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Misogyny: Standard article is a big shame

Apparently, the global campaign for women’s empowerment has turned the world upside down – that is if Crazy Monday, the weekly pullout in The Standard, is to be believed.

The publication’s main feature last week bore the heading, “Botched: How ‘empowerment’ has spoilt our women’. The article, authored by ‘Crazy Monday Team’, was illustrated by two pictures: The main one (occupying half a page) was of a woman smoking a cigar and the other of a woman slumped on a table, apparently drunk.

“When the European came up with the drive for women empowerment in 1909, they had noble ideas,” the article started. “All they wanted was to help women world over get empowered economically, enjoy basic human rights like voting, property ownership and ensure gender equality on matters such as education.

“Unfortunately, some feminism activists hijacked the idea, watered it down and, instead, not only launched a gender war but also began competing with men to outdo each other in ‘bad manners’.”

There are at least four questions to ask at this point. One, where is the evidence that women’s empowerment is a “European” idea? Are the authors of this silly article – and the people who think like them – aware of the struggles women in Africa and elsewhere have waged for their own empowerment long before contact with the mzungu?

Two, who are those mzungus who “came up with the drive for women[‘s] empowerment”? Why not name them?

Three, 1909 is stated as the year this “drive” started. Where exactly and how?

And four, who are the “feminism activists [who] hijacked the idea, watered it down and, instead, launched a gender war, etcetera? On what basis do the authors make this claim?

Then the Crazy Monday Team – they certainly got no balls to identify themselves by name – proceeded to recount how “the average modern woman has turned herself into a soccer addict, meat-eating and beer-guzzling she-man.”

“For these women, the bar is their altar, meat their sacrament and booze their wine.”

Can anyone name a Kenyan community where women never touched tobacco or alcohol?

A supposed expert was even brought in to pontificate that, “drinking, smoking and reckless sexual behavior are habits most women acquire in college and never let go, especially when they are financially empowered.”

The name of this “expert” is Paul Omondi. He is allegedly an anthropologist, but his institutional affiliation was not indicated.

Seriously? Was this supposed to be humour or what? Who signed off for publication such gross stereotyping of Kenyan women?

Who says that only men are entitled to the “vices” that women are now accused of taking over? Why does it require a penis to smoke a cigarette or drink alcohol or eat nyama choma in a pub?

Coming a week after celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, there appears to be no doubt that the authors of this retrogressive, chauvinistic screed wanted to put down women, pour cold water on the gallant strides women have made in the struggle, not just for their own empowerment, but for a better world.

Crazy Monday’s “modern woman” is not an inventor, a politician, a researcher, a state official, a spiritual leader, a university vice-chancellor, a successful business lady, a CEO, etcetera. No, she is slumped on a table nursing the pains of too much liquor!

Crazy Monday is obviously not aware that empowerment campaigns have succeeded in changing attitudes about women, uplifting them, reducing gender-based violence, ending harmful practices targeted at women, increased enrolment of girls and women in education, led to the rise of women in the professions and appointment to decision-making positions in the public and private sectors.

Feminism, which Crazy Monday and many male chauvinists don’t even understand, is the struggle for a just social order where one’s sexuality should not automatically privilege or disadvantage them.

It is difficult to see what good the authors of this article were up to.

No one who has even a little understanding of women’s struggles would write such hogwash. Big shame!

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