The Struggling Feminist Man

And so we find ourselves in a time, as in all of recent time, where we are at war with each other and ourselves. No generation before us has known such division amongst people.

It seems, like in most relationships, life was better before we met, before Columbus met the Native Americans and the commencement of genocide; before van Riebeek met the San and the raping and pillaging began; before Adam met Eve and blamed her for everything and with that, a story birthed the beginning of sexism.

Men in a patriarchal system created conflict between the sexes by essentially blaming women for everything

When a boy is kind-hearted, gentle, sensitive and an emotional extrovert it is said that he is a mama’s boy. This expression of the feminine in a boy is discouraged and sometimes beaten out of him by machismo. This, in a way, is an attempt to teach the butterfly to hunt like a lion so it may feast upon gazelles. All machismo does is bury the gentility within in brutality because we fear just being nice

For centuries women have been to blame for the destruction of the institution of marriage by somehow impregnating themselves before a man – under a man-made system that relies on the approval of a somewhat chauvinist god – has had the chance to assist her with his penis.  The lunacy of this social assertion is laughable. Even today, girls are punished or ostracised in schools when pregnant while little to no negative attention is placed on the young man who did his bit in making her future a harder place to live in.

These aforementioned issues and others of the sexist type have started to attract the media and political attention they deserve, but sexism still lurks both hidden and in plain view. Hidden behind men’s ignorance whilst constantly in the faces of women.

It is of the most animal of instincts to cat-call and wolf-whistle that has so aptly earned men the right to be (so affectionately) called dogs. But more abhorrent than the ape in us is our camouflaging our sexist stupidity by constantly blaming women.

Women’s sexuality and expression of this little to do with them, it seems, and is really viewed as an affliction on and manipulation of men’s proneness to surrendering to the tactless beast within. It is as if women are the taunting gatekeepers of a cage inside men that holds that which first crawled out of the primal soup and they carelessly give this vile creature free range in our hapless hearts.

Until we shift our focus off women and quit blaming them we will never know tranquillity of a world where we’re not permanent residents of the dog box.

When we realize that the real war is raging within us men then we will always see our very partners as the enemies who share our beds.

But being a feminist, myself, is not as simple as maintaining eye-contact while breasts bulge out low-cut tops. It’s a constant struggle that has affirmed certain social notions. I’m not even aware of my chauvinism because I’ve been well indoctrinated into a world where ogling at a woman’s legs is a great way to tell her you like what she’s wearing because hey, sweetie, it’s a compliment. It’s a constant fight to fight our habits and learned behaviours that our patriarchal society affirmed with a manly thumbs up

And it’s not just the voices in my head I have to filter. It’s my Neanderthal friends. Feminism is a doing word so when they start mouthing off some misogyny I’m expected, as a feminist, to stop them show them the errors in their ways all while not totally bumming everyone out. It’s not easy.

There’s an old African proverb that says when the there’s no enemy within the enemy outside can do us no harm. When we finally sacrifice the beast in us to the gods we will be impervious to the prowess of women’s insanity. More importantly, we will realize that women are neither the enemy nor are they crazy at all.

Writer: Loyiso Madinga            Photographer: Jeff Rikhotso