CITY GIRL: Ours is sick society that looks down on successful women
We live in a society that hates strong women. We hate the sight of a woman who is sure of herself and who looks like she has her life together. We detest a confident woman who is not afraid to speak her mind.
In the society we live today, a woman is supposed to be ‘well-mannered’. A well-mannered woman is soft-spoken, gentle, docile and graceful. She is submissive and humble, and we love her because she does not challenge us.
But when a woman exhibits characteristics traditionally known to be ‘manly’, you know, like aggressive, boldness, courage and self-assurance, we hate her. We put her down because a woman is supposed to sit at the corner and behave like a nice girl.
Just look at how we have hounded women out of public office simply because they seemed a little stronger than the rest of us and they looked like they were headed somewhere.
We hounded Nancy Baraza out of office because she had a small altercation with a security guard but we have elected representatives facing rape charges but walking freely among us.
We kicked former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru out of office following the theft of public funds at the National Youth Service but we elected to the highest offices a duo who faced post-election violence charges at the International Criminal Court.
We dragged poor Gladys Shollei out of office for again, allegedly stealing public funds, but we remain blind to the cartels that are holding our judicial system hostage.
Nairobi woman representative aspirant Millicent Omanga was under fire after a picture did its rounds, showing her displaying wands of cash allegedly meant for campaign purposes, but we applaud messianic urban demagogues like Mike Sonko and laud them for being “a man of the people”.
Even more recently, when Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed was seconded to be the next head of the African Union Commission, a malicious story emerged in the interwebs, attacking her credibility and academic papers, overlooking her massive success as a distinguished diplomat.
Make no mistake. I do not condone the crimes some of these women I have mentioned have been accused of. But why is it that we apply double standards when it comes to judging women while the same rules do not apply to men?
And why is it that we allow men to get away with so much but bring down women for “smaller evils”?
Ours is a sick society that crucifies women for their mistakes but celebrates corporate thugs whose only claim to fame is bankrupting every company they touch, calling them “motivational speakers” and inspirational business moguls.
When we cannot attack a woman’s (obvious) talents, when we cannot question her (exemplary) track record or pinpoint a specific flaw in her credibility, we attack her personality. We attack her looks. We attack the way she dresses or walks. We bring her bedroom matters to the public domain because the society we live in believes in destroying a woman by portraying her to be immoral- amoral even – but we celebrate men who sire wild oats and pat them at the back for “taking care of their own”.
We rationalise the successes and achievements of women in this country to simplistic notions such as the length and tightness of her skirt.
Waiguru, in an interview could not have put it better: “It is very sad the way this country stereotypes women, and a woman cannot be intelligent, young and maybe slightly attractive and not have any relationship with anyone for them to move up.”
In the society we live in, a woman cannot be successful in her own right. She must have had a driving force behind her, a sponsor – preferably a man – who pushed her and handed her the position on a silver platter.
In this country, a woman cannot drive her own car – no matter how simple the car is – without rumour swirling that it must have been a gift from a lover.
In this country, a woman cannot have clinched a job without being accused of landing that job through ‘horizontal’ means.It won’t matter if she is a hard worker or maybe, just maybe, she might have a functioning brain of her own.
A woman cannot be seen to be doing well without being accused of trading her ‘goods’ for the good life.