Last week I watched Victoria’s Lounge on NTV. The panelists in the show were discussing the subject: Boy Child crisis. And am delighted that we are broaching the discourse of masculinity crisis, the stifling, the neglect of the boy child.
Now, feminists have been successful in rooting the course for the girl child but something else they have effectively done is stifling the boy child. Two examples of well-meaning feminist quotes that put the girl on the pedestal while concurrently putting the boy on the back burner are:
One girl is worth more use than 20 boys”- J.M Barrie. (I once asked a couple of girls whether they agree with this quote and they all did).
‘You educate a man;You educate a man. You educate a woman; You educate a generation.’
Whilst it’s important to concede that there is a great deal more to do for the woman and the girl child, it is timely imperative to appreciate that we are experiencing a masculinity and it comes -in my understanding-in at least three ways:
1. A lot of things have changed but not the warped social definition of what being a man is and it has come to hurt us.
The inveterate image of a man as dominant, entitled and stoic is a hitch in his psyche. Times have changed but we are still grappling with it.
One girl friend of mine commented on a post I wrote saying men are scared of successful women. And it’s that. The fact of the matter is, most Kenyan men have grown up being told by older men that they can’t allow women defeat them. There is almost nothing more mortifying for a traditional man than being beaten-literally or otherwise by a woman.
We can’t coast on superiority to be men anymore.
2. There are scathing statistics suggesting that “Boys are more likely to be expelled or kicked out of school, to binge drink, be prescribed drugs, engage in violent crime and to take their own lives.”
Now, I have written a book. My second chapter ‘Speak Out’ is dedicated mostly to dudes. But why is that? Men are a poor match at managing stress. Rather than talk they seethe in silence, binge drink and break stuff. They stink at looking for help. And they are four times more likely to commit suicide than compatriots, women.
3. Men also face sexism.
Violence( war and massacre) mainly targets men and it started long time ago. Pharaoh, an ancient king of Egypt, ordered the killing of all Israelite baby boys that were born at time when the Israelite population had become a threat to his regime. All female newborns were to be preserved alive.
Even at our age and time, it still does happen. Warfare singles out men.
It is now obvious that in our country domestic violence involving wives battering husbands is common place especially in Nyeri. But there is worse kind of domestic violence that men usually experience. It is emotional violence. It is understated but it’s dangerous. It tears men down.