Tag Archives: women

What is the point of marriage?

18 Oct

point of marriage
by Carol Dube

I have just learnt, with terror I must admit, that some of my relatives and a few friends are becoming worried that I may never settle down and get married. I am in my early thirties and strangely, I am assumed to be more than ripe and ready for marriage.

As if that is not enough, just the other day, I had a terrible misunderstanding with my paternal aunt – she fears I am becoming too successful that finding a man to marry me may prove to be just too difficult. I am advised men don’t really like successful women. I can’t help but be concerned.

Are men truly afraid of a successful woman? Isn’t it quite humorous how our society views men and women so differently? It is not in dispute that a successful man is very attractive, quite a catch. A friend of mine the other day was telling me that it is no longer necessary to take stock of the ratio of men versus women but rather, successful men to women, and I am told it’s 20 women: one successful man. Such figures are obviously unofficial, but this portrays just how on demand a successful man is.

The odds are, however, not the same for women. The more successful or the more educated a woman, the less attractive she becomes. It’s really an issue of double standards on the part of our society.

I became so concerned over this issue that I went as far as doing an online survey in some social forums I subscribe to in order to ascertain just why successful women aren’t viewed as marriage material. What became so obvious is that most men do not find a successful woman attractive because they fear that they may not be able to control her.

Just why men find it so macho to control a woman puzzles me. Are women so erratic, unpredictable, wild and dangerous that they ought be tamed and controlled? Is it really proper to control another human being? More importantly, is it profitable for any person to conduct their lives in accordance to another’s rule book?

It appears the brothers in my society are not too keen on marrying for the sake of gaining an equal partner. They seem to want a docile kind of a lady: the one who drops everything for her man and will bend over backwards just to please him; the kind that suffers in silence and dares not question him on any issue. A door mat. One that can easily be tamed.

Just take a closer look at most marriages in our society. Don’t wives seek permission to do just about anything? Most wives hardly ever make any decisions without consulting. Is it that they are incapable of making decisions or maybe they are just not competent enough?

Some men go as far as demanding that their wives dress a certain way; be home at a certain time; associate with certain individuals and obviously disassociate with others. Are women truly incapable of making their own choices on fashion, lifestyle and friends? Must one abandon their person for the sake of becoming what a man demands and expects from them? What is it that strips wives of their power and vests it with their husbands ? Could it be the fact that one pays the bride price for the other?

When a man pays lobola for his wife, is he not merely extending his gratitude for being blessed with a wife? How then does lobola become a symbol of ownership of a wife by her husband? It is beginning to appear as if a wife, like a couch, is just another household item.

The way this institution called marriage is understood in our Zimbabwean society leaves women in a very feeble position. I do not feel I am losing out on anything by not marrying.

What do I stand to gain from marriage? A man? I have one. Furthermore, I certainly can get and keep any man, if I put my heart to it.
Becoming Mrs so and so? Why? I already have a surname. I have been using it for over two decades, and I am sure using it for the rest of my life would not kill me.

Babies? I already have and I did not marry their father by choice. What really is the achievement in marriage? Am I missing out on anything? I have seen so many people marry only to divorce a couple of years later. Why then must I set myself up for heartache, pain and a life of misery?

Maybe one day, I will change my mind. Maybe one day I will choose to be tamed. Maybe I will choose to be controlled, to live a life according to the husband’s strict instructions. Maybe one day this institution of marriage will make perfect sense – I may even regret not having jumped into it earlier.

Until that very unlikely day, I refuse to marry to conform to societal expectations of me. I refuse to marry for the sake of my family and friends, the pleasure of them watching me tie the knot at the expense of my independence and joy.

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Carol Dube is a social commentator who tells it like she sees it

*This feature first appeared on http://www.newzimbabwe.com

We live in this world

29 Sep

did you know

Did you know?

• 100 million girls are missing due to female infanticide.

• 62 million girls of primary school age are out of school.

• 20 to 50% of girls have experienced sexual abuse from a family member.

• Every 3 seconds, a girl under 18 is forced or coerced to marry.

• Every year, 10 million girls under 18 are forced or coerced into marriage. 1 in 7 marries before they reach the age of 15.

• 1.2 million children are trafficked each year and 98% of those forced into commercial sexual exploitation are girls.

• The leading cause of death for young women aged 15 to 19 in developing countries is pregnancy.

• 36% of girls aged 15 – 19 in Africa and the Middle East have experienced female genital mutilation.

• By 2014, 64% of the world’s illiterate population will be female.

This is why your voice matters!

Quote of the Week – Women rule the world

20 Apr

women rule the world

Women really do rule the world. They just haven’t figured it out yet. When they do, and they will, we’re all in big big trouble.

Doctor Leon

On mothers, boyfriends, toddlers and sex

10 Feb

toddlers 2The naked woman straddles the man whose bare legs are stretched out lazily in front of him. She’s lost in the moment as she works hard to extract what little pleasure she can from his small, limp penis.

A small, face appears behind her, a boy, perhaps two and a half, not quite three years old. He watches this scene for a second then calls out “mama”, no response. Maybe they didn’t hear so he tries louder “mama’, again no response, his mother’s attention is elsewhere. The little boy, looking trapped, raises his left arm and pulls at his ear in discomfort. Too young to understand exactly what’s going on he intuitively feels he shouldn’t be seeing this.

Speaking in Ndebele, the man says, “Sengiphos’ukuqeda” [I’m about to finish].

She stops briefly and asks “Uthi kunjani?” [What did you say?].

Ngithi kanti wena awuqedi? Sengiphosa ukuqeda” [I said are you not ready to finish? I’m about to finish], he repeats.

A few seconds later, the man puts his hand on her hip and the woman gets off his lap. “Mhh, angiqedanga mina” [Mhh, I didn’t finish] she says in disappointment.

“Uzabuya usuqeda” [You’ll finish later] he reassures her. She walks off the screen and the video ends.

Except the story doesn’t end there! Someone posts the video on the internet and so begins a global hunt to “name and shame” the woman.

She’s since been identified as a 24 year old Zimbabwean who lives in South Africa. She recently issued a statement to say the man in the video is the father of her son and the video must have been leaked by mobile phone repair workers when she took her phone for repairs.

An extract of her statement reads:

“The man who shot the video is my only lover and is father to my son. I was not coerced into making this video, we did it for fun. In fact, my boyfriend took the video using my cell phone. Soon after he gave it back to me and how it went viral is my sole responsibility. However, I remember at some stage I had problems with the cell phone and then took it to a cell phone repair shop. I believe it is where the video was stolen and then circulated.”

About her  son watching she says:

“I really don’t know why on earth I did not stop. I regret everything. Its now like I don’t love my son, I love him so much, nothing on earth surpasses my love for him.”

“I am now even scared going back to Zimbabwe. How am I gonna face my grandmother in Mzilikazi? I am being insulted and abused every day by strangers on my phone. There is no single day that passes without any abuse. I accept I made a terrible mistake but I want to assure all those who are concerned that such a thing won’t happen again.”

She goes on to say that the video has led to the father of her son resigning from work.

“He had taken me to his work place, unfortunately some people had seen the video and managed to identify me. It was so devastating, so my boyfriend had to resign from work because of that. Now you can see how we have suffered because of this. We are being tormented every day and night.”

This incident raises issues on so many levels, about parental responsibility, child abuse, African culture’s attitude towards women having sex, privacy and issues around bad sex and whether women should speak up when their needs are not met. Do you feel it matters whether the man is her only lover or the father of her child?, what about the man, why was there no campaign to name and shame him? Is it ever a good idea to let anyone make a sex tape of you?

This one’s up for general discussion.Tell us your thoughts!

Postcard from Zimbabwe

8 Feb

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After one too many reminders from a few not so subtle friends I’ve finally dragged myself out of hibernation. A very belated Happy New Year to everyone!

The truth is I’ve been slacking off in Zimbabwe enjoying precious time with family. Remind me to only ever fly with Emirates because they sure know how to look after their young passengers.

As soon as I arrived in Zimbabwe I was reminded of what a beautiful country it is despite the media hype. I was reminded of a lifestyle that we can never have in the Diaspora and took full advantage of my 3 weeks there to soak it all in.

I was struck though by how acceptable it’s become for men to have small houses, a symptom of the economic collapse, I guess, where women are happy to trade their bodies for financial security within the now socially acceptable “small house”. For men a small house has become a must-have symbol of financial success.

It’s good to be back and I look forward to some interesting conversations in 2013!

Quote of the week – Never be bullied

9 Nov

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

Harvey Fienstein

Every woman is not your enemy

15 Oct

Having breezed through an easy pregnancy, and with the control freak in me showing, I had it all worked out. We planned to have just one baby and I had absolutely no intention of experiencing a natural birth.

When I awoke from my planned and scheduled delivery I gazed at my son’s angelic face and just knew he would be an easy baby.

But my son had other plans!

I soon discovered there was nothing ‘instinctive’ about breast feeding – thank god for African mothers in law who’ve no qualms about grabbing your boob and teaching you exactly how it’s done.

I walked around in a daze watching my nights of sleep fast disappearing before me. Who’d switched my easy baby for this uptight little person who woke up grizzling at the sound of the tiniest mouse tiptoeing past the bedroom window?

I glared at the paediatrician as he patiently explained there was nothing wrong with my baby, that the hardest part of having a baby was after the birth. The pregnancy and birth were the easy bits apparently! He wondered why women no longer shared the truth about life and motherhood as their grandmothers had done.

I wondered the same thing! After all there’d been no shortage of advice on how to make sure I didn’t pay too much attention to the baby in case my husband strayed.

Leaving the paediatrician’s rooms that day I vowed to always speak the truth to other women about life in general.

My gorgeous nieces are the closest things I have to daughters and here are my top five ‘wisdoms’ for them that I wish African women spoke more openly about:

1. Every woman is not your enemy

Next time you meet a woman, don’t look her up and down and judge her clothes, hair, looks. She’s so much more than that. Don’t assume every attractive woman is after your boyfriend or husband. Make a point to be genuinely nice and mentally tick off one complimentary thing about her. Even if she turns out to be a witch it will have been good for your own personal growth.

 2. Get to know the girl inside you

African culture is loud on your role as a daughter, sister, wife and mother. Take time to meet the girl inside you, the one that no one speaks for. Understand what makes her happy, her dreams and hopes. As you go through life make a point to bring her along with you, don’t lose sight of her. She’s the one person who’ll always have your back.

 3. Hire your partner

You would never hire someone for a position at work without going through their resume, interviewing them and checking their references. So why would you give anyone such an important position in your personal life without doing the same? Ask yourself what value he brings to your life, what’s your return on investment? Conduct a thorough risk assessment as you would with any big investment

 4. Always have choices

People treat you the way you allow them to. When you find yourself accepting treatment that’s less than you deserve, ask yourself why you’re allowing it. Often it’s because of cultural pressure, social stigma, fear of being alone or financial dependence. Look your fear straight in the face and once you can see it clearly you’ll know your choice. Never give up your ambition and financial independence. Go back to school, pay attention to your career, aspire to own that late model car yourself instead of looking for a man to give it to you. Invest in yourself because when life throws you a curved ball that investment is what gives you choices.

5. Live a life you’re proud of

Live a life that’s true to who you are. Don’t reduce yourself  to monitoring phones and stalking your partner ‘to prevent them cheating’. That girl inside you has good intuition, listen to her. No amount of monitoring can ever guarantee men won’t let you down. Go into a relationship with the knowledge you’ve done your due diligence and that should you be proven wrong you’ll have the strength and dignity to come out of it wiser. Every relationship requires compromise and negotiation but know your ‘non negotiables’. These are your core values, they are who you are. Don’t trade them!

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We’d love to hear your ‘wisdoms’ for other African women.