Response to: The Big Brother Africa Fights: Another Feminist Facade

(Disclaimer: This is an old post, and I have grown since I wrote this. I now proudly identify as a feminist and feminist activist. I leave this post up to remind myself of how far I have come and that I should always be open to learning and unlearning)

I was seriously done discussing this issue because I felt I had said all there needs to be said. But I came across this blog post earlier today on willpress.blogpost.com

I wanted to comment on the  post but my comment was too long so decided to put it on my blog.

To the Author of that post,

First, I am not a feminist. I do not identify with any feminist movement, I don’t read any feminist books, and I can’t name a single prominent feminist to save my life. But I am pretty vocal about issues pertaining to women. Why? Because I believe that a healthy society requires healthy confident women. Sometimes I berate men like   here and sometimes I talk about women. But whenever a woman is vocal about women issues, they are quickly labelled feminists so that they can be put in a box which can ridiculed, and disregarded as “those feminists making noise about nothing again.”  These issues affect everybody. Why should I have to be a feminist to talk about them?

Secondly, I would like to draw your attention to an incident which occurred earlier on in the show (I can’t find the clip on their site, anyone has it?) where the said DKB and Prezzo were involved in an altercation for an hr where Prezzo repeatedly goaded him and asked him to hit him if he could. That argument ended without anybody slapping or hitting anybody. If you watch the clip you would agree that Prezzo was way more disrespectful that Zainab was. But DKB didn’t hit him. Why do you think that was. That is exactly why this isn’t simply bad tv but a “feminist” issue. DKB didn’t hit Zainab because she was all over his face. He hit her because she was a woman and he could.

Third, the reason there is a standard rule that you should not hit women because our biology is very different. Men are generally bigger and stronger than women. It’s interesting cos this is the first argument thrown at feminists isn’t it? Men and Women can’t be equaled because we’re biologically different? If a man chooses to properly beat a woman, then because of his biology, he can kill her. I know there are cases of women hitting men, women being stronger than men but those incidences are exceptions. An average man can beat an average woman to a pulp before she even lifts her hands. Physically, women (most) are weaker. Men shouldn’t take advantage of this.

If we allow for situations where it can be considered acceptable to beat a woman then we’ve lost the fight on violence against women. Who decides when it’s ok to hit a woman? How far should a woman go to provoke you before you hit her? How much should you hit her for each offence? Say if what Zainab did deserved a slap, if she had mentioned his mother, was he then allowed to kick her? Maybe the guy who slit that girl’s throat felt she had become too much. Hell, maybe she did mouth off to him. Did she deserve to die?? We live in a continent where in many parts women are still considered less than men. This isn’t a feminist issue. This is a society issue. We are either against violence on women or we’re for it for it.

Finally, there are very few situations where violence of any kind can be right (e.g. self defense). Two men using their fists to solve a problem is as bad as a man hitting a woman and vice versa. A true measure of a person is determined with how they stick to their principles when faced with a situation where they are pushed to go against them. Situations should not change who you are.

Regards,

Aisha 

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Comments

  • ndinda (@ndinda_)  On June 8, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I think what really needs to be told over and over is that when a woman speaks against such issues, she is not necessarily a feminist, and I am glad you brought this up here. I also want to view violence as purely unacceptable, as I commented on the post you have replied here. It has no gender. Male or female, it is violence and it is just not right.

  • mmnjug  On June 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Lets draw a line at violence…. That is all.

  • WP  On June 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks for the reponse.

    Well, I guess the term I should have used is “pro-feminist” since what most people percieve a feminist as a bra burning female hard-ballers which is not really accurate…

    That post was not a discussion of whether violence is good or bad (but perhaps it should – violence of any sort is no way to start or end an argument). The post did not endorse DKB’s violent actions either. I agree with the standard rule against hitting women, which is something that should be really drummed up considering the kind of society we come from.

    The general point being made by the post is that perhaps we need to change our perception on who really is the perpetrator of violence where the context allows – whether someone who goes out of their way to create conflict should be percieved as a woman first or as an unreasonable human being who had the bad luck of stumbling upon an equally unreasonable human being when the argument turns physical. I believe in the BBA fight merits such a consideration.

    However that Greek politician who poured water on and hit his female colleauges on a televised debate yesterday – a terrible example of violence against women.

  • WP  On June 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Oh and, lest I stir up another debate, by saying “terrible example” up there I mean terribly chilling… using the phrase “good example” would have just felt wrong…

    Cheers, Aisha…

  • Nittzsah  On June 20, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Perhaps it’s a socialization thing. While it may not be civil, guys are generally allowed to have a brawl when they cannot agree, but women are frowned upon when they choose to resolve their difference using their fists (or their long nails and soft palms). Also, when push comes to shove, it’s not expected that a woman should stand up to a man. She should be cowed, be very afraid, take what’s coming (or what “she asked for”) and then go cry at a corner and believe she deserved it. Men can’t (or think they can’t) cry after being beaten by a woman. In that case, they think they have fewer options than we do. They have to “win” in a fight (say rather, protect their ego) and if possible, brag about their perceived victory.

    I don’t think provocation is any reason to beat up a fellow human being, irrespective of your gender (but war would would have us think different). If we all responded to every nudge, we’d be all dead. What happened to walking away from a fight? Taking a deep breath? Taking time out? What happened to being the bigger person? What’s this ego and pride we protect so much like it’s the only priced possession we have? What is our character?

    Finally, I don’t think feminists are that bad. I’d rather hangout with feminists than anyone who supports any kind of violence.

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