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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Why We Must Teach Our Children That Men Are Not Scum

It started like a joke on Twitter. At some point I must have even joined in tweeting it as banter. But in the past few months, it is beginning to crystalise into a movement that is spurred  by man hate. 

This is dangerous.

I had a conversation with someone on Twitter some time ago, we talked about​ the core values that feminism seeks to propagate. That men and women should be treated equally and the quest to remove gender stereotyping, to fight patriarchy. Our conclusion was that patriarchy hurts men, perhaps even more than it hurts women. I recall this statement each time I see the statement men are scum. This “movement” hurts women, perhaps even more than it hurts men.

Let me share with you the Teacher Expectancy Effect Theory. Expounded by some scholars it is the theory that students often turn out to be exactly what the teachers project​ they will be. If a teacher believes that a student should be in the top percentile of the class, they will expend their energy and resources, even giving the child extra classes to ensure they meet the projections. They are also more likely to pay less attention to a child they have written off, given them less attention, and generally overlooking them such that even if the child had the potential to be better, they don’t reach it. Sometimes the students realise the teacher does not think much of them and go right ahead to prove them right.

Society is a socialiser, read teacher. In fact, sociologists generally agree that one’s peers, a big part of society has greater influence over who a person becomes at adulthood than ones parents. Therefore, what society projects on the people is what they are likely to turn out to be. If you project on the younger generation that they have the potentials to grow into stable adults that make the right decisions, then you are more likely to teach them what it will take to be the sort of people you want them to become. Conversely, if you project that they will amount to nothing but raping thieves and scoundrels, you are less likely to teach the behaviors that will make them better people.

We really do not want to win the battle and lose the war. We cannot win the war by deprecrating and denigrating people. The war against gender violence requires civil discuss. Everyone should be invited to the table for this conversation to have any effect. We really should not shame people into doing what is right, should we?

Ultimately, the “men are scum” movement will hurt women.Whether we like it or not. Men and women will always meet and get into relationships. As they get into relationships, there will be expectations. Expectations based on personal and societal values. If society promotes that men are scum, then this erodes the very basis of a healthy, happy relationship. Men enter believing nothing good is expected of them and women enter feeling, they are going to get the short end of the stick. Some will even socialise themelves to accepting bad behaviour as normal. At the end, we all lose.

Where then do we draw the line?

Rape and sexual violence against women and the need to identify behavior that promotes same can be discussed without labelling people. They can be discussed without turning it into a war between sexes. They can be discussed in an atmosphere of mutual respect. People should be allowed to tell their stories and speak their minds without censorship. Like someone rightly pointed out, I am yet to see a man who was handed a drink by his friends for raping a girl or sexually harassimg her except his friends are sick too. Sick people don’t need a hashtag, they need to be identified and put in hospitals till they are cured. 

These sick people should be shown that they hav deviant behaviour, they should not be led to believe they are in the majority. Their behaviour should not be reinforced in this way. Have you ever heard the phrase majority carries the vote and if you can’t beat them, join them?

Women, who have gone through series of failed relationships and harbour bile against men in general should not be allowed to hide under the umbrella of activism to spread hate. Some women  have indeed been the recipients of the short end of the stick in relationships. It is easy to blame the men they have met for all their woes. But when we think about it, if we can’t be happy​ relationships, should we not rather look within ourselves to see what we are likely doing wrong? 

In all, we need to teach our children that they can be better. We need to tell our boys that girls are humans and deserve the same respect that they will give their fellow boys. They should be taught not to prey on women or exploit their vulnerability. Women should be taught how to use their strengths, to be proud of their womanhood. Men and women should be taught to be decent in word and in deed. Let us tell our boys and girls that neither men nor women are scum. Let us set before them the best examples to follow. Let us show them that we can all be better, more decent humans. Only in this way can we begin to build a just and egalitarian society where everyone feels safe. 

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2017 in General

 

Musing about Friendship

This year, I have lost more friends than I have made all my life…and it’s not even June.

Yesterday, I had a dream. The dream forced me to take another look at the friendship decisions I have made in the past months, friendships I have walked away from and why. Some made me ashamed of myself, others made me think if really when I make people my friend, I am not handing them a burden too heavy. 

To start with, I do not use the term friend lightly. I do not think of people as friends just because we exchange tweets of social media or because we say a greeting on the streets, that a person visits often does not even make me think of them as friends. My friends…I have a special place for them in my heart.

A few years ago, losing a friend would make me physically sick. I would have a fever for days like I literally was going off a drug and then I would eventually get better. I think, losing friends over time has so hardened me that I don’t feel sick anymore. It has also made me very selfish.

My selfishness is a result of the fact that I have realised that no one is ever really there for you, except maybe you have a loving family. These days, I don’t allow anyone get too close to my heart. I give without any hope of receiving, I love without any hope of being loved back and when I get tired, I walk away.

If you are one of those I have walked away from, I apologise that I couldn’t stay. Maybe this is another phase in my journey. Maybe I just got tired of bothering you with my friendship’s burden. Maybe I became afraid because I trust you too much.

One thing though…if you ever were important to me, you always will be. Even if I am too proud to speak to you in person…I have a table in my heart and there I have over a dozen friends but when I set the table in reality, I dine alone.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2017 in General