Despite my best intentions, inadvertently the underlying theme of my blog seems to be feminism. That was not my intention for this blog, but it is a big part of who I am and what I believe. I am the one in workshops and meetings that requests a change of language to use the world “chairperson” instead of “chairman”, I am the one who asks “well what do the women think or what is the woman’s role?” I see women everyday NOT standing up for them to be treated better or to receive the respect they deserve. I get excited about meeting independent, strong, outspoken Zambian women who break the mold. Just as I get excited about meeting Zambian men that break the mold as well. It is these people that will revolutionize the social mentality in Zambia, and it is these types of people that will revolutionize the world to make it a more equal place, at least in the gender aspect, maybe not in the hierarchies of society.
|Ba Monica, my neighbor and an amazing woman. She is outspoken, assertive, and independent.|
Because of afore mentioned thoughts, I got really upset when I saw Madmen. While living in our little bubble called America we have no idea what type of pop culture is exported to other countries. For instance WWF (the wrestling thing not the wildlife fund) is huge here, ever heard of John Cena? Dolly Parton, Don Williams, Michael Jackson, 50cent, Jay-Z are some of the most popular artists in the Villages and small towns up country. People know Chuck Norris and Walker Texas Ranger here. I have watched Jersey Shore here, it is on the extended satellite package, so the people who can afford such a luxury see Americans as Snooky and the Incident, REALLY? So when I saw Madmen, I got upset because that series could be exported into other cultures where women are treated like that and that show could reinforce that behavior because there are other successful, developed and wealthy nations who treat their women the same way. The danger lies in the chance that the cultural context (the American Culture) is not completely understood in a foreign culture and that this is a take on life 50 years ago. Plus it is a major assumption by society that we have really come so far and that women are treated so much better and more equally within society? Have we? I’m not so sure, here is why:
|These are the neighbor ladies from my village, traditional gender roles put the responsibility of food preparation on women.|
I am really into fish, a lot of Americans think this is strange, eccentric and it becomes really difficult for people to understand so they write it off as just another eccentricity of Jocelyn. Fish are a boy’s thing, why would a girl be so into fish in a non-marine biology, dolphin loving sort of way. Don’t get me wrong dolphins are great.
Emasculating is a word used in everyday language; it is not some archaic word our ancestors once used. The very nature of the word places the blame of the behavior not on the man but on the other person. Definition: Deprive (a man) of his male role or identity (http://tinyurl.com/65a9byv). No word exists to describe the explicit humiliation of a woman, isn’t this odd? There is a way to describe a woman as masculine or butch and a man as effeminate (unmanly) or feminine. But there is no way to express that an outside party has deprived a woman of her female role or identity, unless there is and I just don’t know it. In Zambia this would refer to her sexuality and she would be termed “damaged”. Anyway this was a conversation amongst my friends here, I can’t remember what we concluded (maybe they can remind me).
When I started writing last night I was going to write about my efforts at regaining my femininity, I wore high heels to work for the first time in my life. Meaning I wore high heels for more than 2-3 hours for the VERY first time in my life. As I was writing about this I felt silly and wanted to write about something that has much more meaning to me. Not that being feminine isn’t important to me (I shave my legs, wear make, fix my hair, and wear dresses), I just needed something more passionate and empowering. Sorry gentlemen, but if you aren’t a son, brother, father, or uncle this isn’t important to you. Just as it should be important to women to help define new gender roles for both men and women so that we don’t have confused and befuddled generations of men and women trying to interact with each other to no avail. With the change of women’s roles in society so must there be a change to men’s roles come.
|The next generation. Right now boys and girls are seated together, I hope this remains the case as they grow up. But traditionally men and women don't sit together.|