Our time is poised with a myriad of reasons as the most engrossing time to talk about gender equality and the feminist philosophy in relations to the female social ontology and male biases installed in our social norms through more than two thousand years of evolution. The cultural and social result of the treatment of women throughout the ages has been increased female objectification and the further advancement of a subjugated social class from the great histories, real and fictional, of most of our male-dominated civilizations. In spite of this, the last thirty years have witnessed a great shift in society with the rise of feminist movements in the early 1920s and 40s asserting female agency amid the cultural and social inequalities perpetrated against women and girls.
What this has done is to offer us an opportunity for change and the reexamination of the moral codes of our society. We now witness, for the first time in history, a world where men and women compete for jobs, and the latter could possibly be chosen. “Affirmative Action” and private sector’s supposed commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women, as a make-up for their historical mental and physical repression and exclusion, have played a key role. In Western societies, more women graduate from college than men- an incredible shift from the masculine world sixty years ago.
The traditional mode of most African societies has witnessed little change with the rising wave of women in leadership, educational institutions and a seat at the table in relations to political and policy discussions. The feminist specter is at last hunting the continent with policies that favour women for targeted positions in parliaments and social institutions like communism hunted Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries through the publication of the Communist Manifesto and the rise of workers’ movements across Europe.
One hallmark of this, though not sufficient as most part of the country and continent is still rife with misogyny, is reflected in a 2016 policy of the Liberian National Legislature that created three extra seats for women in parliament to advance their cause. While the passage of the policy has not taken effect, and its mechanics remain unclear, it’s for the most part, a huge step toward women empowerment and political participation—in addition to producing the continent’s first elected female President. Additionally, in spite of Rwanda’s atrocious genocide that wrecked the lives of a million people in 1994, it has had women at the helm of its recovery process with the highest percentage of women in government (53%) in the world and countries like Iceland, Finland and Norway have made tremendous strides in annihilating the gap between men and women through political and social empowerment.
However, for over a century, the social institutions at every instant, have been hell-bent on keeping women at the bowels of society. It’s clear that without the intricacies of the female genitalia, the male species would have driven women to extinction in the same way Homo Sapiens wiped Neanderthals from earth’s surface.
Women’s vaginas remain their greatest crime against men from the dawn of humanity; thus their exploitation as sex objects, made only for procreation or perversion, from one civilization to another throughout our human existence speaks volume. The social ontology of women in today’s society is imbued in a historical conflict that is a product of psychological and social construction. Their reproductive system has been exploited to create social characteristics that are suitable for male oppression and dominance. The root of this can be traced to medieval periods during the clash of kingdoms and civilizations. Marcuse postulates that this is a history of thousands of years, “during which the defence of the established society and its hierarchy depended on physical strength and thereby reduced the role of the female who was periodically disabled by the bearing and then caring of children”. Male domination, according to Marcuse, “once established on these grounds, spread from the originally military sphere to the other social and political institutions. The woman came to be regarded as inferior, as weaker, mainly support for, adjunct to man, as a sexual object, as a tool of reproduction”. In the process, women lost out on not only their intellectual and sexual development but their economic and social development.
To be continued on 1/10/18
Authored by Ansumana Konneh
Featured picture by Anita Stuever