The only time that sexist men care about the systematic disenfranchisement of women as a function of gender, is when they are negatively affected. I have to clarify, that while pictured, I am not calling M.anifest sexist. [M.anifest is the Ghanaian artist in the featured image.]
I have to clarify because the fragility of masculinity will have men crying, defending their reputation as “good guys” over addressing the institutionalized political, economic, and social marginalization of women in Ghana.
Back to my post: repeatedly, I hear men whine over having to economically provide, without addressing why such gender roles exist: patriarchy. It is the root of a social system that divests in women’s education, denies women equitable access to jobs, and disseminates widespread ideas that indoctrinate women to believe that heterosexual marriage will be their greatest achievement.
Essentially, in a patriarchal society where women are reduced to men’s domestic helpers, where women are confined to the home and expected to labor in that space, where women’s economic power is continually dismantled with rampant discrimination, using men as financial mobility becomes a learned means of survival. It is patriarchy, that seeks to reinforce a social order where men dominate women by granting men economic power, and leaving women as dependent on men for survival.
Thus, men (and all persons) displeased with the normative ideas that require men to care for women financially, should seek to take apart patriarchal economic distribution,
or shut the fuck up rather than resent women and complain.
A patriarchal society that ensures that men hold power over women weakens women’s earning capacities such that women gain social mobility through men. Either through their fathers or their husbands. Essentially, this post seeks to argue the following two points:
1. Patriarchy confined women to the domestic sphere, and created the mutually parasitic relationship where women are forced to depend on men for survival.
2. If we want to break this vicious cycle, we must utilize feminism to address capitalistic exploitation and patriarchy such that heterosexual romantic relationships shift from a desperate grasp at material objects to a free and loving one based on mutual respect.
Patriarchal Social Contract
The complexity of Ghanaian sexism is the complexity of all post-colonial societies: negotiating the infusion of indigenous sexist cultural customs with the imposed imperialistic misogynistic values of the colonizers.
To be a Ghanaian woman is to fight indigenous sexism like FGM [Female Genital Mutilation] and witchcraft accusations, while also resisting European gendered division of labor that confined women to domestic spheres and allowed men to amass social, economic, and political power outside the home.
It is European patriarchy that divided labor on the basis of gender as economies changed from agrarian to industrial. As poor women continued to be exploited as cheap domestic labor and farmers, middle class women were given a social contract where they would exchange participation in the paid labor force for marriage.
The patriarchal marriage agreement was as follows: men were to maintain legal dominion over women (who occupy subservient status in the home) cleaning, cooking, and raising children, in exchange for only men’s participation in the middle class paid work force. Essentially, it was patriarchy that first created women’s economic dependence on men through romantic courtships and marriage.
The impact of the imposition of Western patriarchal gender roles are evident in Ghanaian economic society today:
- where psychologically women are trained to believe that careers come secondary to men
- where women still continue to suffer educational disparities (boys have about twice the amount of schooling than girls)
- where pregnant girls are refused the opportunity to take the BECE, while the boys who got them pregnant are not penalized,
- where women are excluded and convinced that Science, Engineering, Tech, Accounting, and the careers with high paying jobs are for men
- where women who are in the work force suffer sexual harassment, and
- rampant discrimination in hiring and firing tactics such that their careers are undermined.
But most importantly, where the expectation that women perform domestic labor because they are women, adds an additional layer of responsibility that quenches time and effort so women cannot fully participate in the capitalistic labor force. It is clear, as social institutions continue to be structured such that economic power is concentrated amongst men’s hands, women will result to using men as a means to an end. The end being, survival.
Ghaminism (Ghana Feminism) As A Remedy
It is unfortunate that feminism gets a bad rep, when feminists are committed to reducing human suffering by creating equitable social conditions such that all people, despite gender identity, have the opportunity to thrive. Ghaminism seeks to create a society where people are not assigned to predetermined life roles, even before they are born, on the basis of what is between their legs.
The simple fact is that, only ruling class men benefit from this current social arrangement, where men become women’s means of social mobility through romantic relationships. Ruling class (wealthy men) benefit from this arrangement because the existence of plenty resources makes them more desirable partners.
Because romantic partnerships become about resources and not love, wealthy men do not have to compete for the affections of women with poor men. By default, women in a patriarchal society looking to amass resources are more likely to choose wealthy men simply because they are wealthy.
By undermining patriarchal gender roles and gendered division of labor in the capitalistic market, economic resources will be distributed equally despite gender. By undermining the existence of gender dependent roles, no person can ever fix their mouf [mouth] to tell you that you have a duty because you are a man, woman, androgynous, gender-non-binary, etc.
So yes, if you are a man, who is tired of people requiring you to shoulder the burden of economic responsibilities simply because of your gender, commit yourself to Ghaminism.