Words, Visions, Dreams, Voices of an African Woman Expressed by Thulisa Qangule
I am here to remind all men and women that Feminism is not a tool to attack men, hide from men or justify our fears of men.
It exists as means to fight for equality WITH men. Professionally, socially and economically.
This is much like the fight against racism not being a tool to use to attack members of races that we ourselves don’t belong to, but the fight to stand up for ourselves, declare that we love ourselves and deserve to be respected equally.
So what’s the big fuss?
For more than a decade, I have walked the fine line between
These lines are sometimes finer than a strand of hair, and harder to notice than a strand of on a carpet.
Conversations with myself, friends, men and women everywhere have got me gasping for air trying to figure out how this entire activism thing can ever get balanced.
Many of us as women have never taken accountability for some of the psychic, emotional, verbal, financial and physical damage that we have caused to men. Yes! I said it!!!
While there’s much to be spoken of the women and children who have suffered at the hands of men, and all the pains and hurts and troubles, I have in the last half a decade met with, conversed with, and even observed MEN who are:
We need to understand the psyche of the young boy or girl growing up in such a situation. Are we then saying (especially where we have organisations such as POWA – People Opposed to Women Abuse) in South Africa for instance and no male entity that represents men in the same manner, who then grow up receiving the unconscious message that it is okay for a woman to negate a man, and not okay for a man to negate a woman. Does this in any shape, form or manner contribute to Misandry?
I agree, the number of women who are abused by men is by far eclipsed by the opposite phenomenon, yet it is on the rise and it doesn’t serve our highest good to ignore it either.
Then we have the angry single mothers, and sisters who have been gravely violated by men in the past. Without proper healing having taken place, we have a viscous cycle.
The sum of all psychic baggage carried by a young female child in those spaces has no word with which to define.
“Your father scarred me, I am angry. You owe me the loyalty of being angry at him WITH me” This in turn teaches the young girl that forgiveness is toxic, a no-go area. Is this not a form of blackmail? These are the young women who grow into beautiful women and have a very difficult time dealing with the masculine element of themselves and also their partners. When you’ve, through a learned process, become an expert at being angry at men, talking negatively about them etc and are expected to suddenly make an about-turn and start showing love to them, we have internal conflict!!! Should the universe ever give you a son to raise, then whoooow, you have quite a lot to unpack then. Not only do you have to unpack your own issues, but you have to teach a boy how to be a man, the sort of man that you wished the very same men for whom you have shown contempt is/was for you. Yoh!
Please realise that when you begin to close yourself off from men, and hide behind defensive walls by either turning to lesbianism, or being the woman who keeps herself busy because you’re engaged in a massive cover up for the fact that you cannot get yourself into a harmonious space with men…you have begun dancing around with being the ‘Avoiding Turtle’. Healing begins with dealing with, and addressing issues.
It took a relationship with a man some years ago for me to see the above element/s in myself. It was so cool to once upon a time gather around with strong women friends and create protective barriers for each other. We felt safe, far from the unknown abyss that was our own collective fear of men. We walked with scars from issues with absent fathers- either due to death or unjustified absence, corrosive elements that wrecked us from witnessing domestic violence or disharmony, and all forms of things that I wont go into for now. In retrospect, we ourselves were greatly abscessed and in need of healing.
Some of us had to come through hard lessons to realise that just as you will walk with a gait in the event that you chop your one leg off, the same happens when we seek to exclude one group of people or another. Yes, we may learn to walk with sticks and support, but how sustainable is that? The many women I have conversed with who truly love men, yet, due to some past trauma or another, have never brought themselves to a level of coming to understand, never appreciate them.
I believe there is a feminine and masculine aspect in every human being and when you are unable to balance your own gender issues, it is not only those people who exist outside yourself who have accrued damage, but yourself too.
Now lets shift focus for a second, and move right along to those women who misrepresent feminism by not being righteous in their ways. Yes.
Brace yourself for I am about to spit venomous flames.
We can no longer ignore the latent aggression that women express towards each other. Some of my greatest emotional bleeds and scars and scabs have been created by women. Yes.
For a time in my life, I found it easier to connect with male friends because I could not handle the insecure and unnecessary competition women have against each other. We sass each other and psyche each other out before one person’s said a word. The gossiping, the bickering, the manipulative and underhanded ways that women whip out from under the rug is often so uncalled for. When men accuse some of us of incapacity of holding down an intelligent conversation because all we know to talk about is our hair, nails, issues of vanity. When we are accused of not holding it down in professional spaces because we turn into emotive machines who are not quite adept at utilising mental faculties to handle issues. When we are berated because we ourselves refer to our own selves as the itches that have a B as a prefix.
It gives me an itch where I am not allowed to scratch ever.
Joan Collins played this role of Alexis in one TV thingy mabob or another and Isidingo had that Cherel character and who will ever forget the Ntsiki character from Generations? In a manner that I do not appreciate, this has given inspiration to B-itchism in workspaces. It empties out the jar of ambassadorship for women. I do not deny the existence of this archetype though. It is important to acknowledge that, but we should not sell it as though it is commendable.
If we are to stand as rightful beings in the cosmic court of justice, we too need to woman-up!
I have been a reluctant feminist, owing to the fact that the very word has been misconstrued not only by men, but by women themselves.
Hell to the No!
I love my lingerie and I am not going to burn bras out on the street anytime soon.
I happen to love and enjoy being a woman, and without having to feel like I have to be a man, or man-like. I am offended some of the pressure that some feminists out there have placed on my shoulders to now exist as a man-hater. No I am not. Where men have their attitude and … together, acknowledge, respect, love and don’t shut down opportunities for women, then there’s absolutely no problem.
Not at all.
I also know men who love, adore and admire feminists and strong women because they themselves have been raised by trailblazing women. These are the men who get disillusioned by this other dark brand of feminism. So now, when we have support, just as we had those whites in Apartheid South Africa who stood up against the injustice, it all becomes difficult to justify things.
There ARE women who do not take care of their kids.
There ARE women who do not take accountability for their actions.
There ARE women who are obnoxious in their ways.
There ARE too, those women who make me feel uncomfortable for them, and lastly, who make me feel shy to even raise my fist in the air in the name of Feminism.
If we are to stand together in the struggle for equality, how far in do we take along with us those members of our demographic, who misrepresent us? At which point do we require that these people take accountability?
As in any movement, there’s qualifying criteria you know…
To both the men and women out there, please do some thorough thinking about she who speaks of herself as a feminist to make sure that you are not in fact dealing with a Misandrist, Defensive woman with a phobia for men, Angry woman disguising her latent aggression with the veil of Feminism, or just a very confused person who is in need of guidance.
Ask me again what I am and I will honestly tell you that I feel much more comfortable wearing the cloak of Egalitarianism and am pretty much okay if that does not take away from, or attack any one specific person or group of people.
This article has been written by Ms Thulisa Qangule for Kwandlovukazi