so i was just lying in my bed doing a lot of day dreaming when this high school history lesson popped up. so the teacher goes like, “girls, don’t ever let anyone pressurize you into getting married. i mean, when you are in primary you are too busy reading to come to Alliance Girls High School.( and for those of you who don’t know, Alliance Girls High School is the best girl high school offering the 8-4-4 system of education. and if you disagree, keep your opinion to yourself, i didn’t ask for it.) in high school, you are too busy reading to go to university. and when you are in university, you are too busy reading to get a good job. and then you get a job and suddenly you should get married. seriously, where were you supposed to get this guy you should marry??” and this got many thinking, just how much pressure do girls in Africa and the world at large have to go through just because they are girls? i mean, if a guy isn’t married at a certain age, he is just taking his time choosing his pick. but if a girl isn’t married at that same certain age,her character must be seriously flawed. something must be wrong with her powers of seduction. what is so wrong with her that no man wants her? so i ask, is a woman’s self-worth determined by how many men are willing to put a ring on her finger?
when i was in high school, i would hear people say it is a man’s world and i would challenge them vehemently. a few years later, and i see the truth in that statement. which is sad, cause we have lied to and convinced ourselves that we live in a liberal world; a world where males and females have the same rights and opportunities. i say that’s bullshit. while this might be true in a hypothetical sense, the real world could not be farther from the truth. and i won’t deny it, women have come a long way thanks to the likes of Maya Angelou, God bless her soul. and it is for those women and many others that i am able to write this blog post and not have to worry about someone coming for my neck, because you know I’d be called a witch.(and if you do not understand this reference, i will advice you to do a little more reading.) it is because of those “witches” that i am able to call myself an unmarried university student at the marriageable age of nineteen. it is because of those women that i am able to pursue a bachelors of SCIENCE Degree. it is because of those women that Alliance Girls High School teaches sciences and those girls are taught more than just being wives to their brothers, just across the valley, in Alliance High School.( but i do wonder though,why were they called our brothers if they were going to be our husbands?) so while i am grateful for the opportunities i am able to enjoy right now, i still think we could do better.
i was having a conversation with an acquaintance just recently and he asked me my ten year plan for my life. so i said something along these lines; completing the institute of actuary exams, a masters in whatever field I’ll choose to pursue,blah, blah, blah then maybe marriage and a family. i was not sure about this last bit. so he asked me, “you are a woman, how is marriage the least of your priorities?” and for some few serious seconds, i could not fathom the correlation between my gender, marriage and listing my priorities.but he was not done, he still goes ahead to ask me, ” are you not the least bit worried that men will find you intimidating?” now that got my tongue rolling. so i asked him,”why? because i work hard? because i am going for my dreams? because i want to be successful? i mean, if a guy is going to find me intimidating because of my achievements, then he is exactly the kind of guy i would never be attracted to, not even if my life depended on it.” while i would have loved to get mad at him, i realized it was not his fault. he like many others, have been raised in a society where men are taught to marry a woman who is “lesser” than him. a woman he can subdue. a woman who will be at your beck and call. while we would like to sit here and kid ourselves that modern men like independent women. but ask them how independent this independent woman should be, and their tone of voice and body language will tell you independent enough to be dependent on him.
my friends call me a feminist. and for most part of my life, i did not like it. because i, like most of us, have been taught to believe that a feminist is a woman who hates men, a bitter woman who has failed in the most basic female duty; clinching a husband. and then i learnt the true meaning and i am proud to call myself of a feminist. and while i realize most people are ignorant of the true meaning of this word, i am not going to define it for you. i would feel like i am trying too hard to make you like me, which i will assure you, is not in my list of concerns. so these days when someone calls me a feminist, i ask them, ” are you not?” get this, i believe that if you are in my age group and you are not a feminist, you have serious self-esteem issues. i will explain it for you. if you are not a feminist, you are the kind of guy who’ll feel threatened by successful women. you are the kind of woman who will give up her career because you earn more than your husband and you do not want him to think you disrespect him.or funnily, for the sake of peace in your marriage. seriously woman, what is your definition of peace?!! you are the kind of woman who will get beat up by your useless husband and you will stay and convince yourself that it is for the sake of the kids or more ridiculously, for fear of what people will say. you are the kind of college girl who will sell your body to older men to get money for fuck knows what. and don’t stand there and tell me you’re forced by circumstances. how many people from miserable poverty-stricken backgrounds have risen above their circumstances and made something out of their lives. so no, you are not a victim of circumstances, you are a victim of your inability, perhaps, unwillingness, to believe in yourself to make something out of yourself. and yes, you are the guy who called me rude, proud, arrogant and stuck up( and this is a rough translation of what you said because you lack the fundamental ability to express yourself properly in any language, yet you are in a top Kenyan university, or so you said.) because you showed up out of nowhere and made an insulting remark about my breasts in the name of complementing me and expected me to let you buy me french fries. you see to this guy, a woman is half her breasts and half the rest. nothing more.
so do not tell me, that our environment is fair to both genders when people still tell me things like,” you have such strong opinions, you should have been born a boy.” then expect me to smile, cheer and feel so appreciated. when women look at me like i am a prostitute because my guy friend is helping me down the street because my health is not so good and i feel faint. no, seriously, why am i the one with loose morals in this case? why is he not getting the weird looks? when a girl gets raped and people, most especially WOMEN have the callousness to ask why she wore that knee-length skirt, or why she was in a room all alone with that childhood male friend if she wasn’t asking for it? when i have to get so emotional writing this article and hope that just one more person will understand that woman too means human.
so this article is inspired by one Mr.Peter Ayiro; the teacher who in his own little way, reinforced in me my completeness as a human being in spite of my gender.