The hidden curriculum: Are girls getting more empowered?

As girls, one of our greatest aspirations in primary school was to be requested to make tea for teachers in the staff room during break time. This was a great honour, feted to the most hardworking, responsible and mature girls. While boys aspired to explore the outside world through play, we aspired to be honoured with the role of making tea, often envying the few that earned this role. At such an early age, we were already being taught and internalizing the need to aspire for the domestic domain. In Form 2, one day while eating as I walked along … Continue reading The hidden curriculum: Are girls getting more empowered?

The revolution will be intimate

A few weeks ago, my Facebook friends were subjected to family drama on my page. A relative of mine, clearly unhappy with my gay rights activism, demonstrated his outrage by indicating that I had taken what he referred to as “ the gay and unnatural joke too far”, and to “unacceptable heights.” He reminded me of his relationship with me, one that would make him my father in cultural terms. I hadn’t seen that coming to be honest, and so I didn’t have a response ready. My first instinct was to ignore, say or do nothing. This response was driven … Continue reading The revolution will be intimate

Why don’t you feel like a man?

A friend of mine had just broken up with his girlfriend, when they seemed to have been getting along quite fine. On asking him what caused the breakup, he said with ease that “she was not wife material”. I got even more curious because this phrase is often used to describe women that party too much or women who do not care at all or ‘enough’ about the domestic domain. My friend clarified that she was not a party animal or lacking in domestic skills. She was however not wife material because she did not submit to him. At this … Continue reading Why don’t you feel like a man?

Why can’t I just say I’m on my period?

Recently, my period started while I was on an out of town work trip with a male colleague.  Because I hadn’t carried any pads with me, and I wasn’t familiar with the place, I asked my colleague, who was more familiar with the place to direct me to a supermarket. He innocently asked me what I was going to buy, and rather than say that I was going to buy pads, I beat around the bush trying to look for a suitable response; one that would not make either one of us uncomfortable. After the incident, I wondered why I … Continue reading Why can’t I just say I’m on my period?

When did we hit the sky and start climbing down?

Like many women, I was given a set of rules and advice for just about everything as I was growing up. One of the most important ones was on education. I was encouraged to study and until there was nothing left to study. The phrase ‘the sky is the limit’ was one that I heard too often as I was encouraged in that direction. Later I was told ‘forget the sky, there is no limit’. On relationships and love, I was advised to not even focus on that, until I was as highly educated as possible. Children on the other … Continue reading When did we hit the sky and start climbing down?