The great discomfort

A Facebook friend of mine unfriended me. Before unfriending me, she mentioned that she had observed that I had started a blog on feminism, and made a point of being offensive about the fact that I was an active feminist.  She told me that she didn’t believe in feminism and that although she championed for the rights of women, she would not want to be associated with feminism, adding that she would be offended if she was ever referred to as a feminist. I had just started writing my blog at that time, and I was getting a number of … Continue reading The great discomfort

Every struggle needs feminism

“What is feminism?” is a question that I have been asked very many times.  Last week alone, I was asked the question three times.  As people ask this question, many do not hesitate to share their understanding of feminism with me.  The most common ones tend to be feminists as women who hate men, with intentions to be like men and go against nature by dominating over men. After responding to this question during a radio show last week, I got into a discussion with a feminist friend who had listened to the programme, and we both agreed how difficult … Continue reading Every struggle needs feminism

This way of being a woman is not working

Sometime back, I came across a post by a woman sharing about how hooked she was to social media, that on one occasion, her husband hit her because she got into bed with her phone, and she couldn’t put it down. Interestingly, many women commenting on her post found it ok for her to be hit for not paying attention to her husband, particularly while in bed. There was very little alarm raised over the fact that she had been hit. She seemed more concerned about her addiction to social media, than the violence meted out on her. Reading the … Continue reading This way of being a woman is not working

I packed my bags and left

“I packed my bags and left.” That is the opening line of Dambudzo Marechera’s book, House of Hunger, a statement that I find symbolic, and perhaps indicative that this is Dambudzo’s way of preparing to share with his readers about his journey in life. Journeys are interesting because no matter how much you have, quite often you leave all that behind and take just what you need for a particular journey. I’ve gone on journeys with just a pair of pants, two blouses, a few sets of underwear, a tooth brush and toothpaste, because that is all that I needed … Continue reading I packed my bags and left

Some tea without sugar for the cyber-feminists

When I finally embraced feminism, I was one happy woman. I’d had ups and downs with feminism for about 10 years of my life, dropping it and picking it again every so often in my 20’s. I was conflicted between fully embracing women’s liberation, while battling with the need to conform to what was required of me as woman, based on social and religious teachings. After a four year feminism-drop, I decided to explore and open my mind up to feminism once again. This time I wanted to understand feminism, and at the same time be as critical of feminism … Continue reading Some tea without sugar for the cyber-feminists

African feminists found

Guest post by Varyanne Sika  When I found Cera’s blog I was desperately searching for less known and less established feminist writers (at the time) who were writing about feminism in accessible ways in Kenya. I found Cera’s blog on twitter through a simple search using a combination of two key words Kenyan + feminist. It was a search for feminists who stood firm in their feminism and at the time, to me, nothing was more firm than a bio or name that did not hide behind the kind of meandering and clumsy definitions of feminism I had been finding. … Continue reading African feminists found

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?