Feminism is basically advocating for women’s rights and equality of the sexes. Feminist groups have been springing up to fight for women’s rights since immemorial. One such group that popped up in Ghana recently was the Pepper Dem Ministries whose main objective is to compel people to ‘unlearn toxic narratives.’ Then some men went into their armoury and women bared their teeth against them for questioning the status quo. The narrative out there is that these women want to challenge the men in their lives or they behave this way ‘because they don’t have men in their lives’
Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of any of these groups- not that I was against their mission- but a series of events happened recently that has warranted this writeup and a complete change of mind about them. I visited the lab to take some tests and the lab technician as a way of conversation asked if I had a boyfriend to which I replied in the negative. This guy was practically shocked to learn that a beautiful young woman in her late 20s was single; oh yes, he pointed it out to me that I was almost 30 years old.
Strangely I was embarrassed but he didn’t seem to notice. He continued questioning me to find out why I was single as if that was a disease he wanted to find a cure to it once he was done drawing blood from my hand. My marriage or lack thereof would not have irked me so much as some incidents I witnessed in a space of 30 minutes in a ‘trotro’ from Legon to Lapaz.
My driver wanted to move into the road from the bus stop so he was trying to stop some of the oncoming vehicles, a few ignored him until two ladies in a sedan got to our stop. The driver’s remark, to paraphrase was “oh women allow us to go, it is men like us that will marry you!’”
You need to see this driver, and the kind of women he was referring to. It was ok that men did not stop their cars for him to go but women cannot do that to him, after all, he’s a man. To top it all off, there was a male hawker at the Lapaz bus stop fighting with a woman who had a baby strapped at her back. The last thing I heard the man say was “if you were a good woman you would not have ended up a single mother!!!’”
That was the moment it dawned on me that as women, we are always going to be measured in terms of whether we have men in our lives or not. Some people will argue these are not educated but it will interest you to know the number of the so-called educated Ghanaians who think and behave this way. Gone are the days when men/husbands were the only breadwinners and women/wives stayed home to process the bread.
Women, nowadays, strive to pursue careers and attain higher heights. While such a feat is celebrated for the man, even the unmarried one, a woman in that same category may be celebrated once she has a man in her life, even if he’s a ‘madman.’ This is so sad it has engineered the whole existence of a woman into finding ‘that’ man as well as finding a place in this life. The fact that she is a graduate, has a career and is able to take care of herself and sometimes family does not count for anything, after all, she’s not married.
In actuality, if the behaviours of these men are anything to go by, then the anger of some of these advocacy groups are justified. People’s views on women and marriage in these contemporary times cannot continue to be the same as in the ‘stone age’.Let’s teach ourselves to change these toxic narratives to give young boys and girls to a new way of seeing the world such that it won’t matter who IS or ISN’T in their lives. Feminists are the new ‘rebels’ in a man’s world. I have never seen rebels being celebrated so keep up the good fight, for we shall surely win one day.
By: Akosua Asor