#Feminism: I Am A Feminist! Huh?

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I am a feminist. That I know. It has little to do with the fact that I am female, but a lot to do with the fact that I am female. Right. Confused? I thought so. So I asked my friends and acquaintances to tell me what came to mind when someone told them they were a feminist. The responses were very interesting!

  • Someone who advocates for equal rights & opportunities for women. Though usually it feels like they advocate a bit too strong hadi people don’t like them.
  • I believe you mean you support anything related to females.. E. G, their rights hivi hivi… 😜
  • Mtetezi wa haki za wanawake…
  • It means fighting for the rights of women and equality for both genders.
  • They are very passionate about gender studies and equality.
  • The person fights for women’s rights.
  • A feminist believes in equality between men and women (not just superiority of women which is what most people wrongly assume).
  • A feminist is anyone, male or female, that holds the truth of women being equal to men in every characteristic and facet of life, and that there isn’t a disparity or inequality inherent between genders.
  • Ngai Fafa! Its a women thingie…..something like that.
  • They seriously advocate for female rights, the girl child and what not..
  • Ride or Die Female for Females😅
  • A tough lady who actually know what she deserves and is prepared to fight to have it.
  • Anti sex workers.
  • A woman who consciously commits to the struggle of women. A femminist takes sides, defending the woman championing her cause.
  • A feminist is a person who does not like the way women are treated _ patriarchy, inequality, oppressive laws against them, being treated as second class citizens etc.
  • A feminist is a that rare breed of human that doesn’t take the ‘its our tradition’ narrative sitted down.
  • When I hear the word feminist my mind clicks on a woman with a vagina.
  • A feminist is a heroin…she takes a stand for the rights of women who dont have a voice and would otherwise be treated as no more than a few pieces of brass or silver.
  • Creepy. Someone who won’t stop fighting for their rights everywhere I go….complain about each and every injustice and inequalities among genders. Most of the time they are those bitter people! So bitter about it!

Fascinating answers! I personally wouldn’t have thought of this. I remember a few years back when I had a conversation with this person who was seemingly intelligent and they just couldn’t understand why I kept saying and insisting that I was a feminist. And yup, he was a man. No surprises.

Not that there aren’t men out there who aren’t feminist, no. There are. It is just that the concept of feminism clashes with the ingrained mindset of misogyny and patriarchy that we have grown up learning every single day of our lives.

When you tell your little girl “sit up and straighten your dress”, you are perpetuating patriarchy. Basically, it is a system where women are lesser than men. How many times have you heard boys being told “don’t be a sissy!” or “don’t do that, its girly!” – you know, as if being girly is something to be ashamed of, or rather, something lesser than anything ‘manly’. How many times have you heard women saying “she’s so manly!” and sneer at the person or whenever someone in power like, say, Martha Karua who is referred to as the “Iron lady” and considered to be “too manly for a woman” and so forth.

I don’t want to get into too much detail, but to sum it up, seems my friends and acquaintances do understand what feminism is, although we still see that quite a number have a skewed view of feminists. Not to blame them too much though, some feminists have indeed gone overboard in their “feminism”, going as far as stating that it is about “women taking over the male world”, which is absolutely incorrect.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sums it up simply:

We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, “You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise you will threaten the man.” Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices. Always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors. Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing. But for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.

Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

What comes to mind when you think “Feminism“? Comment below!


#MondayMusings: Why Polygamy And Not Polyandry?

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While doing some research on the Marriage Act 2014, I came across this post that stated in part “However, Polyandry as well as same-sex marriages have not been given legal recognition under the Bill” and it got me curious about Polyandry.

Polyandry (/ˈpɒliˌændri, ˌpɒliˈæn-/; from Greek: πολυ- poly-, “many” and ἀνήρ anēr, “man”) involves marriage that includes more than two partners and can fall under the broader category of polyamory. More specifically, it is a form of polygamy whereby a woman takes two or more husbands at the same time.

After seeing that statement, I asked myself one question; how come polygamy is allowed and polyandry is not? And I went further and asked, are there places in the world that actually have polyandry happening?

Well at least most of us remember that case where two men agreed to share one woman, right? Apparently she had been torn over the two men for years and just couldn’t choose who to settle with and they came into an agreement that they will share her and the responsibilities of her house including taking care of the children. The story goes on to explain that their ‘unusual’ (actually, abnormal!) union would not stand in court unless the two men (yes, the two men!) proved that in their cultures polyandry was a common practice. Otherwise the union would be null and void.

Fascinating innit? That it is the men that would need to prove that they had such customs in their cultures and not the woman right? Like, even when she’s the one basically having two men pinning, nay, fighting over her, she still has no say over her ‘unusual marriage’.

What’s more is that one of the residents of Kisauni, where the three lived, said “We have never heard of something like this in Kenya, it is uncouth, untraditional unbiblical and against the holy books, including the Koran. Why on earth would a woman be shared by two men? They should be taken to court and punished,”.

I wondered therefore, whether there were any examples of polyandry in the bible and this conversation here just put it all in perspective. The bible basically does not recognise polyandrous unions. In fact, polyandry would have been an unheard of phenomenon, considering the fact that women were basically at the bottom of the lowest food chain there existed. Think about it, how many times did you hear the bible go “and he had two sons and two daughters named X, Y and Z”? It has always been that the boys were mentioned explicitly and the girls weren’t. If they were, it was simply a number. For example, ever wondered how come Adam and Eve only had sons? Didn’t they have daughters? Genesis 5 says that Adam and Eve had three sons, Cain, Abel and Seth and then goes on to say “and other sons and daughters”. LOL. 😒

But even then, Polyandry has been in existence in many cultures around the world. Polyandry in Tibet was a common practice and continues to a lesser extent today. In India they still practise it albeit in minority communities. It also happens in Nigeria, Namibia, among the Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania and some indigenous communities in America.

On a side note, there are several communities around the world that actually go further and have Matriarchal Systems; where the women of the
community literally ‘rule’ their world. 😀😀 The Mosuo, living near the border of Tibet are the most famous matrilineal society. There is no institution of marriage; rather, women choose their partners by literally walking to the man’s home and the couples never live together. Since children always remains in the mother’s care, sometimes the father plays little role in the upbringing. In some cases, the father’s identity is not even known. Instead, the male’s childrearing responsibilities remain in his own matrilineal household.

How’s that for an ideal society!? 😃 😄


Need more reading? See. These. Links. And the ones all over this post 🙂