Recently, a fellow DR blogger posted a blog regarding the invention of a new controversial product called the Anti-Rape Female Condom. Our lovely readers in turn responded, giving various perspectives of the object – its very existence and its efficacy in controlling rape. Of the many comments, some written in humour and others in indifference, one captured my attention:
And when exactly do we introduce our daughters to this concept…?
Beyond the political bullshit of the day, something much bigger bugs me – our Socialization.
We can change our institutions and vote for new constitutions, but until we deal with our socialization, the very core of our beliefs, our norms and ultimately our actions, we are never going to make any progress; whether as individuals, as a country or as a continent.The law will not help us. If anything, the law protects our fundamental beliefs. It protects our right to cultural affiliations and religious association. The law is there to protect what we believe is the norm. Sadly, some of our norms leave a bitter taste in the mouth
If our norms allow men to prey upon innocent women, rape them, impregnate them,infect them with diseases and leave them for dead, the solution does not lie in inserting jagged, plastic objects in women’s vaginas, as a protective measure. That is certainly no way for a young girl to be socialized. The problem is not with the child, the problem lies with male socialization.
The same holds true for female circumcision, it is never about the young girl, it is about the male element in that society. To quote Agnes Pareyo, also known as the Vagina Worrior:
Female circumcision is about one thing only – the taming of women. It has no other meaning. It gives a woman problems for the rest of her life. During sex, in childbirth and the list goes on. It just increases her suffering. It serves no purpose but to keep her silent, in her place.
In not so many words, when you pull out a woman’s clitoris or sew it up altogether, you deny her the very essence of her womanhood. You take away her identity and leave her a shell. And for what? So that she may not stray? So that she may not equally enjoy the pleasures of intercourse as nature intends?
While we wonder how female circumcision still goes on unabated and under the protective guise of acceptable social norm, the current 21st century springs yet another sad one on us – Breast Ironing.
When do we introduce this concept to our daughters you may ask again?
I have one better: When will we stop introducing concepts to our daughters and instead culture the men on different, less destructive concepts?
The Turkana women elongate their necks, the Ugandan sengas pull their young girls’ clitorises, the Muslim women cover up their hair and now the Cameroonians iron their daughters’ breasts.
To what end? Why? For who’s sake really?