We have all heard of feminism or at least the term women empowerment being used by some person somewhere. I’ll admit I buy most of the feminist’s concepts and I am one person who would set out in full motion to watch women get equal opportunities as men. So in short, I call myself a Feminist( Correct me if I am wrong, but I am still in broad perplexity concerning this topic. That however, won’t stop me from writing about it!). But here is why this concept of women empowerment may never develop beyond ‘just ideas’ in countries such as my own Uganda. (I don’t even know why we try, when the tree is rotten from the roots)
So, I am this young adult female who after my withdrawal from a major college in Ghana, decides to go home during summer. Of course, like everyone else in College. Go home for the summer break, seek opportunities, occupy yourself with some crazy ass-internship because who knows? This means a lot when you go back to campus since college, even though most Collegians or academicians would deny, is meant to prepare you for the job market. You must pave your way through the corporate ladder.
‘Over here!’ You could catch a career officer on their block mention to a student or two. ‘You need to make an impression. Dress the most professional way you can. Remember the people you are meeting are potential employers’ and Etcetera… Back to the point…
So, I head back to Uganda, start my Travel and Tourism course, while I search for part time job opportunities. But guess what I find?
All my female friends, new and old, are walking around the city kissing some man’s ass in a way or another(It’s the rule, and believe me when I say it because I have seen it on numerous occasions. You don’t bend to it, it breaks you). The one running her own business mentions to me that she is lucky her man got to set that up for her. So, she can earn. (God bless Her Man’s Good intentions. No Sarcasm.-This country is completely patriarchal!) Of course, he is her savior. Isn’t he? I nod and move on. We are living in a city where almost every female is waiting for a prince Charming to rescue her from her misery. But it’s not bad if a man does something like this for his woman. Because he is creating her an equal opportunity to earn. In short, he is being a feminist. But what happens when the system has failed women from doing it on their own? That to get even basic capital, I have to sleep with a man first. To get any ground opportunity that would empower this female, it has to be a man first?
‘What happened to your music career?’ I ask one of my girlfriends. I know this girl loves music. I watched her day by day in boarding school. I watched her practice, I saw the passion with which she said the words … music, Disney, Hollywood, TV, Coca-Cola rated next and etc. She could kill to be a musician. I had to endure her tales day by day. We would fantasize together about the Hall of Fame. And here she was telling me something like,
‘Betty, I want cute babies and a man. Besides, my mom would kill me if she ever saw me on a Television’ What? I am dumb struck. Then I open my mouth, close it, open again and I am like.
‘Hey, there are so many musicians with beautiful families… what’s up with that?’ And she goes,
‘well, the dream is dead’. Period. I shut my mouth. Maybe her limitation is in the mind. Now I know that dreams change, we switch courses every day, but what happens when you say you will never chase the other dream. You will even never try. You stopped. Because you are waiting on a cute family after graduation and some rich man from Blessed Heavens or God Knows. Then thirty minutes later you cry about how you dumped the other guy, and the other, and the other because they of course had no money to offer you. They could not afford you.
I’ll not miss the point. It’s everyone’s life any way. A person I know offers I will work as his Personal Assistant. At this point, we have met for one week, we are flirting. I am flirting because I think I might like him. One week later, he asks me to marry him, and whether I love him, or I should move in with him and I disclose that I do my things slow, that I don’t love him, that I have a life to live. That job is gone. He mentions shortly that he realized his Organization is too young. He can’t add another employee. That’s okay, all okay by me. If only I had said yes, and accepted his offer. HA-HA. How Ironic!
My teenage best friend is on my neck. He wants us to date, he is going to get me this part-time job where he is working and etc. Once I reveal that ‘hey, I am actually more comfortable with you as a friend. I am not ready for this dating thing.’ Bang!! That is gone. Ha-ha-ha… He is out. I am out. If I give No love, no sex, I get no part-time job, No nothing!
Then I ask myself. How many things in my country can be achieved without the help of a man? None. You want a job? The answer is, get a man. Want money? = Man. Want a scholarship at some goddamn Institute? = Man. Everything=Man.
The only way you sing man without guilt is if that man is your dad. Mark you, I said Your dad. YOUR GODDAMN REAL FATHER! Not daddy, the synonym for sugar daddy that you find on the lips of every girl attending campus in Kampala and Nairobi.
‘My daddy this and my daddy that.’ Honey I am telling you if you’re fasting men or if you’ve got some dignity or ethics or moral values religious or traditional or whatsoever, the answer is, GET OUT OF THE COUNTRY BECAUSE GIRLS LIKE YOU CAN’T THRIVE HERE BECAUSE IF YOU’RE THRIVING YOU MUST BE KISSING SOME MAN’S ASS. THAT INDEPENDENT ATTITUDE THAT YOU THROW AROUND WON’T GET YOU FAR AROUND HERE BECAUSE HERE, GOD equals MAN AND SAVIOR = MAN AND SO IS A JOB OR WORK OR FAME OR MONEY equals MAN. JUST DATE! Did you hear me? JUST DATE! It doesn’t matter who they are, what they eat, how gullible they are, how many wives they have got, are they sleeping with their students or not, honey!!! I said don’t ask any further. Just pack your bags and get outta here. IF you aren’t doing men!!!
AND THAT IS WHAT I AM DOING… Moving to different other countries as much as I can. I am not sure this is the solution, but we can be certain I will find some answers.
So, tell me? Will feminism and women empowerment ever work in a country like this? Looks like there is barely any hope. After all, everyone seems just fine with what mother CULTURE is throwing their way. Is Patriarchy the answer?
Leave your thoughts in the comment box below this post. I am really interested in hearing what you have got to say about this post. Do you think it is biased? You have a testimonial? Share your thoughts!