Thandiwe Mokotso – Lesotho

  • December 13, 2020 at 4:07 pm #2995
    Daniel Ochieng

    Assignment 4: Male Roles in Society

    Question 1- What male stereotypes can you identify within your immediate community? Explain why you believe this are stereotypes (less than 200 words)

    In my Language Sesotho there is a proverb that says “monna ke nku haa lle” meaning that a man is a sheep and doesn’t cry. This typically means that a man should always be tough and in control of his emotions because crying is a sign of weakness. No matter how shattered or hurt, a man should never cry. If a man is spotted showing emotions and crying he gets mocked and called a sissy or a woman because only women can cry as they are perceived weaker than men.

    In my community a man should date multiple women to prove that he is powerful and in order to gain respect of other men. Regardless of how happy with one woman a man can be, society can only recognize him as a strong respectable man if he is involved with multiple women or even goes as far as marrying multiple of them to show that he can control them and afford them.

    In addition, another stereotype is that every male should go in the mountains and join a circumcision school in order to be deemed a real tough African man. Despite the risks of infection and HIV transmission through the use of one blade, the lack of medically trained professionals and the likes, a man who gets circumcised in a health facility is not awarded the same respect as a man who did it in the mountains because those from the mountains are made to believe that that’s where a boy gets turned into a man.

    What measures do you believe can be instituted in order to endure that these stereotypes can be broken down? (Less than 400 words)

    I believe men should be awarded the right and freedom to show emotions and cry when they are hurt because is human nature. Gone are the days men were detached from emotions. This also includes seeking emotional support from a psychologist as that is a very healthy way of dealing with emotions and trauma. When people regardless of sex don’t fully process their emotions or traumas becomes an issue in the long run and the adult they become is normally shaped by those especially if they did not deal with childhood traumas the right way. In order for mental health awareness and management to be effective males should definitely visit the facilities and get the help they need.

    Societies should have a mental shift of the classic definition of what it means to be a man in this world because such boxed and inflexible norms and stereotypes have so many people trapped. People should be allowed to define their boundaries and who they are or want to become without ridicule and judgement. Society shouldn’t tell us who to be instead we should tell society who we are and who we aspire to become, this way everyone can go through life on their own terms.

    How do you think we can change the points of view of older generations in order to see the harm that male stereotypes are having on the younger generations mental health? (Less than 400 words)

    I think every ones point of view can be changed through education. Some people just need to unlearn and relearn what they initially believed as ideal information. The same applies for the older generation, they need to be taught that everything has changed and that the generations after them face different issues, they life they love is generally different and that what they need to fo through life is different from what the older generations needed. Education can break every stereotype and practice no matter how highly practiced it was. In Africa elders aren’t really famous for having open and supportive communication because growing up we are taught to be submissive and do as we are told without asking questions otherwise we are deemed disrespectful. This itself is a problem because we grow up oppressed, our freedom of speech has been violated for the longest time in the name of respect. The view point of the older generation can definitely change by having this kind of conversations that will force them to listen to us and acknowledge that we are different and live differently from them.

    Question 2 – Do you believe that toxic masculinity is still evident within today’s society? Please substantiate your answer (less than 300 words)
    Toxic masculinity is still very much evident. In the African concept we see it everyday. Men still believe that taking part in household chores and caring for their own children is a woman’s job. Many men will get home early way before the woman but will not clean the house or even bother to prepare food no matter how hungry they are. This means that no matter how tired a woman is when she gets back or how late she gets back she has to deal with a grumpy hungry man who will be waiting for her to feed him. Also in the case of caring for children, majority of men still feel its okay to go to work and provide for the financial needs of their children but the actual changing of diapers, dealing with bruises and cuts, the crying and the waking up in the middle of the night is still deemed as the woman’s job all in the name of “women are born nurturers”. Men only refer to kids as theirs when they do something that makes them proud but when they misbehave they reflect the woman’s bad parenting skills.

    Toxic masculinity is also evident in cases of violence. Men believe that being violent is prove that they are not weak. Taking risks even if they are unworthy and are likely to put their lives at jeopardy is what makes them look more masculine. Also some men still believe that dominating women makes them more of a tough man. Physically and emotionally bullying women and subordinates is also another sign of toxic masculinity. Sexual aggression is also another sign that some men perceive as proof that they are real men. Also not showing emotions makes some believe they are more masculine as crying is perceived a sign of weakness. Lastly having multiple sexual partners earns most men the respect of fellow men as they see one who is sleeping with many women as a strong man.

    Can toxic masculinity be unlearned? Please elaborate on your answer (less than 200 words)
    Education is key to so many things. I believe everything can be unlearned and relearned. When presenting people with a different vision and facts that is different from theirs even if not all instantly convert a certain number is bound to receive the education w as it is. Hence I believe unfaltering facts and giving people a change to see things as they are without sugar coating is highly important.

    How as a Kectil Colleague, would you go about shifting the narrative from toxic to healthy masculinity (less than 300 words)
    I would arrange webinars, workshops and host conversations on topics that spark change. Sometimes the solution lies behind sharing ideas and believes and having open and honest conversations with people. The power of creating a safe space and sharing ideas is underrated. I would also encourage men to speak up more and take the lead on such conversations as it may not be well received hearing a woman talk about toxic masculinity.

    What do you believe the benefits of integrating a sense of healthy masculinity into a community are( less than 200 words)

    Healthy masculinity brings about peace and harmony because toxic masculinity capitalizes on violence and male dominance. Healthy masculinity encourages open and supportive communication, having control over emotions, showing love without feeling weak, healthy parenting skills, anger management, listening to the views of others without the need to have the final say, knowing that one cant always be right, willingness to learn and be taught amongst other things. A community with such open minded individuals is much more happier and accommodating. People don’t walk around scared. Women and children are not oppressed and abused. It is generally a very nice environment to be in.

    How do you believe we can enhance healthy masculinity practices within our communities, especially in the context of lockdown and the pandemic? Less than 300 words
    By acknowledging that we are different. That the kids within one family are all different and learning to embrace the differences. Since lockdown forces families to spend time together which is probably not something that happened in the past, it may be hard learning about different identities and personalities that one shares a home with. Healthy masculinity is beneficial in this case because everyone and everything gets approached with an open mind, everyone gets to be who they are without fear and judgement. This is the time when unity plays a very crucial role in families and societies because we have to deal with each other as we are. The kids are home all the time, some parents work from home while others don’t go to work at all, financially its hard for some and things are bound to change around the home, this means that we need to have each others backs and show each other unconditional love like never before because we really need each other now more than ever.

    Question 3 – What natural abilities do you think men have to support females and transform the community? (Not more than 100 words)
    I believe men are naturally capable of providing whatever support various women may need depending on their various needs.Men like women have the ability to help those in need and spot situations that need interventions whether personal, professional or community based. I however doubt that there are any natural abilities that they posses wither to help females or the community in any way that women can’t. All this is because whatever ability one grows up to have is groomed by his/her upbringing. If one is encouraged to pay attention to the body language, emotions, mental state, spiritual and psychologically. In the same manner if one is encouraged to be a protector, a provider, a physically fit and strong person, a thinker, a problem solver etc then that is likely who they are going to grow up as. Therefore natural abilities can be enhanced and societies can not only rely on men to support women and transform communities as women have proven to also posses the ability to support each other and built communities just in the same scope men would.

    Comment on how males are using their natural abilities in your community (not more than 150 words)
    Men are using their natural abilities to do whatever is necessary to make the world a better place: Some men are trained to be teachers, engineers, consultants, nurses, doctors and honestly whatever discipline the world has to offer. They therefore are doing their best to provide remarkable services in their various fields and that is the change they are bringing to the world. My community has many men in various fields chipping in where they can to make a difference; business men are sponsoring less privileged kids to go to school and play spots, teachers are mentoring some kids and tutoring them to improve their grades, doctors work in Public clinics probono when there’s a need for medical professionals. So at the end of the day I believe its human decency of gender differences. The men who use their abilities for good are not doing it because they are men otherwise all men would be doing it which they are not.

    The world has seen great milestones in the area of women empowerment. This came with a shift in roles among men and women. What impact do you see women liberation movements have on males in your society (less than 500 words)
    Men are more knowledgeable and educated about women liberation movements thanks to the various campaigns held in honor of women Most men are a bit more cautious when dealing with women due to the implications that violations of women has of late. Women are more independent, vocal, self reliant, powerful and brilliant. . Males also take precautions with eights and responsibilities, some take the issue of consent very seriously and that has helped with cases of gbv, rape and violations to some extent.


    Does the panel agree with the pledge?

    The panel definitely agree with the pledge with the understanding that the Kectil Male Promise encourages taking responsibility for one’s actions not only pursuing one’s desires. The pledge of walking away from an attractive lady if one cant see himself taking care of her and the baby fully raised a lot of riots at first because lets face it we all love attractive people, however the conversation got deeper when we addressed the number of single mothers bot only in our country but in the African continent. Men have had it easy with denying pregnancies for ages and living life unbothered as if nothing happened while the females have to drop out of school when they get pregnant, get ridiculed bu teachers and school mates, have to deal with disappointed parents who are also ridiculed by the church and community as a whole. Not only does this affect the self esteem of the female but the future is also very shaken by this as she can’t proceed with school until she has given birth. To make matters worse some schools strictly do not admit students who have kids especially christian schools that make up 90% of the good schools in Lesotho. That means she either has to go to a not so great school or parents let go of the idea of getting her an education because they have an extra mouth to feed. Unfortunately while all this is happening the male continues with school even if it gets known that they impregnated a girl, their relationship with parents normally stays in tact and they don’t have to breastfeed or stay home and take care of the kid so they can easily run from responsibilities that come with having a baby while females cant run from it. After taking this angle the panel definitely understand the pledge better and saw reason, even making examples of friends who ended up in similar situations.

    The issue of gender based violence is very deep since most of us grew up seeing our mothers get beaten to a pulp in front of us. The panel shared personal stories of close females who endured gender based violence for years and how the abuse affected them psychologically. From this discussion the birth of a GBV campaign to provide counseling to the kids who endured such trauma because we realized that majority of the male who abuse women as adults have bottled issues that are deeply rooted either from what they witnessed as kids or went through. Below is an anime of the GBV campaign that will resume as tribute to all women mostly mothers who stuck in abusive marriages for the sake of giving their kids a complete home:

    How would you go about encouraging males to take the Kectil Male Promise?
    The panel believed that it all starts with a conversation. Men who abuse women are brothers, friends and colleagues. They are rarely strangers. They are people in society that we associate with therefore being open about such issues is important because it definitely sheds some light to the root problem of each of our problems. When we become a society that’s true to ourselves and have hard conversations that are perceived as taboo then mentalities are bound to change, help is bound to get seekd and change is definitely inevitable. With conversations like that an opportunity to unlearn and relearn is presented.

    What do you believe can be added to the male promise and why?
    Confronting inner demons and unlearning and relearning toxic trades such as anger management, violence, emotional control, mental health management and the likes. Only when the people are aware of this can they act right within society.

    What responsible steps do you believe are constituted in facilitating other females who find themselves in risky situations
    Always tell someone you trust your whereabouts, share your life location with someone when you feel unsafe, have an emergency contact number that you know will always get answered and come to your rescue, in cases where you suddenly feel unsafe when you are with someone close that you trust then have a safe word or phrase with someone who can come rescue you, stay calm and avoid provoking them if you cant escape, always try to get help never hope they will change because that’s what leads to dead bodies being found.

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