Reading this, I visualized a girl; a high school girl somewhere in Eldoret at the national music festivals. She wants to become a hotshot lawyer, like Jessica Pearson in Suits. She wants to serve justice to all those women suffering domestic violence. Speaking of, did you see the lady whose arms were chopped off by the husband ati ‘cause she couldn’t bear kids? And it turned out he was the infertile one. Made me sick to the stomach. I felt ashamed to be a man. If you ask me, I think constitutional justice won’t be enough for him. Even a death penalty doesn’t cut the line. He should be subjected to fates worse than death, you know, like Scaphism. Google it, it’s worse than death. But that’s just one man’s opinion.
Back to the girl, she is on the podium performing to a huge crowd and some deadpan adjudicators. She’s indomitable, probably the deputy head girl in her school. She likes Chimamada Adichie; she thinks she’s the shit. She looks up to her, almost reverence. Here on stage, she’s fierce. She performs with all vigour and zest she has. She wants to win. She has to. Opponents backstage wince in fear. They can feel the power of her roaring voice as she performs; the authenticity and legitimacy it all comes from. They know they can’t top this performance. And that is what she wants, to intimidate them. Make them her bitch. Own them. And she succeeds. So read this with her voice and attitude in your mind. You’ll feel it. Plus it’s fun.
Cry of the boy child.
I am Woman.
And all that she entails.
I speak truth,
I seek Liberty.
In my youth,
Lies therein Victory.
Biblically see Ruth,
Not smites of idolatry.
Cornered as if in a booth,
But heed only my bravery.
Many at times we come across the plight of woman,
Her strength in facing backward traditions as female genital mutilation
Her arrogance in playing the male employment field of Engineering
Her endurance in being the family rock when her husband looses his way
Her patience in generation after generation of waiting for the realization of gender equality
Her enthusiasm in rearing, nurturing, cultivating and grooming her children
Her boldness in speaking out, vocally, on issues that affect not she alone but her family and society at large.
Chauvinism is real.
Real as the forebearance of racism in America today.
Pessimism however is to reel.
To reel in the kind of insanity described by one Einstein all those years ago.
Surreal it is to hope for woman’s freedom. For the day she will no longer be subjective in existence.
Reel it in, they shout.
Yes. They tell us to reel in the emotions,
The sexual urges,
The simple bits of womanhood.
(Feelings pelekea mamako)
Speak when spoken to.
Suggest when asked.
Do as told.
What is to have a brain then if I cannot use it?
Why is it that even in the 21st century a woman’s success story is met by awe?
(Bear me no modesty, not because of the height of her achievement… Not because of the odds against which she achieved… but simply because she is woman)
Who is it that said the Kenyan cut off to university is two grades lower for girls as a courtesy for being female?
When did we draw the line between women embracing their sexuality as something to be frowned upon when male glory in sexualizing their female counterparts?
Where is it written that to be woman is to be flawed?
You see if black is black and white is white then call a spade a spade rather than paint our minds grey.
Those of us who dare to dream
To ‘step out of line’
To vocalize thoughts
To question norms
We’re named villain in a world so ugly that in a world boiling over with higher priorities still has the time of day to belittle women.
Men have them too.
A ‘real’ man will write it off as white guy problems. Problems of the weak.
(Ni umama, sio?)
Men don’t cry.
So deeply rooted in society over the years that enlightenment is a dream.
Black women are statistically more biased again than women of any other colour or race.
Here’s a thought,
Describe man with his objectivity to woman then tell me that racism can be eradicated before dealing with gender inequality.
By Myra Maleshe, also author of ‘Dear Heart’.