“The boy child has been neglected “,he says. The room goes quiet, too quiet. I can only equate this to the calm before a storm.
“When you say the boy child has been neglected what exactly do you mean?” quips a lady in the group. I will call her S ( sounds badass no?)
Yess! How? The ladies in the group chorus in agreement.
This is going to be fun my head thinks. I have to start at the beginning and what led to this moment.
I am in this fierce group that meets once a month. The group is sort of like an AA meeting for writers and anyone who loves a good argument. So you come in and say “Hi,guys my name is Patrick”.
And then there is a chorus
There is a particular cheeky petite girl whose voice will be louder than the rest. And we will all burst out laughing after she drags this on for a while.
I think that is the difference between us and the AA. The laughter and the epic arguments.
We always seem to have the sort of arguments that will make you want to fling your chair to the opposite side of the room.
So when you have said your name you will be expected to say what you write about and what makes you tick. Of course you will fumble trying to come up with a catchy line that will be remembered long after you are gone. Writers are egocentric like that. Story for another day.
So after introductions our sponsor, (yes we have a sponsor, I kid you not) will introduce an ideagasm. She would have sent emails but most of us didn’t read or pretend to forget what the topic is about. The rules for these sessions are simple, i) feel free to jump in when you need to be heard, ii) respect people’s opinion even if you don’t agree with them and last but not least, iii) don’t be a Bore.
Now the topic today had nothing to do with the boy child. It was about the ten million car some chick bought her boyfriend. Actually I would never buy my husband leave alone a boyfriend, a ten million car. It will be too sad to break the windows when I catch him giving his secretary a ride. Saw what I did there. Always the pessimist.
You should listen to Jazmine Sullivan I bust the windows out your car (beautiful song)
The topic shifts like it always does to gender issues. Trust me when you put empowered women in a room with men this argument will always crop up. Now S does not like the word ’empowered’. But seeing that its my post I will use whatever word I like (I am sure you are somewhere saying bloody bollocks though).
Where was I. Yes the boy child being neglected. How is this argued?
Lulu Akaki in her post The boy child is lost in neglect says
“The fact that society seems more focused
on the girl child is rapidly suffocating the
So the girl child in this case let’s call her Maureen drops out of school maybe because of early marriage or FGM. Her plight is put on Tv and before you know it she gets a sponsor. Not those middle aged men who spend their money on ndogo ndogos. The sponsor is a legit organization. Maybe the Bill Gates foundation. So this organization gives Maureen a full scholarship. Heck she can even go to Harvard if she wanted. Now say Maureen has a brother, we will call him John. He has always been the star of the house hold. For no other reason than he is a boy. Heir apparent. He goes to school when his sister drops out, after all there is always school fees for the boy child. So this cockrel of the village has everything handed to him. He sits for his O-levels but there is no school fees for college. The father has put him through formal education and he is a man now. Why would he go to college when he has his few acres of land. With nothing to do to pass his days he turns to drinking cheap liquor. Society frowns on him and focus more on Maureen who by now is a brilliant lawyer. In this sense the boy child is neglected. this argument is explained by simon here click here
S has a problem with this. “Who has neglected the boy? she asks. Is it the society or is it the family?
Society has not neglected the boy child another lady explains. Women have just been given an actual fighting chance. No one is just handing these opportunities to us. We are working hard to get them.
At this particular point I am thinking about Ceras piece click here where she talks about how girls are first taught to be ambitious and when they reach a certain age they are asked to tone it down.
In my family all the girls can do anything a woman can do plus what a man can do. I can fix a bulb, my sister has it in her head that she can fix electronics ( she leaves them in worse shape than she found them) my brothers on the other hand just know how to do boy stuff. I am sure this is a story that is repeated in many african households. So when boys are being boys girls are taught how to be women and how to also do what a man does. She will be taught how to cook and also how to rise in the cooperate world and still earn less than her male counter parts. As the women are taught to be dynamic the men are encouraged to be static.
“The gender roles are slowly changing and men need to change with the times”, S says.
I think this narrative of the boy being neglected can only end when the boy child is taught everything a boy should do plus what a woman can do.
Raise a boy who can survive on his own and you will never argue about boy neglect. But don’t ask us to tone it down to accommodate unambitious chauvinistic lazy men because we won’t! !
Empowering women is not disempowering men. It simply means equal opportunities to all.