Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thoughts on "Gender-Week" - 10th-17th April

Got my chance to have a say about my opinions on gender-relations in the Varsity Newspaper and here it is online. So I am satisfied about that not for the stimulation of my ego but rather to offer university students a better clarification of feminism so that the stereotypes of angry, under-sexed, done-wrong, hard, butch, man-hating and power-hungry "bitches" will dissolve somewhat.

I attended a panel discussion during last week on the topic of "Masculinity in South Africa". I was glad to hear strong mention of a deeply entrenched white-supremacist (imperialist) patriarchal masculinity by all three of the panelists with one even making mention of the notion that "masculinity is made" i.e. socially constructed and a result of condition. The kind of masculinity she was making reference to of course that which feeds off of conquest, power and domination. The final panelist was also profound in conveying how this same white-supremacist patriarchal masculinity has embedded itself in our history. How we are made to admire the European colonial style of seizing power of weak natives and that this is the model we naturally wish to follow in order to gain a feeling of satisfaction with ourselves. This reminds me of a quote from Nineteen Eighty-Four in which O'Brein tells Winston, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever". That's it..."Power is not a means, it is an end" which is also another quote from the book. It's all its about, that's all it's ever been about. One does not gain power for any other purpose than to satisfy themselves with a sick feeling a contentment. In closing, the panelist left us with the thought that we should continue to think critically about our history and not let history ride over us. If we never question how whites came to dominate the way they do, we'll never understand our the power-structure, economic-system and social-heirarchies. Why some people have it easier than others. History can not be divorced from the present. History has shaped our present and trying to forget about it will not make it's influence on today disappear.

But I still find this one interesting. The Deputy Editor of Varsity in the usual Editor's Comment section writes this:

If someone is against abortion, homosexuality and disagrees with feminism then that is their right and they should not be adversely judged or treated for believing it. The world, indeed liberals need more people who adhere to the bible saying that says “let those who are without sin cast the first stone”.

Which can be read in full here

Now although I agree with the notion of letting people be and not interfering with their personal right for individual expression, I have got to say that underneath Tatenda's self-righteous veil, he is practicing a very common habit patriarchal males struggle with and that is defending male privilege. Anyone who disagrees with feminism is simply defending male privilege and chauvinistic ideas.

Enough about that, during gender week three large boards were placed up at the Jammie Plaza one with the words gender week, another with a female figure and another with a male figure. With this, people were asked to write about their thoughts about gender and as you would expect the boards were cluttered with obscene, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic remarks aplenty. No surprise, are young people expected to have any morsel of maturity in a discussion of this nature. As consumers of highly sexist forms of entertainment what more would you expect aside from the usual sexualized trash when it comes to the topic of the gender-binary.

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