Questions! Questions! Questions!

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Howdy?

I hope you are keeping well in these unprecedented times. Be open-minded, be patient and hopeful. If you can do this, history will remember that you were once in this world and you are COVID-19 survivor. Today, we have a guest blogger. Here we go.

Hey! I know you were expecting to read another blog post from Patience, but please do hang in there. I will try my level best to make it worth the while. Do you promise to indulge me just this one time? Great! Let’s do this!

My name is Sidney Aburi, and if you frequently visit Patience’s blog (I sure hope you do) then you might remember me from her very first blog post here in Cardiff. I’m her amazing, fun, exciting and best housemate. I’m assuming this is how she introduces me to her friends.

Well, nine months ago, I had promised Patience that I’d be a guest blogger on this fantastic platform of hers and to be honest, I may have made that promise hoping that she would forget. But if you know Patience well, then you know that there are two things she values: Someone’s word and Women’s rights. Now that I am keeping my word, I figured that I’d pen down a few thoughts on the latter.

From Left; Sidney, Dr. Pamela, Patience and Ronald

Before I go any further, please note that this is in no way, shape or form one of those posts that attempt to paint out what feminism looks like from a man’s perspective. It’s far from that. These are just but scribbles of a clueless young man seeking answers, with the hope of making the world a better place.

At this point, you must be wondering why, of all the topics, did I choose to write about this. Well, again, if you know Patience well enough, then you can attest to the fact that she has made you think about this topic critically one too many times. Patience is so vocal and confident about this subject matter that I honestly have so much fun drawing reactions from her for no reason. So much that, I’d at times walk past her in the kitchen and mutter something like, “hmmmm women, women, women…”. As soon as I’d sound out the ‘n’ in the last ‘women’, Patience’s eyes would lit up and she would wear one of those smiles daring you… “Go on, please finish your statement.”

From Left: Dr. Pamela, Patience, Sidney and Ronald.

To which I’d casually reply, “women are the greatest beings this world has ever seen.” At this point, we are both laughing because she knows oh so well what I have just done. What she doesn’t know, however, and what she is going to find out once she proofreads this post (it’s still her blog you know), is that in these nine months, she has made me do some introspection on the role that I have to play in fostering equality on matters gender.

As I stated earlier, I have no clue what I am writing about, and I would love it if you read this post from that perspective. All I have are questions that I may provide my view on (which may change, as I grow older and learn more things along the way) and some that I may leave up to you to help me figure out and hopefully let Patience know through your comments so that I could be a better person in society.

Sidney Aburi

My first question has been, “What is pure feminism and how I can I get on board?” I use the word ‘pure’ because, just like any other movements in this world, there have always been contributions to the movement that take away from the original intent. Granted, being a man I have enjoyed some form of privilege and the worst thing about privilege is that unless you sit back and think about it, you never know that you have it. It is like ‘white privilege’. But back to my question. I guess what I am trying to figure out is how exactly I ought to help.

Five men in a panel on television (manel) that are not discussing male-related topics is highly unnecessary during these times, and my privileged eyes never took note of this before. I must thank Patience for this. In fact, I have vowed to use my voice in any possible way to speak against this imbalance. What I need help with is, should I speak with the same vigour against a similar panel with five women or is it, in this case, an empowering thing to have such a panel? Please help me out on this, I am honestly confused.

The Spice Girls of Chevening in Cardiff

Here is another question I have had to wrestle with, “What does success look like?” I am cognitive of reservations that many have had, that some form of feminism is simply hatred towards men. It is another conversation altogether whether we as men may have brought this upon ourselves. What I am more clueless about is, what are the signs of a healed society or is this all just a pendulum that will soon swing towards ‘masculinism’ as a result of the equality goal being forgotten?

Will, we ever view the said five-woman panel for what they have to bring to the table or will it be always an attempt to prove that women can be better than men? I guess what I am asking is, will we ever view each other as just people when it does not demand us to play the gender card or should I just fasten my boots and focus on supporting the feminism fight at hand. Again, I am totally clueless; my questions are just that….questions.

Sidney with his housemates during Christmas party hosted in Cardiff

Finally, in my full support of the movement, is it okay to suggest alternative ways of furthering the movement because if we are being honest, the male folks have created certain cultures and policies that have made it harder for equality to be achieved. I may not have chosen my privilege, but can I choose to use it for the greater good?

Mmm, I guess this might be the most clueless thing you have ever read on this blog, but as I said earlier on, I am just looking for answers. Just that. I hope that if you miss anything meaningful from my post, then you can draw only one thing from this post ……..that I am Patience’s amazing, fun, interesting and most importantly best housemate. I really don’t care that Dr. Pamela and Ronald might dispute this.

Sidney with other Kenyan students at Cardiff Bay in Cardiff.

Thanks, Patience, for giving me the opportunity to ask my questions. I hope I will get answers. I hope I have kept my word. #IAmChevening and this too is #MyCheveningJourney

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Patience Nyange

I believe in a just society and I am a strong believer in Ralph Waldo Emerson words: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

12 thoughts on “Questions! Questions! Questions!

  • 6th July 2020 at 10:06 am
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    Only in asking questions do we get closer to our truth!!!!

    Reply
    • 6th July 2020 at 11:19 am
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      Dear Tshepo,
      Thank you for emphasizing on the fact that we need to keep asking questions and in doing so, we will get closer to our truth!

      Sidney says hi.

      Reply
  • 6th July 2020 at 10:21 am
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    First off, I agree that you are her bestest (is this a word) housemate. Secondly I believe in equality on all levels. I say this because there came an era in Kenya where we concentrated on the forgotten girl child and the boys took a back sit. Now we have a generation of men who are quite lost.

    In my opinion everyone matters regardless of gender or race. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard. Everyone’s opinion needs to be respected

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    • 6th July 2020 at 10:52 am
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      Hhahahhahah Betsy! I suspected you will be number one on this platform today.

      Thank you for writing a response to Sidney. Just like you, I believe “Everyone matters regardless of their gender. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard. Everyone’s opinion needs to be respected”

      Sidney says hi.

      Reply
  • 6th July 2020 at 10:38 am
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    Very good read Sidney and it’s good to hear the great impact Patience has had on you! (she does that to everyone around her by the way). I will answer just one of your questions, “What’s pure feminism? “, To me it’s the advocacy for women to have power over THEMSELVES not more or less than men, it’s not about making them stronger, it’s about empowering people on how they perceive the strength of a woman. You can make one good advocate Sydney…….
    And by the way I must agree you are the best housemate!!

    Reply
    • 6th July 2020 at 11:28 am
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      Hahhahahahaha Hellen! I didn’t know I have had such an impact until I read Sidney’s blog post. Quite flattering I must say!
      I also agree with you, that Sidney, can make a very good advocate. That I know too well. So I am glad he is asking questions and I am hoping that he will get answers and directions on how he can best support the quest for women empowerment. He has been a great #HeForShe Ambassador.

      Thank you for your response on pure feminism. Sidney appreciates it and says hi.

      Patience.

      Reply
  • 6th July 2020 at 10:54 am
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    Feminism critically looks at traditional beliefs as heavily focusing on men’s standpoint with little regard for women’s perspectives. Things like family responsibilities have always been traditionally regarded as trivial and non-masculine matters. Women are portrayed as shallow in comparison to men. Tradition honors masculine traits like independence and domination and gives less weight to feminine traits like interdependence, and emotion. Feminist women are judged when they embody any traditionally masculine traits, they are seen as an attempt to be more like men.
    The simplest way to get on board is to live it on a day to day basis. I have seen men washing napkins or caring for their babies at home, much to the criticism of their fellow men. I have seen fathers allowing their sons to take up careers like chefs; which are considered in African culture as for women. I have seen men with daughters only giving their girls a voice at family gatherings to represent the family.

    Reply
    • 6th July 2020 at 11:30 am
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      Dear Maryana Munyendo…

      I love this sentence-
      “The simplest way to get on board is to live it on a day to day basis. I have seen men washing napkins or caring for their babies at home, much to the criticism of their fellow men. I have seen fathers allowing their sons to take up careers like chefs; which are considered in African culture as for women. I have seen men with daughters only giving their girls a voice at family gatherings to represent the family.”

      You have summed it up.
      Sidney appreciates your answer and says hi.

      Reply
  • 6th July 2020 at 12:11 pm
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    Haha.. Sidney.. Your thoughts are quite interesting and the questions asked are valid. I always also wonder, will there ever be equality in gender? We who are gender sensitive and look at everything from that perspective and with gender sensitive lens, will we ever ‘stop’ the fight? One form of success in all these, is when panels for example are gender sensitive. Because, let’s face it, when we don’t see a woman in a poster with 5 men, we are still saying that no woman could match up their expertise and knowledge, which is totally untrue. Another form of success is when we vote for women leaders not because they are related to us or anything, but because we believe they are a leader and just as good. In the countries that have the best managed situations of COVID 19, an interesting trait was that the countries’ leaders were all women. When we vote for women because we believe in their ability and not because of tokenism, we can well say we are on the road to success. But as for now, your questions are valid and the future will tell on whether gender equality is elusive or a reality. Ps. Good writing. Patience has taught you well 🙂

    Reply
    • 6th July 2020 at 4:28 pm
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      Dear Light,

      Very interesting read from you. I like how you have tackled each question. Thank you for sharing your insights with us.

      “As for now, your questions are valid and the future will tell on whether gender equality is elusive or a reality.”

      Sidney appreciated your feedback and says hi.

      Thanks.

      Patience.

      Reply
  • 13th July 2020 at 4:14 pm
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    Sidney does raise pertinent issues on feminism. I believe that to avoid “masculinism” and such related movements in future, focus should now be on intersectional feminist leadership that aims to dismantle all forms of discrimination based on aspects such as age, status, race, disability, beliefs, nationality etc. This way, we wont be moving 5 steps forward and 5 backward.

    I really like the last photo of this blog because I did include Cardiff Bay in one of my Chevening essays, so seeing it gives me reason to smile as I will see it soon:)

    Reply
    • 13th July 2020 at 4:28 pm
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      Dear Stella,

      Your dreams are valid. Yes, I am looking forward to seeing you in Cardiff.
      Very happy that you will have a chance to see Cardiff in its original setting.
      I also love your suggestion for intersectional feminism. If we all embrace it, then we have more to gain that leave it looking like it is a battle of the sexes.

      Thank you for passing by.

      Patience.

      Reply

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