Few months ago, I had an altercation with a male colleague on gender issues. Basically he justified our patriarchal society by the Holy Scriptures prescriptions:
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
To be fair with him, he did not stop the quote there and added these two verses:
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
It is difficult to engage a constructive discussion with someone who refuses any contextualization of the biblical text.
Few days ago, while reading this passage of the short essay from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on feminism, We should all be feminists, I recalled the incident.
Some people will say a woman is subordinate to men because it’s our culture. (…) Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.
The point made by Chimamanda has a particular resonance in our Congolese context, where religion, cultural specificities are regularly opposed to gender equality.
Many other important points are made in this essay:
We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them (…) We define masculinity in a very narrow way (…) If we start raising children differently, then in fifty, hundred years, boys will no longer have the pressure of providing their masculinity by material means (…) But by far the worst thing we do to males is that we leave them with very fragile egos.
(…) We do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males.
- Relevancy of feminism
(…)To use the vague expression Human rights [instead of feminism] is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender(…)
I will definitely offer this short but so necessary essay to my colleague because after all “We should all be feminists”
The essay « We should all be feminists » has been adapted from the Ted Talk here