The battle of the sexes

The battle of the sexes

The internet blew up to epic proportions this past week following the alleged brutal murder of a young South African girl named Karabo Mokoena, by her boyfriend.
The news went viral and spread like wild fire on social media where the hashtag #menaretrash was used to start the conversation around the unfortunate incident.
As with many other trending topics on these platforms, emotions were high and opinions differed particularly about the meaning the hashtag has for men in general.
Two main arguments emerged: firstly, that the hashtag does not suggest that all men are trash but that it is used as a generalisation to highlight the abhorrent violent behaviour of men towards women.

The antithesis of this argument is that the hashtag is used too loosely because indeed not all men are trash and so good, innocent, caring men are being dragged along with criminals.
All in all, the intention of the movement seemed to get lost in a senseless gender war as the tone became accusatorial rather than a tool to spread awareness.
This alleged murder seemed to be fuel for other agendas and extreme statements with one person saying quite staunchly that men have become to women what white people are to black people.

This is a very serious statement which suggests that the role of the male as a protector is no more but instead, that women are not and cannot be safe around men.
How did we as a society get to this point where women feel this way to the extent of using such disparaging statements against men?
Also, why are we at a point where men are not allowed to express their discontent with this generalisation and yet if someone used the same logic by calling women derogatory names there would at least be a platform to complain?

I chose not to get involved in this conversation from the beginning because it didn’t seem like a fair debate where people genuinely sought to find solutions to problems of abuse.
However, whether a more eloquent hashtag could have been used or not, it is clear that the injustices of society where patriarchy is the foundation need to be challenged.
Taking a break from gender based violence and focusing on gender equality, in other parts of the continent, I find it unfortunate that pregnant school girls are still being suspended from school.
This has been happening for decades and recently became headlines due to Tanzania’s policy of disallowing girls to continue with school until they give birth.
What bothers me is that even in this day and age, it seems to be forgotten that it takes two to tango. Authorities argue that pregnant school girls become a distraction to other learners.
That’s fair enough, but why are the boys responsible for these acts left behind with no disruptions to their schooling?

These girls are often ostracized and lack adequate support from teachers and their communities to overcome their obstacles.
It is an enormous injustice to the girl child that sends a message to boys at an early age that they can get away with not taking responsibility for their actions.
Logic also tells me that if boys also missed out on school for the same period as the pregnant girls do, it would act as a deterrent for other boys and/or the same boys who would think about disrupting the future of other girls.

In Lesotho the rights of pregnant school girls are protected by the education act of 2010 where any form of discrimination against learners is prohibited.
This however, does not protect the girls from the negativity that comes along with their conditions.

Hostility, humiliation, lack of concentration and condemnation are some of the challenges that are faced by pregnant school girls particularly in rural areas where falling pregnant out of wedlock is still stigmatised.

This leads to young girls leaving school during their pregnancy despite the protection of the law which guards against an unconducive learning environment, making it even harder for them to go back to school after giving birth.

My stance here is that if care is not taken to ensure that there is equality amongst the sexes at an early age through circumstances such as teenage pregnancy, boys will grow up believing that they are more superior to girls.

And this will wreak all kinds of havoc as it fuels patriarchy further. If such issues are not dealt with adequately at an early age, circumstances such as males believing that they are the sole, rightful heirs to their families’ estates as well as inequality in the workplace will continue to prevail.

And while girls should be raised to feel special and to be strong and hardworking, a false sense of entitlement that can be created by a superiority complex should be guarded against.
Developing a hatred towards men is also counterproductive because essentially it goes against evolution.
A society where men and women respect each other and live with each other in synergy is what we should all be actively contributing towards in our daily lives.

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