NJOKI CHEGE’S VICTIM BLAMING ARICLE

So I read an article by Njoki Chege on Saturday Magazine on Nation newspaper where she shamelessly blamed women who were assaulted when drunk for putting themselves in a that position.

Njoki Chege’s victim blaming article.

She says she has no sympathy for these women and I am left baffled by this kind of rhetoric. Is it that Ms. Chege and people who think like her, particularly women, actually assume that being drunk is signing off your body for another person to abuse? do they assume that women are the ones who control if or not they are raped/assaulted and that means that they themselves are safe from such things happening to them, all they have to do is not get drunk? If you can blame a woman for another person committing an act on them then we should start blaming all other crimes on the victim and not the victimiser? I mean instead of blaming a gun robber who targets motorists on Nairobi streets let’s blame the motorists who were driving with their windows open.

We should obviously all take precautions to mitigate the chances of becoming victims but that is not because we are to blame when we fall victim but because nobody deserves to be a statistic or a victim of a crime. I will consciously avoid certain parts of the city where criminality is rife but if I go to those places and I am attacked I am not to blame for it, the criminal bears all the blame for their action nobody else.

There is an amazing amount of sexism/misogyny  that allows a woman to blame another woman for their assault. When a woman gets drunk the only blame she ought to suffer is from herself for the effects of alcohol on her system and her body.

The kind of victim blaming expressed by Njoki Chege only allows rapists and abusers to believe that a woman doesn’t need to consent to acts done on them, that they have no autonomy over their own bodies, that as long as they are not actively resisting it’s not assault but unless a woman has the presence of mind to agree to what anything being done to them, it’s a crime and it ought to remain a crime to commit any act on them.

The same way I will not blame a man for having “mchele” put in their drinks and then they are robbed, I will not blame a woman for being assaulted, drunk or otherwise.

Just the other day there was a huge outcry when a judge in the U.S gave a Stanford university student 6 months jail for assaulting a drunk woman. He was found thrusting away inside an unconscious woman. I bet if Ms. Chege was that judge she would have given a lecture to that young woman instead of giving the man any jail term at all. How dare she get drunk and tempt that young man into having sex with her?

I think It’s a shame really when we cannot show any compassion for a victim of any crime but instead blame them but it’s especially shameful when a person uses their privileged platform to  shame women who have suffered heinous acts against their bodies.

When other countries are fighting to put out the message about rape and assault and the element of consent, we have educated women in our newspapers spouting trash that is so hurtful to women and the fight against such crimes on them.

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/6/11866756/brock-turner-stanford-letter-sexual-assault-rape-assumptions

As a person who espouses her religiosity as much as Ms. Chege does, I would have thought that compassion for assault victims would not be too hard to achieve but I guess like most of her kind compassion is reserved for the “good victims”, those that are doing holly and pure things when they are assaulted or otherwise harmed.

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Slut Shaming In The Media

In many parts of the world the media leads as the facilitator of social liberalism. It’s where we expect people to be open minded and culturally exposed. We expect our journalists and reporters to be more forward thinking than the rest of the society after all they are the gateway to information, we won’t know the world is changing if they don’t let us know it is.

That’s the ideal though. In reality this country’s media is so far behind in exemplifying social change so much so that when a “reputable” media house sets out to do a sensational “investigative” story, they can’t help but throw a heap of slut shaming to truly capture the audience.

The dictionary definition of slut-shaming is “The action or fact of stigmatizing a woman for engaging in behaviour judged to be promiscuous or sexually provocative:

So in the guise of doing an investigative report about a man who was murdered and who by the way happened to be in the company of a woman a few hours before the said murder this reporter goes to extreme lengths to broadcast all the personal information of the woman to everyone with a television and a set-top box.

He publicises her residence on national television, he publishes her name, her images  and even goes that extra mile and has someone call her so that she can spill her guts unaware that the unconscionable journalist is recording it all for public consumption.

Remember that this woman hasn’t been found to have committed any crime, all she has done is be in the company of a man who was murdered. The journalist isn’t trying to establish if the woman is complicit to the murder, he doesn’t show any course for the gross invasion of this woman’s privacy because it really doesn’t matter. The point of exposing the woman in the manner that he did was purely to create commentary to her inferred sexual activities. He for some reason felt that her supposed meeting with the man was enough crime to shame her publicly just because he had the platform and the resources to do so.

If anyone saw the report they would realise that the Taxi driver didn’t have even his face shown and yet he had contact with the murder victim but the woman was hang out there so that she would not be able to show her face even to her neighbours who hadn’t known before that she was the woman discussed in the media. Even the police with all their faults didn’t give the public her name leave alone all the other revealing information.

I would say I am disappointed that our media is not bucking the trend on this kind of misogyny but our media has been a colossal disappointment in too many ways anyway.

But maybe we should question our press more often when their actions are breeding negative rhetoric against a section of the society, because we as the target audience of this media are in actuality controlling the content and we are what we consume.

SEEK THEE FIRST GENDER EQUITY;

With the recent debate of the gender Bill in parliament we have heard many arguments about how women want to be given free things and if they really want to compete they must stand up on an equal place with the man and ask for the votes from the same position.

I heard a caller on the morning radio talking about how he is raising his daughters to believe that they aren’t marginalised in the effort or empowering them to be go getters and owners of their destiny.

While this is an honourable and even admirable position to take as a parent,it is not enough to change so society. Because even if society is made up of individuals we have to change all or most of the individuals’ mindsets so as to empower all the women to be indeed keepers of their own destiny. No matter how much you educate your girls to believe that they can be anything they want only if they work towards it, it is not enough if the whole society doesn’t embrace them with opportunities and respect of their human capabilities.

When the caller’s daughters go out into society they will encounter more people trying to bring them down to the position that has been allotted to women in this society and that is not one that says she can’t be anything she wants. She will be hindered by her peers and bosses at work and she will be forced to sacrifice so much more than any man in order to achieve half of what a man can.

So before these women are able to fight for equality they will have first to fight for equity because you cannot have equality without equity.

Gender equality operates on the premise that both men and women are born equal and deserve to be treated as such. That there should be no favour or prejudice based on gender and that both sexes should be free to exercise their freedoms similarly.

Gender equity on the other hand is about providing opportunities and resources fairly in tandem with the needs of each gender.

Gender equality is akin to a 100m sprint race start line. All the participants of the race are placed on a straight line parallel to each other. There is no disparity in positions to consider the distance intended to be covered because the line is straight from start to finish for each runner, therefore equalising all the runners. There are no adjustments required to bring each runner up to par with the rest because they are indeed on equal footing.

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Equality

For Equity though you require to alter and adjust so that both genders have their specific needs met so that they are brought up to the same position to allow for equal and fair competitiveness.

Equity is more like a an 800m start line. The athletes are placed at gradually increasing distances from each other as the athlete in the innermost lane is placed at the farthest position from the one at outermost lane. This is to ensure that all the runners have a fair chance of running the same distance. If the runner on lane 1 were to be placed adjacent to the runner on lane 9 then the one on the first lane would run a shorter distance than the one on 9.

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Equity

Ensuring that women are placed in a position lifted up to a position where the race can be made fair is not handing free things over to them. We cannot start working towards equalising the genders if one gender is being burdened by societal pressures to stay down and lay low but also expected to rise up when the opportunity comes and beat the man who has been free to run without any any burdens for a long time.

Men have had reign in politics and power for so long that they have established it as their protected right of sorts. Any woman who succeeds in politics in Kenya and indeed most of the world today is by far the exception more than the rule. It is disingenuous to pretend that all a woman needs to succeed in politics is the will to do it and she will be elected.

Most women in political positions in this country have suffered so many sexist and misogynistic attacks that it’s a surprise that any woman wants to do it at all. There isn’t one woman in a political position right now who hasn’t been accused of sleeping their way to that position, whichever one you can think of, there is a rumour going on about them and whoever the rumour mill comes up with. This is something that no man would have to encounter and if a man is accused of sleeping with another politician it is not assumed that they are doing it to attain power.

We have seen the argument that women who are nominated in whatever position are put there by their boyfriends. That argument has been used to insist that women don’t need nominations.

The biggest issue with this accusation is that it doesn’t punish the men who are supposedly abusing their positions, it punishes the women who whether true or not are denied these positions which allow them to advocate for women’s and societal issues.  It punishes women who have been legitimately appointed and maligns them all as whores. It continues the stigma that many women in power continue to suffer and that is that they are not self respecting and because of that it shuts down any woman who would want to get into these positions because they don’t want to lose their reputation.

Equality would demand the equal treatment of men and women in all positions of power but equity would demand that those positions be created to give women a say and to eliminate the negative stereotypes that are used to oppress and contain women who attempt to rise above the burden that is placed on them.

Equity means ridding women of the societal burdens of how they should behave, speak, how much they should earn and if they are supposed to accept to be lorded over by men. Men have been running burden free for so long they have become lithe and agile, women will require more time to catch up but first they need to be pulled up from the stooping position that the burden has put them at so that the can start the race lighter and upright and eventually catch up and run from the same position as the men.

Must Women Vote Vote For Women?

When a woman vies for an elective seat and fails, we often hear about women being their own worst enemies for not voting for their fellow woman. It is said that if women voted for her she would have won.

To me what that implies is that women are a monolith that we all ought to think and do things alike. We should also suspend all rationality and preferences in order to support our own gender. It says we have no criteria for electing a person and should choose by gender only or else we are self-hating.

This is not something that is expected of men though. We don’t question a man’s loyalty for their gender if they choose to vote for or support a woman. We don’t expect them to vote for another man without any other qualifiers being present.If a man loses an election to a woman, we don’t call men their own worst enemies. We assume that they looked at all the candidates and picked the one who best suited them.

Just because a woman ran for office doesn’t mean that I have to agree with her or that she even intends to further the women’s agenda. I believe just like men, women go to politics for a myriad of reasons and those reasons don’t have to jive with her gender for them to be legitimate just like men’s agendas don’t have to be pro-men for them to be worthwhile.

I could have a choice between a man whom I know will work for women and a woman whom I know has an agenda that will not grow women, I am not obligated to vote for the woman in this case just so that we can have an extra woman in a position of power if that power will translate to action to my cause.

I am not even obligated to vote for a feminist woman whose other political ideals I don’t agree with, like men I am allowed to choose the agenda that I value most and if I disagree with a feminist female contender I am free to reject her without being accused of deserting my fellow women.

I think the insistence that women hold the most power as to if women will be elected is based on the false assumption that she is running as a woman and not simply as a person. Her femininity is only a part of who she is and not her entire being. In case of a political seat, I want a person who will improve the economy, reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, provide services to all and govern without prejudice or favouritism  and someone who will fight corruption in a sustainable manner. If that person is a woman I will vote for her double time. Her being a woman is an added bonus that I will not pass up because I, like other feminist women would like my daughters to see examples of women holding positions of power. But I want that woman to be one that has integrity just like I will only vote for men that I believe have integrity.

Women will ascend to powerful positions only if we give them equal treatment and demand of them the same things we demand of men and we view them as equals in their capabilities when we give them these powers.

Modesty And Clothes

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I believe we all have an opinion on what it means to be modestly dressed, these opinions vary from person to person making it hard to really tell what modesty really means when it comes to the fabric that covers your skin.

Except from the obvious covering of genitals which I think only include actual sex parts that is penis and vulva the rest is all about interpretation be it cultural or religious.

What I find interesting though is that most people will feel the need to push their interpretations of these ideals onto other people, it’s of course the catalyst that propelled certain men to strip women by declaring them to be indecent. Now there is a lot to be said for the acts of striping women which obviously is more than just our interpretations of what is or isn’t modest, but I believe that has been much talked about, especially the misogyny that is involved in the mere thought that any man has authority of women to the point where they take upon themselves to punish women they don’t even know. Not that they have any right to punish those that they do know either.

Anyway back to modest dressing. As Africans I find it perplexing that we have adopted ideals of what is deemed modest from the Western culture but then we chastise women especially for not being African in their modesty. We have all heard people who claim that our culture values modesty in clothes but whose modesty are we really talking about? How old are these values so that we can claim them as ours.

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Beautiful Turkana woman.

Who would argue that the woman in the above image is immodest? Not her obviously, exposed breasts are not an argument of how much she values her body, and she is comfortable in her element such that she has a confident radiant smile on as the picture is taken. To some though she is not being African in her modesty.

The question is how much do I need to cover up to convey this modesty and how tight can my clothes be so that I don’t contravene these arbitrary rules of modesty?

I remember growing up and preachers would stand at the market place and rant about women wearing trousers and how they were going to hell, I cannot imagine that that message would have any takers anywhere in modern Kenya, somebody changed the rules on that probably because more women found trousers more comfortable articles of clothing and suddenly it was not something that only evil women who have a case of penis envy are doing but mothers, sisters and daughters are doing it and suddenly it’s cleansed of all it’s apparent evil. I remember a time not too long ago when trousers were indecent for office women. Now the big debate is the length of the skirt and how much cleavage is too much.

At the end of the day it’s nigh on impossible to determine what is or isn’t indecent, the rules are arbitrary and they change all the time.

So next time you feel judgemental about other people’s modesty ask yourself why what’s covering another person’s skin is concerning to you. If you are not paying this person to represent your organization it’s advisable to step down off your moral high ground and shut your judgemental self up. What is indecent today will probably be everyday wear in a few years anyway.

Westerners have moved from this

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To this

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Who knows what’s next?

Censoring Coca Cola Advert.

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The offending image

We have made international headlines again for our absurd puritanical and irrational reactions to media content.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-36035210

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/13/kissing-in-coca-cola-advert-violates-family-values-says-kenyas-f/

Hide yo kids, hide yo wives, there are people kissing in a Coca Cola advert, we can’t allow our kids to be scarred for life by these images. It’s against our ‘national moral code’. Who on earth designed this moral code is beyond me but the KFCB is the guard and executioner of those who attempt to break these codes of morality and they take their job seriously. In so doing they have deemed the horror of people kissing on T.V to be against them and have asked Coca Cola to remove such horrendous acts of impropriety from our sitting rooms.

I have to wonder at how delicate our kids are compared to much of the world when it comes to such issues. Kissing is such a low sexual content rating that I don’t understand this great aversion that KFCB is employing to it to the point of insisting that it be censored.

The U.K  U-rating allows for some kissing, U stands for universal, that means all ages. I don’t for a minute believe that Coca Cola sent out an international advert without considering moral sensibilities and no other African country has banned the kissing  couple so I don’t believe that it was as immoral as Mr. Mutua would have us believe.

Maybe it’s that shameless show of a woman’s bare leg that brought on the apoplexy, I mean that is so un-African, never mind those Turkana people walking around in semi-nudity, never mind even these good people of (Kong’elai villagers gender neutral bath) Kong’elai village where men and women bath together. The shame of a female leg should not be visible on our T.Vs.

Mind you this is a series of activities happening in a few minutes worth of advert, so it’s not like we will be stuck watching people exchanging saliva and groping each other for hours. So the whole scarring would have to take place in a few moments glimpse of kissing amid all other activities that are being shown in the advert.

I have personally concluded that Mr. Mutua and his people have run out of ideas on how to keep themselves relevant and have resulted to attention seeking behaviour to force us to recognize their presence, for what other explanation can there be for this kind of absurdity?

If anyone has been to a Western country they will have seen people who stop and kiss in public, I don’t think that children who see these people are damaged by these sights. Even if we could argue culture, we know that these cultures have changed dramatically to allow this in the last few decades, this is not something that is inborn in a race or a people of a certain geographical location. It’s something that people grow to see as no big deal. Kissing to most people is a show of affection that isn’t disgusting or even overtly sexual.

Now I understand that we as Kenyans or Africans might not be comfortable with it but it doesn’t make us more morally pure than those that do it, and it doesn’t make them more free it’s simple a matter of comfort. That comfort though is not a matter of moral superiority or otherwise and censoring implies that as a country we consider kissing an immoral act, I don’t know how we arrived to this.

If you subscribe to T.V packages then you will most likely have international channels that include things like Nickelodeon which are geared to children. I will guarantee you that your children have seen kissing in there. It’s probably time you started saving up for counselling or talked to your pastor because your kids have been irrevocably damaged by now.

GENDER ROLES

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There was a time when certain gender roles made sense especially in the African culture context. The time when men were warriors and needed their brute strength in physical conflict and when women lacking this brute strength facilitated their men by staying at home and taking care of the next generation and working to feed the family.

Today though I am hard pressed to find a legitimate reason to maintain any gender roles. Any reason given sounds sexist and even misogynistic to me.

Take the men as protectors idea for example, what if anything does it mean for a modern woman, rural or urban? How often if ever are men called to be actual protectors of the women and children in their lives and in what capacity?

If we are to transfer this protection and provision service to be financial then there is nothing that would make a man more capable of this role than a woman.

The man as a provider role is one that I find interesting because the definition of providing baffles me. Many women traditionally and even today have taken up the role of feeding their families. If you have lived in rural Kenya you will surely have witnessed all the women who wake up in whatever weather to go to the farm, market, milk, take care of livestock etc. Kenyan women have always provided for the family. Of course in the urban centres we know that women work in almost all industries and if that is not providing I don’t know what is.

I think the whole provider role is a white Western concept that has bee transplanted in our society and was never our thing. While in the West feminists fought for women to be allowed in the work places and not just relegated to taking care of the home, they weren’t even fighting for the whole society. They were essentially fighting for the white middle class women to be allowed to work white collar jobs. Other races and poor white women were already working, they were the dress makers, cooks, maids etc and these women were providing for their families. The insistence that men are by default of their masculinity providers is absurd in reality.

So what again is the actual male role in Kenyan society that is only achieved by virtue of being male?

I completely understand why a man would want to retain the application of gender roles because honestly the only people who benefit from them are men.

When people insist that it’s a woman’s job to cook, clean, nurture and submissively obey the spouse, they leave women overburdened with work and household activities while entitling a man to sit and enjoy living in this privilege.

Biologically there is nothing that incapacitates a man from washing clothes or cooking, in fact many men have taken up roles that are relegated to women at home like cooking and made it a profession, there are in fact more male chefs than there female. There are more male dry cleaners than female but apparently asking men to do these jobs in the home is emasculating them.

At the end of the day gender roles only serve men seeing as many women have already taken up what would be male roles but men refuse to take up feminine roles at home and why should they? Who wouldn’t want to have someone serve and fetch for them?

 

HOW FUNNY!

There are photos of Ugandan women being frisked by male guards making the rounds on social media.

In the photos you will see women wearing tights or otherwise tight trousers and dresses that are unlikely to hide anything. The guards are moving their hands all the way up to their genitals in the guise of a thorough search.

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You can see the obvious embarrassment on some of their faces and resignation on the others’.

Now the thing that completely angers me is the fact that these women are being molested in public in the name of security and they have resigned themselves to this indignity, they have accepted to be humiliated just so they can access whatever venue they were going to.

What is not surprising but disappointing is that these images are not being shared to show indignation for this behavior but they are being shared for humor and anyone who is not laughing is apparently too uptight to see how funny  it all really is.

I honestly cannot figure out what’s so funny about a man running his hands through the inner thighs and crotch of an unwilling woman, what is the joke here, whom are we laughing at?

Someone might argue the willingness issue but this is one of those situation where you are only consenting because you have been coerced or forced into it. If I were to go by the look on these women’s faces I can see that they are not OK with this

 

How many women honestly want their breasts to be fondled in public by a stranger? The only reason for consenting to this is because they are being forced to, it is not consent if you tell me to agree to something or else I will face certain consequences. So yes, they technically agreed to let themselves to be touched this way but was there a choice that wasn’t punitive for them?

Uganda it seems is a country of great contradictions because they of the ‘miniskirt’ law seem to have absolutely no problem treating women with such disrespect.

Did they not have women who could search these women, didn’t they have gadgets that would not involve the personal, physical touch?

If they had no women who could perform these searches then that is a gross show of failure on their part that either they didn’t consider the comfort and rights of the women attendees or they have a problem with their recruitment of women in the positions that would put them in place to conduct these searches. Either way this is a complete failure on their part and a big shame to them all.

Personally I would like to think that I would shun any event that called for a man putting his hands all over my business but then again that would depend how how much I wanted to be there and I would have to pick which one is the lesser evil as I imagine these women had to do.

I don’t blame them for not walking away in disgust because to do so is to punish themselves for either the thoughtlessness or the misogyny of the organizers of the event.

I hope those that were laughing at these pictures took the time to consider what it would have been like if it were them, their sister, mothers or daughters being subjected to this humiliation and how funny they would have found it to be.

PSSST…. SHUT-UP!

ARE YOU FLATTERED BY STREET HARASSMENT?

I was driving on Kiambu road one mid-morning and noticed a young woman walking down the road, it was boiling your brain kind of hot at the time and this woman was slowly moving up the road. I also noticed a matatu driving on the way to Thika road, in the opposite direction of the young woman. Suddenly the tout throws his hand out of the fast moving vehicle and tries to grab the woman luckily the she had great reflexes because she jumped out of the way before he could get hold of her. The woman moved on, not even looking back and the matatu drove on too. There was absolutely no reason for the tout to stick his hand out to touch that girl, she wasn’t showing any interest in getting into the vehicle and the matatu was driving too fast for them to pick her up. The obvious reason for grabbing that woman was to harass her. I was completely dumbfounded by the fact that this man risked causing the woman to fall and probably get injured just because she was out there.

I know almost if not all women have experienced some form of street harassment at one time or other in their lives. I have heard some people argue that it’s flattering to be whistled at or be cat called as you walk down the street. To these women, the men who do this are paying them a complement. It apparently is prove of their beauty and the men are compelled by the sheer abundance of it to express their appreciation.

But ask any woman, even those that you think are dog ugly, if they have been cat-called, whistled at, their body parts ‘complemented’, or simply just had questions that are not these men’s business thrown at them, and I guarantee you that they will say that they have.

I try to run outside when the bug to lose weight bites me, I promise it’s occasional and I quickly go back to doing Insanity Max 30 in the house. The main reason I don’t keep to running outside too long is being harassed by men who for some reason love to ask random rhetorical questions (‘Ni teasi’? Ahh no I am being chased by the invisible Nairobi National Park stray lion). By the time I get home I realize I don’t want to face this harassment again tomorrow, I don’t want to hold conversation, even in passing with strangers. You will notice that these men don’t ask men these odd questions so it’s not harmless socializing, and they really don’t want to know, they just feel obligated for some reason that is incomprehensible to me to call the attention of women minding their business to them.

Now to the people who insist that it’s is complimentary; they are either not recipients of such harassment or they must have very low self esteem to go on feeling like these men even care about their looks at all or that they intend to make them feel good about themselves.

I believe this whole ritual is simply a way of intimidating women for being in their space. If you don’t believe me, try and ignore one of these people when they start harassing you while you are stopped somewhere say at the bus stop or you are standing in a shop. You will be surprised how quickly the compliments will change to insults. Suddenly you will be an ugly woman who thinks she is too good for them. They will call you names and turn on you especially if there is more than one of them. It’s scary for most women when they find themselves in this position, they feel intimidated and scared, which they should be especially with the cases of women being stripped being public knowledge. It is that fear that has many women trying to be pleasant even in these uncomfortable encounters because they would rather walk away feeling harassed than being humiliated.

As a woman, I want to feel free to run outside, walk down the street or get into a matatu without being some fools entertainment. I want to feel safe to do all these things and it’s not too much to ask nor is it a small thing to stress over.

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Some Mexican women have decide to turn the focus on the harassers, let them see what it feels like to be followed and put on the spot by running upto them and blowing confetti on them while loudly singing  punk music about harassment.Stop cat-calling

Obviously this is an ingenuous way of fighting the vice but it’s not enough but I wonder what is?

No society has been able to fight it fully as evidenced by the New York video that went viral in 2014 but I think we should all do our bit by teaching  boys how to respect women in whatever capacity that we have the opportunity to do so.

And to out girls, teach them to ignore when necessary but avoid confrontation, there is no point in being a statistic.

 

GOD AND WOMAN

IS GOD A MISOGYNIST?

misogynist

[mi-sojuh-nist, mahy‐]
Spell Syllables
noun

1.

a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.
The dictionary definition of misogyny is quite clear and warrants very little further explanation.
Of course many of us believe that God isn’t a person but for the sake of argument he is personified here just like we do in many other instances like in giving him the pronoun ‘HIM’
Much of the misogyny we see today is derived from religion, I dare say all religions as I haven’t witnessed one that exalts women as equal or greater in any way when compared to men.
But religion as we know is a product of cultures past and present so I don’t really know who the biggest culprit is in the origin or continuation of misogyny.
Religion though it seems like, at least to me, the one thing whose negatives we are strongly advised against pointing out lest we are ostracized by our peers or loved ones.As the often cited Karl Marx quote says, “religion is the opium of the people” or as the full quote says;
 “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”
 The quote to me really isn’t meant to say that religion lulls and fools people as as been interpreted by some but rather I believe in the other school of thought that says it is a way to sooth and comfort people.
Religion helps people feel like they can hope for tomorrow that they have someone fighting their good fight for them even when in great depths of despair. It gives people hope that no matter how horrendous their lives are presently, they have great rewards coming to them in the future, be it in the form of heaven, incarnation into a better person or creature or whatever after-life promise that specific religions believe in.
So really religion was created to make people happier.
But does it make all people happier? or is it a tool used to subjugate and relegate a section of the population to a lower rank?
All Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) have similar texts based on what Christians call the old testament. It is in these texts that we see sexism and misogyny expressed clearly by laws and punishments given to women or against women which in turn continues to influence us all in the modern age.
From the beginning in Genesis;

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Genesis 3:16 Bible-icon.png
God grants man the right to rule over the woman even though they apparently had free will to choose to disobey but clearly most of the blame is given to the woman and the right to self governance is retracted.
Does God not believe in fairness and personal responsibility for both parties?
The christian New testament doesn’t let off on the whole ” woman is beneath man” rhetoric because it says in Ephesians 5;
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
I know, I know, many of you are saying but God commands men to love their wives too, which to me has something to do with the above quote as it does with the price of tea in China, which is nothing.
But even if we are to follow it up with the love part, it doesn’t really say much to improve the lot of the woman in these circumstances because she remains right there at the lower rang being quiet and submissive and obedient. There is a nice gem to the love part of the verse though.
He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 
Isn’t it hilarious that we have to appeal to a man’s selfishness to get them to love their wives. It’s not for the woman’s sake that you are required to love her, No, No, it’s for your sake dear man, because in loving her you love yourself.
This though would get the dander of any self respecting woman up.
For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. 7 A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 1 Corinthians 11:2-10
Quotes from other Abrahamic religions show that they aren’t fairing that much better.
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).                      Qur’an 4:34
Jewish Prayer;
It was taught: R. Judah used to say, A man is bound to say the following three blessings daily: “[Blessed art thou…] who hast not made me a heathen,” “…. who hast not made me a woman”; and “… who hast not made me a brutish man.” R. Aha b. Jacob once overhead his son saying “[Blessed art thou…] who hast not made me a brutish man,” whereupon he said to him, “And this too!” Said the other, “Then what blessing should I say instead?” [He replied,]…h who hast not made me a slave.” And is not that the same as a woman? – a slave is more contemptible.
In all this, we see that God for some reason made a human who we are told is in his own image but who is hugely inferior to a man.
It begs the question. Does God think that little of women?
Why would he create a person who will forever be under the thumb of another person even with all the failings of human beings?