SAVE THE BOY-CHILD! HE IS BECOMING AN ENDANGERED GENDER!
Many individuals claim that we have become so occupied with empowering the female child that men are becoming the endangered gender. True or otherwise, I have my reservations: I strongly believe it is a machination to get us to water down our efforts at seeking female empowerment.
Oftentimes though, I feel hit by these unfounded accusations. I see them as a ploy to sway the narrative in favour of the boy-child, even though there is virtually no distinction between both children when they are forming.
Why not let a child define who they will become, all by themselves? Why deny them of choices, of the need to, having been guided without a skewed mindset, chose what they will become?
In truth, the focus of gender equality advocacy has always been on women. After all, it is widely viewed that it is the woman or the female gender who have been subjugated or marginalized. Hence, the reason that everyone – sane enough to understand the impact of such glorious movement – seeks to re-enlighten the society on the need to see both genders are equal. We are all humans and should be given the same rights, privileges and opportunities as anyone else, before we begin to consider gender. It simply seeks to ensure that women live, fulfill and maximize their potentials. Simply, humanity first before gender.
Many a time that I visit schools for outreaches, a good number of the boys often walk up to me, challenging me on why there are no programmes organised for their sakes. I see the need in their eyes. I see the hurt. And as much as I strive to comprehend their emotions, I fail, abysmally. One, my hands are tied to help them. Two, their realities are mainly closed off from me.
Needless to say, I ginger them by enlightening them on the need to have a re-shaped view on societal treatment of females in their lives. Consequently, the boy-child not only becomes adequately educated and sufficiently acquainted with facts but he also becomes equipped for a genderless world.
I get to see and hear issues about failed fatherhood most times, and a number of issues associated with manhood; I wish that we had more men who would watch out for the boy-child. For when it comes to fatherhood, there is a lock of buckling down to do and I can only wish that more had to be done, by those who are primarily concerned: the males.
There is more to fatherhood than simply fathering a child – a child should be properly groomed to discern what is right from what is acceptable, from what I wrong from what is morally disparaging. More voices need to be heard. Needless to say, a man needs to stand for the boy-child; it is high time we majored in their needs as well. It is high time the world heard their voices.
My heart sinks when questions are asked of me about the boy-child; questions that I obviously may not have defining responses to. As a result of this, most of the snide remarks are directed at me, every now and then because of my inability to tackle the immediate challenges of the boy-child.
(Un)Fortunately, I am a female. And this is my reality. That is what I breathe and live. Hence, it is natural for me to want to look out for my kind and speak for her. It might come as a shock to you that as a woman on this journey, I am yet to understand, fully, what womanhood fully entails. It is still a journey for me and I am still discovering a lot of realities about my body, my sexuality and my femininity. Heck, I do not even have it all figured out but out of the little I know that I feel I could teach young girls. For me, womanhood is an explorative journey and, in my quest, to discover and uncover, I seek to carry along as many girl-children as I can.
I am passionate about the boy-child, just as adequately as I am hotly in pursuit of purpose for the girl-child but I will always be incapacitated to be the driving force that they (boy-children) need since I can barely relate with their day-to-day experiences like I am with a girl-child’s. Imagine someone calling me to speak in a male conference to the boy child about things that only happen to men. Sincerely, I will not deliver well. It might just be a presentation made up of online contents and no practicality.
The misconception that female empowerment or giving a voice to female child is commensurate to male endangerment needs to be buried until its roots wither away. Many Africans think that when women have equal rights and opportunities as their male counterparts, it means less power or less relevance for men. For me, this simply means there will be equal playing ground for everyone to thrive without bias. It simply means that fairness and justice is ensured. Gender equality does not seek to incapacitate the man or make him a being less than or of low importance to women. It seeks to show everyone that humanity comes before gender.
I have come across men who take issues that affect the boy-child passionately and the list of the men who pick up the gauntlet grows incessantly. Hence, others may just do the same since the goal is to enlighten the child to define who they are. For me, all I care for is the development and growth of everyone regardless gender. The boy-child should be taught the basics of being a responsible father, a good husband, an active citizen and a supportive partner at work, in school and everywhere. In no way will I turn a blind eye to such a movement, if it were ever to see the light of the day.
I do not think it is fair to reason or act with prejudice when I appear to neglect the boy-child and channel every ounce of my strength toward the cause of the development of the girl-child. Although, there are genuine concerns out there––like the idea of teaching the modern-day male how to be a human who believes in gender equality, how to be a better (present and actively involved) father and how to work with or become a partner with a pro-thinking female. These issues could be addressed by passionate men, just as I see the need to tackle issues that are predominantly female-centred.
Gender equality did not start on a global scale. It started with individuals saying no to societal constructs and stereotypes, standing up to what they believed and inspiring other women to take up the mantle, in any way that they could. In a blink of an eye – even though in the real sense, it did take tens of years before it became a widely-discussed issue – what started as a simple street protest became a worldwide phenomenon.
Gender equality is not a fight on any gender but a cause to unite both genders as a means of seeing them operate from the same pedestal, without fear of one gender being superior to the other. The goal of advocacy will be underachieved if one gender is left in the lurch.