pure.

In changing times, we have single mothers raising their children singlehandedly because of one reason or another. We have women who have delayed in getting married. So if all men were to employ this attitude of questioning a woman’s sexual past then using it to judge her present, we will have so many women walking around with dented self images.

I’m not an advocate of promiscuity, far from it! But a man who is keen on finding out about a woman’s sexual past only to use it to degrade her, has no business being with that woman in the first place. Last time I checked, we didn’t ask men about their sexual past which they hardly discuss.

Controlling our body for his sexual gratification. An example is given of a man who will not allow you to breastfeed your child because your breasts will sag therefore be undesirable to him. I once heard of a case where a woman had visited a hospital because one of her breasts was ailing. The reason, as a breastfeeding mum, her husband had forbade her from breastfeeding the child with one breast exclusively reserved for him. We laughed it off then, dismissing it as people who were not exposed little did we know that it is only an abuser who would do that to his wife.

Sexual abusers will be unfaithful on purpose. Always cheating on you with different women therefore, exposing you to sexually transmitted diseases and the HIV virus. Your feelings won’t matter to them and they may accuse you of pushing them to do it with your so called “inadequacies”. Abusers often times employ the reverse psychology to deflect blame from them. The end result is a victim who cannot trust her own judgment and intuition. Worst case scenario is when he infects you with something and won’t take responsibility for it.

Yet other signs of sexual abuse according to the website that I decided to summarize in one paragraph, was the abuser refusing to take responsibility for birth control. He may refuse to wear a condom or remove it during intercourse because it supposedly irritates him or hinders his enjoyment. If you ended up pregnant, he would then proceed to accuse you of purposely getting pregnant to trap him then demand/ force you to procure an abortion. If you are lucky enough to get to keep the pregnancy, he will show no respect for you while pregnant by tearing your bodily changes apart, calling you fat and avoiding any forms of affection and intimacy toward you during that stage.

Indeed many women have found themselves in this dilemma. Contraceptive use should not only be a woman’s affair. If he doesn’t want to be a father yet, then he should equally participate in ensuring that you don’t also end up a mother. Women have suffered crude forms of rejection for the sole crime of getting pregnant. Take the above paragraph as a warning sign to quickly break it off with such a character.

Withholding sex and affection. Beware of men who will withhold sex and affection to supposedly punish you for some wrong or men who always want to be in control of the timing of sex. Such men will dismiss a woman for being slutty or hypersexualized if at all she happens to at times be the first to initiate intercourse. They may even feign lack of interest then, just to humiliate her further as in their view, it should only be on their own terms. Sex should not be equated to a negotiating tool and more so, by a person claiming to love you or who is married to you.

Fondling us in public places in the presence of our friends and family. Sexual abusers thrive on degrading their victims. They may continually touch us in ways we do not like despite us voicing our dislike. They may see no need to hide their overly casual view of you and subconsciously display to others just how much they are lacking in respect for you. You are not a sex toy. Therefore, any man who wants to grope and fondle you in full view of the public and people who are important to you, is not only displaying sheer arrogance but communicating his abuser tendencies to you and the rest.

No man in his right mind who truly loved and respected a woman would touch her inappropriately in full view of others. I think this is where many of us go wrong. We equate being groped and fondled in public as too much admiration for our bodies, that your man cannot help himself. As a matter of fact, he can! He only sees no need to because he does not value you as much as you value him.

Taking intimate photos and films. Before you decide to agree to filming an intimate moment with your man, you need to ask yourself these questions, “Is it necessary?”, “Do I want this on film?”, “What are the implications of doing this?” 

We tend to engage in these seemingly harmless activities, only to have our nude photos splashed all over the internet by a jilted lover or our sex tapes leaked online. Quite recently, there was a video of a Kenyan lady being violated sexually by a man she thought was her boyfriend. I never got to watch the video but I learnt that more than one man was involved.

Any man who asks you to take pictures in the nude and send them to him very early on in the relationship should be avoided at all costs. So is the man who insists on filming every intimate session you have together. If you are not comfortable with it, please do not go along with it. Many sly abusers will coerce you into doing something you do not want to, with claims of everyone doing it nowadays and declarations that if you don’t, they will leave.

You are not a pornstar. Therefore, do not give anyone the mandate to treat you as one just because you are scared he might leave you if you do not comply. It is your dignity that matters and trust me, once you jeopardize that dignity, it will be hard to regain it. The abuser does not care about the consequences. He is only getting a high from it.

 

It should be noted however, that abusers are people in need of help, but only if they recognize that they have a problem themselves and are willing to get help for it. It is not a mandate for the victims of abusers to try and help the abuser change. If you are experiencing abuse, run before it is too late.

Heavily sourced from www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/subtle_sexual_abuse.html. Additional text from the author of definitelylorna.wordpress.com

There Is No Such Thing As Earning Respect From A Man.

I know today I’m definitely going to ruffle some feathers with my post, but you know what, I have no apologies.

I don’t care if some of you men feel like poking my eyes out. I’m entitled to my opinion which I shall do so with relish on my blog.

Who said that women ought to earn respect from a man by acting in certain ways???

I didn’t, but society did.

Then what happened???

Women turned into insecure beings who constantly self critic themselves as well as second guess themselves.

Society said, and I’m assuming a patriarchal society, which makes up nearly more than half of the whole world’s population, that women shall live by a set of rules governed by what the men thought of them, in order to gain respect from the men.

I’m saying different today.

I have guy friends who have acted like total jerks and saw nothing absolutely wrong with acting the way that they did. But if I happened to flip out on them, I’m the bad one. I’m the psychotic chic, who should know better when to shut her trap and when to open it to spew out things the men consider as, nonsense and overreaction from mad women. Boyfriends or potential lovers who made me lose my respect for them by their actions and continued breezily with life as if nothing has happened.

So why then is the burden on women to be cautious of what the men are going to think of them? Why have the women been made to feel as if they have to work so hard or not be themselves in order to earn some form of respect from the male gender?

If a woman sleeps too soon with a guy, then the guy begins treating her like a slut because he thought she was cheap for dishing out the cookies ASAP, then it is automatically the woman’s fault. She should have known better to shut her legs tight so that men can respect her worth and not treat her like a slut.

If she indeed sleeps with a guy after perhaps 3 months then he bolts, then probably it is her fault yet again, for not reading the signs that the guy wasn’t serious early enough. If she gets fed up by what the man has been doing that irks her and rains insults on him someday, then she deserves a waterfall of slaps because she is disrespectful.

If the man decides to be pounding her daily like maize in a mortar with a pestle, then she should endure and “pray” that God someday, answers her prayers and tames her man. Better yet, to the point where he will respect her and stop giving her random bruises for imaginary wrongs or during those moments in his drunken state, he assumes that she is Triple H from WWE and wants to settle a score with “him”.

That according to me is the most outrageous chauvinistic thinking that has affected women gravely over the years.

If you think you are going to earn respect from a man for doing certain things, then you are doing a great disservice to yourself. If a man is naturally disrespectful of women, he will disrespect even those who dress decently, covering up each and every part on their bodies. He will disrespect even those who do not sleep around by sending sexual innuendos their way. He will disrespect even those women who hardly answer back when a man is speaking.

Ladies, your goal in life should not be to earn respect from men. It should be to earn respect for yourself. If you want to cover up, it is for yourself and not so that men can view you as wife material or disciplined. If you want to remain a virgin till marriage then it is for your own good and the good of your future marriage life. Not because men consider virgins pure and those who’ve had a couple of sexual partners in their single lifetime, immoral.

If a man goes quiet on you after f****g you, girl, it is not your fault in any way. Remember, he participated in it too. He should in fact be equally beating himself over it because of his carelessness instead of acting in a callous, castigating way. Women need to take control of their sexuality and stop feeling as if they gave it up too soon and that’s why this occurrence is now taking place.

If men have taken control of their sexuality to the extent where they can sleep with whomever and disappear on that person, then why should the modern woman feel as if she needs to beat herself for being with such a man? Why does she have to feel like she needs to prove to that man, that she wasn’t slutty in doing it, then have him trample over her and brand her desperate.

If he was only looking for fun, then it is perfectly in order, to say that she was equally looking for fun and doesn’t care whatsoever, if he considers her a slut or an upright person. As a matter of fact, if the man starts to disrespect her as a result of that, she has every right to tell him off and cut links with such a man, pretending to be sexually mature, when in the real sense he is engaging in sex as some form of conquest game.

Women need to do away with the ‘it is my fault’ mentality because in having it, we are letting men get away with all sorts of misdeeds. We are allowing men to dictate how our lives shall be. Are they themselves reciprocating to us what they preach???

So they want us to be sexually upright, but it is totally fine for them to have numerous shagmates. They want us to dress in a certain way, but some are busy secretly admiring the short, tight skirts on well endowed women. They want to insult us by doing all sorts of unfair things to us but we are supposed to keep quiet about it and forget about it.

I’m not implying in any way that all men fall under this crude category. I speak to the women to stop pegging their respect on what the men in the society think. To hold their heads up high and raise those children single handedly, even if men assume them to be whores and non-marriage material, for giving birth before marriage. To forgive themselves for having sex too soon, learn their lessons and shut that man out who thinks he now has the warrant to shame them for doing it.

Respect comes from within and not from what others think of you.

The kind of men aspiring wives should avoid.

fancyandshmancy.blogspot.com

fancyandshmancy.blogspot.com

For many young women, the desire of walking down the aisle someday in future is always somewhere within the precincts of their hearts. Men have accused us for equally having very elaborate plans of how our weddings should be and what color our bridesmaids should wear. Apparently, for the African man or Kenyan man for that matter, a wedding is usually an unnecessary expense for a one day event. They like to make it seem like they are such economists, these men and women, spendthrifts. Well, we have been told that men come in all shapes and sizes and that Mr Right is only a figment of our very delusional imagination. I don’t dispute the all shapes and sizes fact but as an aspiring wife and a woman who calls bulls***t, bull***t and not a coated term, there are certain types of men that i firmly believe should be avoided at all costs no matter how fast the biological clock is ticking. Here goes:

1. Men threatened by a financially independent woman.

In the 21st century, many more young women are being encouraged on almost a daily basis to be financially independent. You don’t want to get married to a man and be so financially dependent on him to the extent where you can’t afford your own inner wear and tampons. Men have always been screaming from the rooftops about gold diggers and the fact that they don’t consider themselves money machines for women. The surprising thing is that quite a sizable amount of men get very threatened by a woman who can actually afford herself and much more. I thought you hated us asking for pesa ya mboga (grocery money) and would rather spend that 100 kshs we are asking for to buy spinach and tomatoes on a bamba 100 (phone credit) then sulk at us for being so pathetically broke afterward. Or actually have the nerve to demand for meat when you come home later in the evening yet you know very well that 100 bob cannot buy a kilo of meat, spinach, sukuma, tomatoes and onions. Didn’t you consider us a bother when we requested for capital for a small business yet you wanted to construct your parents a permanent house or were already in the process of doing so?

So for some men to actually feel threatened that a woman can afford her own investments, i find it highly contradictory and a put off. Any man who cannot handle the healthy competition from a financially independent woman probably has unhealthy ego issues that need to be checked. He is going to be a thorn in the flesh if you decide to give him a chance to marry you. This is the kind of man who will brand you kichwa ngumu (hard headed) for making your own financial decisions or mchoyo (selfish) and sneaky for having properties in your name. He will fight you every step of the way in a bid to validate  himself and if all his efforts fail, he will divorce you or move out while branding you an unbearable wife. Next minute you will see him with a pretty young thing who is less financially independent than you because he prefers as minimal competition as possible from a woman. She will be much easier to handle and you will beat yourself thinking that he left you because he considered you inadequate and ugly yet the problem is solely his. So young woman, save yourself from unnecessary trouble by avoiding such men.

2. Insecure Men.

A man who is always accusing you of flirting with other men or dressing for other men while still in a relationship is a man who will stress you out big time in marriage. The minute you become his wife, he will place an unspoken `no talking to the opposite sex’ rule on you and will react with anger when other men look at you while in his company. He will accuse you of sleeping your way to a promotion, sleeping with the local male shopkeeper, flirting with your male colleagues, eyeing the neighbor’s shamba boy (gardener) and just about any human that walks around in a trouser. If you try to justify your actions, he may resort to being violent with you or those men he considers threats to his marriage. Another NO-NO.

3. Men with a patriarchal kind of thinking.

Last time i checked, the Bible stated clearly that `Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church’ then it went on to say `Wives submit to your husbands.’

Chauvinistic men or men with a patriarchal kind of thinking choose to ignore the first verse and stick to the second. Such men believe that women should submit to any kind of man as long as he owns has married her. They assume that their dowry payment for that woman means that she is now a commodity to be treated like a second hand T-shirt in the market stall or a doormat. The idea that a woman can only submit to a man who loves and respects her and finds it hard to submit to a man who mistreats her, is completely lost to them. They interpret fear as submission from a woman and in some cases may not hesitate to brag to their male friends about just how much their wives respect them.

A woman who is fearful of her husband does not love him neither is she submitting to him. She is only doing those things she knows will not anger him for the sake of peace and their children. In some situations, the minute her children are grown and have attained their degrees, she might leave that husband or move into a different room.

Such men are the ones who tell a girlfriend that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and nowhere else or a woman should only listen to her husband’s instructions and follow them to the latter or that a woman who is learned ni kisirani (trouble) or men have the right to discipline beat their wives if she is on the wrong. If you young woman are actually sitting down listening to such bullcrap from your boyfriend and trying to argue out your point in the hope of changing him, just know that your efforts will not bear any fruit. Run as fast as you can because should he marry you, then your very existence will wither off and be replaced by your husband’s tyranny over your life.

4. Violent men.

There are communities in my country which used to believe that beating a wife is a sign of love.  And those wives enjoyed the act of the husband chasing them around in the compound in a bid to catch and beat them up. Let me make it clear that such kinds of thoughts remain in the pre-colonial era. If you are a man who has lived in independent Kenya, went to school, have a well paying job, wear the latest suit and casual men’s wear and in the vicinity of your bedroom walls still strangle and hit your wife, then you ought to hide yourself in shame from the rest of the world.

Violent tendencies in a man do not begin to show while in a marriage. For most women who have been very unfortunate to be with such men as husbands, they began to notice the tendencies from the time they were dating. Any boyfriend who occasionally slaps you then claims that you made him do it is an abuser. It doesn’t matter how desperately in love with him you are, he will make it worse, the minute you get married to him. Any boyfriend who throws you out of his house at odd hours of the night because of a disagreement is also an abuser. Any boyfriend who displays violence towards animals, walls and tables and never toward you is also an abuser. Run very fast as if you are fleeing from ghosts because if this ghost catches up with you, he will gobble you up.

NOTE: For my readers who are foreign, forgive me for the over use of Swahili words  😛 Sometimes i think some things are explained way better in our native tongue.

Speaking against sexual violation of women.

Sex is a beautiful act: sweet and memorable.

However, the beauty of sex is at certain times trashed in the event of rape or forced sex amongst couples or people who know each other.

A section of the opposite gender, seem to have a huge problem understanding why a woman they took out on a first date, bought her drinks, got her drunk, took her up to their room and had sex with her in her drunk state, may feel offended or even sexually violated the morning after. They may even accuse her of acting childish yet she is a grown up who had full knowledge that in the setting they were in, the previous night, sex was inevitable. Another smaller section believes that when a woman shows up at your doorstep visiting, you just have to get into her panties whether she wants it or not. Apparently, after you start the deed, she will automatically enjoy it and will only be seeming to say NO because she doesn’t want to seem too eager. After all, women have been trained not to act too eager in the event of sex. Those men who still believe that when a woman says NO she actually means a YES. And you might think that in modern times this notion amongst some men has finally disappeared. Forgive me for bursting your bubble but sadly, from the look of some unfortunate situations, it hasn’t quite faded into oblivion.

I was reading a certain article recently concerning the New Delhi rapists who assaulted gravely and raped a 23 year old woman before throwing her out of a moving bus. For those who kept up with the story, they know how the deed sparked outrage and demonstrations in India condemning sexual violence against women. However, when one of the rapists was recently interviewed by a certain journalist, he seemed to express no remorse at all and actually claimed that had the victim not fought back, then she could still be alive by now or something of the sort. How sick can that get?

Back home, the media has been awash in the past couple of days, with the story of a parliamentarian who is alleged to have raped a 29 year old married woman who had the intention of doing business with him. Now i did not want to talk about that incident too soon on my blog, because of the conflicting reports with people now starting to choose sides. Others believed that the married woman was at fault for hanging out with a man, who by the way happens to be her husband’s friend, at 10 in the night. Yet others believed the rape claims leveled against the said parliamentarian. Well, the DNA tests were taken and the results came out positive and frankly, i still don’t know what to make of that story until the final verdict, as the case is still ongoing in our local courts.

Many times we have also joked with our girlfriends about incidents where certain men took us out on first dates with the intention of getting kinky as the night progressed, and how we came up with all sorts of crazy excuses to get out of the situation. One spoke of how she had to feign stomach ulcer pain to the extent of vomiting so that she could be dropped back home safely after a night out with some men friends. Another feigned a diarrhea bout. Others had to come up with imaginary dates so that the man would remain eager, as you managed to escape this time round from having to sleep with him and probably for good.

A sister of one of my roommates when i resided in the hostel, was unfortunate to escape with cuts on her fingers after a man she and her friends decided to hang out with, got violent when they couldn’t have sex with him and started throwing beer bottles at them in his house. As if to add salt to injury, he threw them out of the house past 1 am leaving them to their own devices and they ended up spending a night in a hotel lobby where the receptionist was gracious enough to allow them. The reason for all these gimmicks is usually the fact that some small section of men believe that women have to pay for the dates and good times with their bodies. And we have therefore resorted to arming ourselves with extra cab money while going out on dates with people we don’t really trust their intentions with us, in case things get ugly.

I am all for the `carrying extra money’ idea as a way of trying to protect ourselves. But as a woman, at times i find myself concluding that we could avoid those dates altogether where we feel like the man wants something we can’t give from us. I’m sure some women have not been that lucky to get off easily and ended up feeling dirty and violated afterward because of the deed. The sad reality is that many fail to report these unfortunate incidences because they firmly believe that they are at fault for going out with this man or for actually taking themselves to his house. According to them, nobody took them there forcefully and therefore it would be hard to prove anything nor to get anyone to believe their claims. I don’t blame them whatsoever in feeling that way. I actually empathize with their predicament.

However, let me make it clear to all and sundry that forced sex is equivalent to rape. Just the fact that one of the parties wasn’t willing qualifies it to be rape. It doesn’t matter whether you took yourself to his house or to his car willingly or not. A man who forces himself on a woman without her consent is actually a chauvinist who has misplaced notions of sex and downright malicious. He is lacking in any ounce of morality and probably battles self esteem issues and therefore deserves to be punished for his deeds and i really wish that was very possible in situations such as these where the women feel at fault. It is high time we called a spade a spade and not a big spoon and outlined clearly what is equivalent to sexual violation of women. It is so sad that when women get raped some people take it upon themselves to point fingers at how they were dressed and where they were walking at the time of the incident or in whose company they were in as a justification for the rape. Instead of empathizing with these women, society sometimes castigates them and further wounds them.

It is for this reason that i at times feel that if women are in a position to protect themselves in certain situations, then they should. Women are equipped with strong instincts and i thank our heavenly father greatly for that. It is that same instinct that warns us beforehand of a man’s ill intentions when he is asking us to meet him somewhere or to go somewhere with him. It doesn’t matter how much acquainted with that man we are. If we feel it within that something is not right, then we better forgo the date or whatever plans we had planned with him. It is better to be the dull girl who misses out on all the fun than the girl who readily agrees on a weekend out of town with some obviously `sex hungry’ man, only to have him force himself on her. Any man who feels the need to be paid for drinks, food and excursions or trips out of town with a woman’s body is only a perverted misogynist.

It is high time that everyone understood that rape is never the victim’s fault and neither is forced sex. It is also high time that women understood that there are indeed men out there, who respect women and would never force themselves on a woman even when in privacy with her and not the misplaced notion that all men are after sex. It is only then that they will have enough confidence to call forced sex what exactly it is and not to feel like they deserved it.