Women Empowerment, Gender Roles and Male Emasculation

I write as a member of the much maligned male side of the human species. I may not know much of feminism and women empowerment however I agree it’s a good thing. For a long time now women have been shut out of the scene which dictates their political, economic and social sway in life. It is a good thing the suppression is ended as it makes both sexes equivalent in status. Key word here is equivalent not equal.

I come from a part of the world where the woman is a very powerful figure. In the Ashanti kingdom it is the queen mother who nominates the candidates for the throne. In the traditional sense the woman dictates the flow in her home and in the market. She is the lord so to speak of the entire range of her domain. While it is true that women are not allowed to speak at war councils and meetings of similar ilk she is often the silent advisor. How many nations have won or lost their freedoms at the suggestion of a woman during pillow talk? We will never know. Woman is indeed a very powerful human. Powerful in the subtle ways which a man cannot begin to comprehend.

As a man one is brought up to be the provider. Responsibility and taking charge are supposed to be a man’s main attributes. Negative emotions are typically culled while growing up adding to the already frosty outlets of emotional expression men have. This is classic dominance conditioning as passed down during the years. I am pretty sure any man would agree he was not brought up to be mean to women or delight in their suppression. He is conditioned to be the hard hitter and provider for his family and failure to do so is degrading all ego aside.

It is only fairly recently that women took a more forward role in modern warfare. The woman is a more capable soldier, with a better psychological fortitude and decision making. This underlines the fact that the woman even though physically smaller and different from a man is basically still the same species. In history however men have fought after the nature of all animals male; the access to a female. Helen of Troy highlights this primal and instinctive urge to the highest degree. Why would a man fight for access to a woman if not to provide for her?

It is true women have been suppressed by men all over the world for different millennia. I would say a woman who is suppressed by a man in this modern era simply does not know what she is about. Iron clad gender roles are practically the same all over the world. The man does the heavy duty work and the woman does work which requires finesse and delicate manipulation. These gender roles serve as the basis for privileges enjoyed by both sexes and I would say they favour the woman more.  The survival rules all favour the woman. In event of a catastrophe it is women and children who are evacuated. Men have a shorter life expectantly than women generally and disasters further increase this.

Fast-forward to a middle class home where the woman and the man are major players in the making of the home. The woman has a higher qualification than he has academically and economically superior. She revels in it and sees it as a boon hence her gender roles go out the window often without her realisation. She dictates the pace of decisions made at home due to her increased clout. She takes on the man’s role as the provider. The man cannot compete and his role taken away from him further emasculates and restricts him. The smart argument here would be for him to raise himself at least to the woman’s level or absorb her roles; something he has never been conditioned to do. He then follows the path set down for him i.e. resentment and resorting to physical violence. This is very wrong of him but he is trying to assert his dominance again albeit by more primal rules. This more often than not brings a power struggle. In social animal hierarchies when the dominant animal is challenged it either nullifies the threat or is subdued. There is no compromise or dialogue. (Whatever you have to say about this I believe a human being also reacts to novel situations with its instinct.) A man’s position has been threatened so he either has to prove he is up to it or he has to step aside. This does not cover women’s rights to suffrage and other issues which have been well documented. This is about gender roles being discarded in light of “equality of the sexes.” No matter what one may say the conditioning every child goes through favours the female. The woman always has to be treated as a delicate thing in need of constant protection.

Women have fast tracked into important caches in society. This is very impressive and laudable and keeps men on their toes. It is when they swap their gender roles and expect to still have their old privileges that an issue arises. I believe this is the new war brewing. If you so desperately want to be a man then you should take the roles which come with it. Walk the talk essentially. Every day one sees posts on social media which dictate to a man what he must do to make his woman happy and little to nothing on how a woman can make a man happy. This is Victorian age reasoning and I believe it undermines the honour of women. However it is still male condition which has been rephrased and spat back at men. A woman who is free in all spheres of her life does not need a man to do all of that. Even her sexual desires can be fulfilled without a man because of technology. The man is essentially a ghost name on the pay roll which has to be eliminated.

Whatever be the case I believe the sexes can never be equal, just equivalent in status. This struggle for power and relevance is encoded in our genes irrelevant of sex. Male and female are more similar than dissimilar especially when viewed as one. Gender roles will never be archaic and outmoded not unless the conditioning of children into their genders is changed. Enlightenment on how to handle positions of dominance in workplaces is key to gaining headway against physical oppression of women. The woman is not a helpless defenceless being unless she allows herself to be abused. One only needs to look at the real single mothers in the wild and in homes (animals I mean.) who raise successive litters of offspring and still survive to be inspired. Understanding each other on the basic level is what is required. This is purely subjective and is in no way meant to undermine the integrity of women. After all my mother is a woman.


Unknown Soldier’s Commentary

I flew backwards
The shrapnel tearing into me
Pin pricks
And I feel the dreaded knife stabs in my knee and foot.
My ears are ringing,
They say it’s cos some fluid in them gets shaken up.
Fucking wrong time to think of biology 101.
Anyway I think
“I have to move”
The barbed wire is just ahead.
Feel for fingers and toes.
Left fingers – check
Right fingers – check
Left toes – check.
Right toes –
I’m a leg short.
Then I think
“Military crawl”
Well then suck it up and crawl.
Left hand forward
The ground burns and trembles. 
Like holding a live coal.
Right hand forward.
I can do this.
Left knee forward  
Right knee – fuck!
The pain of a thousand nut crackers overwhelms me.
A tear trickles down my dirt encrusted face.  
I grit my teeth.
Upper body strength it is.
Push and pull.
Nice and easy.
“Yeah” I say to myself 
Like dragging a broken body is easy.
Everyday of the week stuff.
Push and pull.
Across puddles of drying blood
And what’s left of soldiers.
Friend and enemy alike.
I feel like retching.
Some dude wasn’t so lucky.
Bloody guts spread all over the place.
Well I’m almost there.
Barbed wired safety. 
Then a few yards ahead of me
I see Joe a friend of mine
Well he ain’t no friend
Bully from school.
But he damn near looked friendly to me now
At least until he steps on a mine
And starts raining all over me.
Now I have Joe all over me.
A few yards more.
Push, pull
Man this is some hard shit. 
My helmet scrapes the wire.
I heave a sigh of relief.
Each step brings me home now.
If you can call a trench home.
I push harder.
I can taste Joe’s gray matter in my mouth.
Nasty stuff really.
My stomach finally heaves.
Even in death Joe manages to make me retch.
Real beautiful.
Just as I pull clear of the barbed wire
Ready to fall into the darkness below
I hear a shout.
Then a pimply youth jabs a bayonet at my right leg.
Or he thinks I got a right leg.
Can’t help myself from guffawing.
Then I heave myself
Then I start falling.
That’s till my bootstraps fall in love with the barbed wire.
Now I’m hanging like a bat.
I almost grin
Then I remember pimple face.
Now I start crying.
Each tear drop a waterfall.
“I want to live.”
It’s all I want to do.
I’m bleeding like a stuck pig.
Blistered fingers

All my strength spent.
When he finally finds me.
A morbid grin lights up his face.
Then he sticks his bayonet in my lungs.
The sucking rattle of the knife sliding over my ribs.

It doesn’t hurt funny enough.
“Sounds like a car tyre losing air.”
I try to chuckle.
Damn barbed wire did me good.
Vision slows to a crawl.
Last thoughts?
© Sena Kodjokuma 2014