They say a woman teaches a man how to treat her. I would like to expand on that notion and say that we teach people and the society at large how to treat us.
Last month was women’s month and in light of this when I had to prepare a toastmasters speech two weeks ago I decided to base it on women’s month and its relevance. Is it still relevant? What has todays woman got to struggle for?
When I was reading up on the reasons the women had for protesting back in 1956 I was most interested in their struggle to “get out of the kitchen”. They did not want to be confined to their roles in the kitchen and taking care of the children. They desired to be more than just a mother or a caretaker. They needed to be recognized as pillars of society.
“Okay that’s nice that’s actually quite wonderful. A nicely wrapped history lesson which still seems irrelevant to todays woman?”
Todays woman is not confined to the kitchen, she has the world at her fingertips and is able to explore any territory she wishes. But what is stopping her from reaching her full potential?
I think todays woman walked straight out of the kitchen and got comfortable in the bedroom. She was led there, slowly. Probably uncomfortable at first but eventually she stopped thinking about how much she allowed the world to see of her. She decided it was okay, that it would all be alright and that she was going to make the most of the situation. She bought into this idea that “sex sells”. Little did she realize that very few men were buying into this idea with her.
In order to become a “force to be reckoned with” women are taking off more and more clothing. In order to stay relevant women are baring it all.
Ciara used to wear tracksuit pants and jeans. She used to dance, like PROPERLY dance and put many to shame with her talent. Next thing I knew her lady parts were so close to Ludacris’ face I didn’t know where to look when I was watching the music video.
Destiny’s children were girls whose music made you want to sing along and dance. Their clothing was weird but it was the 90s to we understand why. Their talent never went unnoticed though. What happened? Why did Beyonce start wearing less and less? Why did Kelly feel she needed to give men motivation in order to sell records? Why did Michelle switch back from Gospel music? And Rihanna? Why did she have to go bad?
We hear of women like Madie Hall Xuma, Helen Suzman, Ruth First, Ellen Kuzwayo, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Dorothy Nyembe, Sophie du Bruyn, Rahima Moosa etc are women who stood up and spoke up for what they believed in. They used their voices to be heard. Nowhere in history is it written that they took off their clothes in a protest to get noticed.
You may say that those women did not have to deal with the same issues as Beyonce and Rihanna because they were not entertainers. I read a blog about this and have shared a link, follow it and read it.
We have gotten so comfortable with this idea of our body being canvases that need to be seen by any Tom, Dingaan and Goitsemang that we have even retorted to our oppression by displaying our naked bodies. We have stated that by baring all we empower ourselves. I fail to see how if all you are doing is again displaying your temple and not speaking your mind. What sticks in the mind of the person who saw the statement you were making is most likely to be your body, not necessarily what you were trying to say.
Why can’t we just say what we want to be heard? Why can’t we just sing the melodies in our hearts? Why can’t a man search your eyes to get a glimpse of your heart first and not your breasts on that twitter avatar or your thighs in that facebook profile pic? We have taught our society how to treat us by accepting out place as sex symbols and in fact desiring to be the object of every mans desires. We have obliged to that being the measure of our success.
Today’s woman is struggling because she’s comfortable in the bedroom. She doesn’t see the need to get out. She’s forgotten the values her mother taught her. She doesn’t recognize her body as something sacred to be shared with a man privileged enough to call himself “hers”. She’s trapped and she doesn’t know it.