I have been contemplating responding to some of the demeaning statements about women for a while now. Some of these demeaning statements have surfaced a lot especially on social media regarding Grace Mugabe, which comes as a generalization of how society continues to undermine women. For instance on one platform someone posted saying “women have a way of ruining everything they touch where men are involved”. After reading this I responded saying, “this is not a valid observation, and it’s comments like these that undermine and degrade women.” I continued by saying “I think you have forgotten the role your mother played in your life”.
When the gentleman realized that I was serious, he later said it was just a joke. A day later as I was reading different statements regarding Zimbabwe, I came across an article that again pointed to the issue of undermining women. Basically, the title read “Women bring great men down- the case of Grace Mugabe”, the author went on to quote that “behind every great man’s fall is women”. He went to recount how women made biblical figures like Adam, David, Samson and King Solomon fall. My response to this article was “this is the problem in our society, we blame women for men’s failures.” What the writer failed to see, is that these biblical men made choices and those choices gave birth to consequences. This principle still stands today, we make choices that yield particular outcomes. The state we are in is what determines whether we will make the wrong or the right choices.
We don’t fail as men because of women, we do so because of what informs our choices. This disregard and the shifting of blame onto women when a man fails is sickening and disgraceful. We see these perceptions at play in religious circles too. When a Pastor/Priest is found in a compromising situation with a member of the opposite sex, the woman will be the first one to get blamed. The pastor will often act as a victim, saying “the woman tempted me” or “the devil wants to destroy me.” The woman is always labelled as the one sent by the devil to destroy the man of God, never the other way round. Actually in certain cases, the wife too then also gets blamed for not adequately taking care of the husband.
I’m reminded of a woman who was once excommunicated from church by the board at the time, because they were suspecting she was having an affair with the pastor. When I learnt of this, I asked her why they had only excommunicated her alone, surely it takes two to tango? This just shows how society has accorded men with certain privileges at the expense of women’s dignity.
Last year I came across a picture that was supposedly of a man caught having sex with his sister-in-law. What was extremely disturbing was that the man’s wife and some of the family members were seen to be beating her up and almost stripping her naked. Surprisingly, the man was just by himself standing next to the kitchen, unquestioned. Why was the lady the only person who seemed to be in trouble? Then I remembered that, we are living in a society that is biased and unjust. A society that views women as the ones who are responsible for destroying marriages and families. A society that sees women as malevolent and that they destroy great men. Women cannot be blamed for men’s moral failure, immorality, injustice and all other wrong things. Error knows no gender. In my experience I have seen men use their power, money and influence to destroy marriages and women’s dreams and aspirations.
Our society needs to reflect deeply and not let men off the hook for their own failures. Let men learn to be accountable and to take full responsibility for their actions
Kelvin Namwanza is an Author, Leadership Expert, Speaker & Strategic Adviser
-He also provides One on One business coaching sessions on Bitcoin and other leading digital currencies.
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