Monday, August 13, 2007

ladies AND gentlemen

As much good certain developmental organizations do, and as much awareness they raise through their policies and campaigns, one can’t help thinking, is it too much?
By analyzing and re-analyzing each and every issue that pertains to who we are as a society and people, by dissecting every anthropological element of our people, by developing new approaches to tackle poverty, are we really making any fundamental difference to Tanzania?

Personally, I am quite pro-awareness and pro-analysis, however today I am feeling unusually skeptical and can’t help think that this bombardment of jargon on our psyches is just another method of control. I specifically felt this after listening to some development worker talking about gender-based development. According to my interpretation this is supposed to mean equal representation of BOTH genders, and promotion of a bi-gender agenda, unfortunately it is just a euphemism for man-blasting and myopic feminism.

Don’t get me wrong, as a Man, I look at my gender everyday and am immediately aware of how we are a major part of the current socio-economic problems (ones which I won’t specify as I don’t think I am lucid enough to speak empirically), however that does not mean we should become ostracized and pariahs, and completely blacklisted from the solution. When I speak to these Gender-based development officials, and talk about how I would love to become more proactive in their causes, I am pretty much laughed at and told that I simply “don’t understand’.

Now I am fully aware that micro-credit is more effective in the hands of women, I am also fully aware that the major contributors to the spread of HIV is men, you don’t have to tell me that the alarmingly high number of teenage pregnancies(in Africa) and high-school drop outs due to poverty or work is because of men.

Still, I feel (brave or stupid?) that we can still be a part of the solution. I feel that the major equality movements of the 20th Century are being ignored and the whole concept of equality is being made a mockery of by this sanctioning of developmental organizations to advocate policies through a gender-centric mouthpiece.

Maybe, I am just being an ignorant man. Let me know what you think.

3 comments:

Silvia Sea said...

I'm not sure what to make of this because I don't totally understand the policies that you're discussing.

I do, however, have a hard time viewing feminism in general as something that turns men into pariahs. My blog deals with violence against women, and men are by far the primary perpetrators of violence against women.

However: I agree with your comment that men need to be a part of the solution. If men are the ones who perpetrate this kind of violence, then men need to be educated about violence and need to learn how not to continue the cycle!

This idea is something I learned from a good friend who is a male activist against rape and sexism.

I hope you'll continue reading my blog; especially when my friend starts contributing. I think you'll appreciate what he has to say.

Anonymous said...

Men definitely need to be leaders in the solution. Compassionate and discerning men can not only effect their own actions, but the actions and attitudes of men in their sphere of influence and lovingly raise up moralled sons and principled daughters who value themselves and others. If men are a big part of the problem then the hope lies in men leading the change. Few things strike me as sadly as when women tell men that they don't understand our problems as women and that they need to mind their own. Men are integral to women's rights- The quality of life for women depends upon you and other men being our champions with us. ~nikki <3

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