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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

I was going to call this post "May he who has no sin cast the first stone" but I thought that was way too long right?!..So if you have any suggestions for a title, let me know in the comments below!

I had a lovely lazy Sunday this past weekend. Went to church, came back home and literally spent the entire day chilling on the couch, watching TV and scrolling through my Instagram and Twitter feeds. So I came across an interesting tweet from one of the accounts I follow (@zimleague). Below is a screen grab of the tweet:

I thought it was quite deep, but didn't think too much about it. A few hours later, I came across another similar post on Demetria Lucas' Instagram. Monica Lewinsky (I need not introduce her, if you're old enough to read this blog you certainly should know who she is),recently gave a TED Talk called "The price of shame".  In a nutshell, Monica was talking about how unforgiving the world is and how public shaming may seem like fun for those doing it, but can and usually does have devastating consequences on the "victim". 

                                          Monica Lewinsky giving her TED talk: The price of Shame

I'm not so sure though if what Monica hopes for will ever come to fruition. I think the human race is so far gone in it's need to be cruel and malicious (usually for no reason) to each other. As I read the comments on Demetria's Instagram post, I became more and more convinced of this. 

I realise though, that there is a very, very fine line between genuinely advising someone and being an outright evil bitch/troll. On the other hand, one of my most hated sayings is "don't judge". If you do stupid things, guess what? people are going to judge you. Expect it. Think of God even. If you sin, He definitely will forgive you, but you WILL suffer the consequences. Why? To teach you a lesson so that you learn from your mistakes and hopefully come out of your situation a better person. I think modern society has really, really abused that phrase ,"don't judge". It is used as an excuse for people to run riot and do whatever they want, to hell with the consequences. Heaven forbid that someone should try to caution or advise that person. A million people will scream in their direction "Who are you to judge?" "Are you perfect?" Errrrm no, I'm neither of those things. But that doesn't mean I should keep quiet when I could do or say something that could potentially save someone from dire consequences.

Having said all that, let's go back to @zimleague 's tweet.  Whilst most of us like to act all holier-than-though, the truth is most if not all of us have done something in the past that we're not really proud of. The only difference maybe is the scale of what we've done. Some us may forever regret  breaking the heart of the love of our lives. Some may have estranged parents because we were or maybe still are too stubborn to go back and make ammends. Some have had abortions that they regret. Some may have stolen something and now have to live with an unecessary criminal record for the rest of their lives. Monica Lewinsky had an affair with the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!(bruh!!)  But you know what, all that is in the PAST. Think of yourself. Think about the silly/stupid/shocking/embarassing things lurking in your past. Imagine if the people in your life judged you solely on that one incident (some of us may have several incidences lol). Would that really be fair? Is that who you are? Is that what defines you? If your answer is no, then why should it be true of someone else? Monica was 22 when she had that affair with Bill. Yes, 22 is a fully grown adult. She should have known better and she has had to suffer the consequences of her decisions. Whilst watching her TED talk though, I thought of myself at 22. Goodness! Although I was legally an adult, I was still a baby at heart. A baby! I was so immature I cringe when I think about how I was then. If I had been given the opportunity, I most probably would have made worse mistakes than Monica! 

Khanyi! I love Khanyi despite her dubious past. I love who she is now!
But you know what? That is life. We live, we learn. As long as we learn from our mistakes that's what matters right? No-one is perfect. No-one knows it all. Listen to those who try to give you good advice. You never know, they could be trying to save you from future heartache. Watching Monica speak I realised this is something she most probably will never get over. The pain and fear is still there in her eyes. But I see something else in her eyes. A determination to not let this saga rule her life anymore. She has this yes-it-still-hurts-but-I'll-be-damned-if-you-start-that-shit-again look. Good for her! People need to get over it! Surely being kind and encouraging each other is better than trolling and pointing figures and sniggering behind each other's backs?

Always remember, those people who constantly remind you of your past are threatened by your future. They are confortable with the way you used to be. They cannot stand you outshining them DESPITE your past. People are constantly learning and growing. Be happy for someone else's progress. 

Your never know what we will discover about you...!


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Women: We are our own worst enemy

There is a joke that goes something like this: A woman went for a girl’s night out and had such a crazy time she did not get back home until the next morning. Her husband was furious and asked where she had been. She told him to call her girlfriends who could verify that they had all been together, innocently having fun and had simply lost track of time. Half of the friends the husband called denied ever having been with her and the other half didn't even answer the husband's calls. In another household, a similar situation was unfolding. However, this time the husband was the one in the hot seat. The wife angrily called his friends demanding to know where her husband had spent the night. Two vouched for him saying he was the only sober one and had to drive everyone else home hence his getting home late. Another one said his wife had suddenly gone into labour and the husband in question, being such a good friend of course, had taken them to the hospital and was now on his way home. Three of the husbands friends said indeed they had been out together but the husband was so tired that he couldn't drive home and was at that very moment asleep in their spare bedroom!

Now of course I am not condoning deception in households but this joke does reflect the differences in how men and women stand up for each other. As women, we are always complaining and moaning about how men oppress us and how they don't treat us as equals. While it is true that there is a good number of males (I won't say men) out there that indeed look down upon and oppress women, can we really place the blame squarely on their shoulders? What about us women? How do we really treat each other? Are we always genuinely happy for one another’s success?

I think all ladies will agree with me that the best place to hear the craziest stories is the hair salon! (And please ladies, it's called the hair salOn not salOOn. A saloon is a type of bar particular to the Old West or a large room or hall for receptions. Two completely different words!). Anyway, I digress. The hair salon. You get to hear all sorts of stories at hair salons. Three quarters of the time it is female customers talking to each other about other female customers or the hair dressers talking to whoever cares to listen about other female hair dressers or about other female clients. Ninety nine percent of the time it is nothing positive. “Did you hear so and so is getting divorced?” or “Eish, have you seen so and so lately? She is sick I tell you. She doesn’t have any hair left” or “Tjo! Guess what? The other day I saw so and so’s husband with some girl in a dark corner at XYZ restaurant!” On and on we go, gossiping, laughing, pulling each other down. Not once have I heard, “So and so’s business is doing really well these days” or “Wow, did you see the car so and so is driving now? She is lucky to have such a good man who takes care of her” or “Ladies, so and so is going through a hard time. Let us go and support her”. In the same salon though, listen to the conversation going on in the barber’s corner. The guys are more likely than not to be talking about some sport or the other. Next possible topic is politics. You may also even hear them talking about some guy who’s business is doing well and how they also want in on whatever he is doing. You hardly hear them talking about each other’s personal lives or laughing at each other or gleefully cackling at each other’s misfortunes.

Women like to pull each other down even in the most unnecessary of situations. Picture this. You are driving home during peak hour and the traffic is moving at 2cm per hour. You are trying to get into a main road from a side road and you need someone to give you way. Now ladies. How many times has a fellow woman given you way? Funny isn’t it? If the two cars in front of you are being driven by men, she will stop and happily give way. As soon as she realizes you are a woman, she will step on that accelerator like her life depends on it and block your car even if she is not actually going to go anywhere due to the traffic jam!

Then there is the office. The scene of many a back stabbing and pulling down! Notice how men can work on project effectively and well together. No glitches whatsoever. Have a team of ladies and most of the time that is recipe for disaster. Nails come out and eyes are scratched. All for no reason other than one woman may not like the fact that the other woman drives a better car than hers. Or her husband has a better job. Or she lives in a better part of town. Or she has better clothes. Or even that she is prettier! Therefore the best way to get back at her is to pull her down as much as you can and make her look like she is incompetent to the boss. More rumors than there are airplanes at Heathrow airport will fly around the corridors all in an effort to tarnish another woman’s image.

Then there are mothers. Yes, mothers. How do mothers treat their sons and daughters? Do they really treat them equally? Do they encourage them equally and let them know they have equal opportunities? Or are girls usually prepped to become future mothers and home-makers and the boys successful leaders and business men? Even in the homes, domestication is mainly thrust upon girls and boys are taught that as the future head of the house, they can lounge around and get served hand and foot by their female siblings. I completely understand that men and women are indeed genetically different. I am not saying we want to create a genderless society where we can’t tell if one is male or female. What I am saying is mothers are the ones that spend the most time with their children especially when they are at impressionable ages. As mothers, let us teach our children that both girls and boys are equally important and capable of achieving the same things. Let us not teach them that one gender is seemingly more important than the other. All these men that are labeled chauvinists did not just wake up one day and think that they are superior to women. They learnt it from somewhere.

What are you doing to support other women? Support doesn’t have to be financial. Are you encouraging other women? Are you supporting other women’s dreams? Are you mentoring other women? Sharing resources and ideas? Ladies, if we do not stand up for each other, let us not blame the men. They will only treat us how we allow them to treat us and how they see us treating each other. If men see that we do not think much of each other then why should they think much of us?

Let us also avoid the green eyed monster which is the main source of all ladies’ issues with each other. If some has something better than you, be happy for them. It won’t kill you. That way, you can even approach them and get advice on how you can also do the same and raise yourself to their level. Isn’t that much better than spending all your energy on trying to pull them down to your level?

At the end of the day, I think we oppress each other more than the men do. Let us learn to genuinely be there for each other, support each other and help each other. Women can achieve many more things in all aspects of society if only we become each other’s cornerstones and not our own worst enemies.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Happy International Women's Day! #MakeITHappen

You know, when I was younger, I always used to really wonder about feminists. To me feminists and feminism were such questionable words. I used to wonder why on earth these women wanted to be men. I mean God made us different for a reason right? Male and female. Why would one want to be like the other? I would hear both men and women accuse them of being unecessary trouble-makers. But now that I'm older and have my eyes opened a bit more, I totally understand where these women who advocate for the rights and equality of other women are coming from. To a certain extent, I also understand why some women think that feminists are disruptive and extremist group. I have been on both sides of the fence. If you have been brought up in a relatively good environment, your father and your brothers treat you like a princess, your boyfriend is prince charming, then why on earth would you even give feminism a thought? You have not experienced domestic violence, you are not made to feel like a sub-human being simply because of your sex. You are not denied an education and married off at ten years old, because well, that's what women are for. You have not experienced violence at the hands of your own father or brothers because they feel they can do whatever they want to you just because you're a female. You are not denied the right to work, to drive, to make any decisions affecting YOUR life. You are not merely an object for men to use and dispose of as they see fit. So of course you would not understand what the fuss is all about.

As I grew up though, I began to see these differences in the way women and men are treated. I thank God that I did not grow up in an environment similar to what I have described above but you know what? the discrimination is still there. For example, to this very day, 8 March 2015, you will see adverts on TV from Insurance companies telling us that if a man and a woman sign up for a policy on the same day, the man will get more cover. Why? Why is that? If you sign up for medical aid insurance and you're a woman, your membership suffix is likely to be "02" and not "01". Errrm, hello? I am the owner of this account so why should I be "02"?? Look at me. I am an only child. A girl. I know for a fact that there are people who expected me not to make much of my life because, well, "she's just one girl". Well, surprise b*itches!!

At the end of this post, I will put some links to pages that will show you what other women are going through in this world. To me, true feminism is not about women wanting to be men. It's not about taking away a man's masculinity (not sure if there's such a word?). I believe all true feminists want is to just be treated like equal, human beings that matter just as much as our brothers and fathers. To be afforded equal opprtunities at school and at work. To be given the freedom to make choices for ourselves. To be protected. To not be treated as sex objects. Actually, I think a true feminist would want a real man in her life who will take up the role of being a provider and a protector. Look, of course, like with any social group of people, there is the possibily of those who will become extremists and feminism is no different. Maybe those women that turn out like that would have experienced some horrific incident in their past at the hands of a man, I don't know. What I do know is that the original goals of the first feminists were to simply advocate for equality for women in all aspects of society. Period.

I think those people, especially men, who are violently against feminism are the very perpetrators of oppression and violence against women. I can immediately think of the Indian government which not more than a week ago, banned the airing of India's Daughter, the documentary based on the story of the 2012 violent rape and murder of Indian student Jyoti Singh. My question is why would they ban it? Because it makes the men "uncomfortable"? What a shame!

Also, ladies. Let us learn to celebrate each other! Another woman's success takes nothing away from your own. Let us share ideas, information, strategies. Let us learn to encourage and support each other. Imagine, just imagine what we could achieve if only we each made a resolution to empower just one other woman. This world would indeed be a completely different place. Yes, there is oppression from men but I believe there is just as much negative energy from other women. Let us do away with this "pull her down" syndrome so many of us suffer from. What does it benefit you to pull down another woman? Absolutely nothing. All you gain is a decaying, rotting heart and a first class ticket to hell!

As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (love, love that woman) said, "We should all be feminists". Take a moment to actually think what it truely means to be a feminist. The real meaning of feminism and not this corrupted and dirtied meaning that so many people claim it to be. Men and women. We should all be feminists. What does that mean? In short, equal rights. Equal opprtunities. It doesn't mean we want to be men or take over men's roles. We just want to be allowed to be great. To reach our potential. My definition and understanding of what a feminist is, is as Chimamanda put it in her TED talk on feminism:

We teach girls to shrink themselves
To make themselves smaller
We say to girls,
"You can have ambition
But not too much
You should aim to be successful
But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man."
Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that
Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of
Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage
And we don't teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments
Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings
In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes

This year's Women's Day theme is "Make it Happen". Ladies. Although great strides have been made towards equality between the sexes, there is still a hell of a lot more to be done. Don't sit around and expect someone to hand you opportunities. Get up, work for what you want and MAKE IT HAPPEN. After all, as Beyonce said "We're flawless". Nothing can stop us even if seems the odds are against us!


Check out the below links: