Cultural Patriarchy in Zimbabwe. The Boil on My Butt.  

Boy, this discussion gets me all the way heated up! Its rampancy in this little teapot shaped country of mine and spread out like trampoline sheath, makes me seethe.  Growing up in a culture that thrives on the primary power of male dominance is daunting. I have always felt that something was really flawed when they tried to make patriarchal ideologies natural and normal. It just didn’t sit with me, I was simply not having it and when I finally became an adult, I rebelled against this overbearing dictatorial system. The moment I stepped out of its confining borders, I was branded with a scarlet letter. Behold I was caught in the wrath of an ostracizing and unforgiving society.  I was a raging whore in their eyes. A woman of loose morals, dressed to attract the attention of men, she gets intoxicated with wine and dances provocatively at night. Her spilling cleavage and bare waistline are the tale-tell signs of harlotry. The fluttering extended eyelashes, the sculpting of perfect contour, blood-red lip stain enhancing the seductive pout that resonates with whoredom. These city educated girls are not wife material, moving mad along the passage of societal scum and weaving their way to a lonely man less demise. Oh, what a catastrophe.
Patriarchy, a ship propelled by misogyny that thrust through the oppression of women. Robbing the greater women folk of the freedom of expression, free thought, sexuality, social privilege, leadership, control of property and general individualism. The roots of patriarchy run deep in the cultural abyss of this country. It saddens me but patriarchy in this country is not only perpetrated by men alone, but women also perpetuate patriarchal attitudes. As this topic is so close to home, I am trying my best not to slip into emotional squalor and end up ranting. I have lived in this system all my life, I fight it every day and it is an ongoing battle for probably the rest of my life.  Patriarchy begins the day we are born. The people celebrate the birth of a girl child, they ululate for another pair of hands that will cook and clean for the family. A boy is born and proud fathers will hold their sons with pride because a leader has been born. It begins with this disappropriation of gender roles at the infantile stage. This cultish approach secures the steadfast clutches of a system that has trampled on women for centuries and even more centuries to come.
patriachy 2
The girl child is trained and groomed to submit to men. Her ultimate goal is to be the best serving ‘obedient’ wife and child-bearer. We are taught to clean, cook and overly domesticated to impress our future in-laws. Mothers teach their daughters to submit to this system as they were taught by their mothers. We are taught how to dress appropriately without provoking men’s sexual antennas as if it is our fault that men are perverse animals who lack self-control. They project their flaws on us women because they cannot account for their inappropriate behaviour. I am not against doing house chores; I mean the whole purpose is to live like a decent human being. The problem emerges when a 14-year-old is consistently told to perfect her domestic skills for some future husband.  How about we teach our daughters emotional intelligence, how to value themselves without the approval of the opposite sex, set them free and discover their true identity? Can women be individuals without being policed by the male species for falling out on their patriarchal standards? Can we wear whatever we want without fear of mental violence from men? Worse, sexual abuse? I am trying so damn hard not rant. Give me a minute.
Right, meanwhile the boy child is trained to make it in life by pursuing his dreams because he shall one day be the head of his family. He is excused of domestic chores by virtue of his gender. He can get away with it all, because hey, he is a man, he will get a wife that will cook and clean for him. So what’s the point really? Somewhere out there someone’s daughter is being trained to be his personal robot. I am not making personal attacks, I am attacking the system. This is the reason why men fear strong educated women because they cannot be tamed even by patriarchy itself. Don’t be too educated they said, you will never find a husband they said as if a husband is the ultimate goal. They try to harness women by hanging marriage on a noose.   Women are sexual beings and in this culture that is beyond the pale. Unthinkable. We do not own our sexuality, it is not ours to have or enjoy. It is preserved for one man only who will be our husband. Never mind the fact that we are actual human beings who are biologically sexual. It is our nature, but it is used to shame and degrade us. How many women feel ashamed for having sex? We are not entitled to sexual desire, men are. Men can pass off sexual advances and it is okay.  Man can go on a rampage of sleeping with anything that has legs and there is nothing absolutely wrong with that. Let a woman enjoy her sexuality, she is all of a sudden a whore, undesirable and likely not get married. Yes, marriage is leverage held over women to keep them in check. Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging promiscuity but can women own their sexuality and do whatever the hell the want without misogynistic consequences? Can we wear what we want without the repercussions of entitled men? Can I be sexy in peace? Enjoy my beauty and this body that was beautifully crafted for me? The double standards are wild.
Let’s talk about Lobola (dowry). It is a peculiar tradition and the whole process just screams male domination to me. Scenario, women have no say in this, the men get together and do the negotiations of how much bride price should be paid. The lump sum of the bride price goes to the father of the bride while the mother probably gets an eighth of it. I DO NOT GET IT. Why can there be an equal share and matter of fact the mother should get more. Ask me why? Because she carried this child for nine months, sacrificed her body, nurtured this child and d she gets the short end of the stick? This is why most Zimbabwean men believe lobola is purchasing a person. That is how patriarchy runs deep. This species actually believes that they buy wives; this is why they have all these entitlement issues and relentlessly trample on women. Patriarchy does not care for what is right or wrong, it is all about power. Women are just sub-humans who exist to fulfil the desires of men. Lobola should not be a profiteering event but a tradition that brings two families together without crippling each other’s pockets.  A woman’s worth is measured by her marital status and the amount of lobola that was paid for her. It is a joke. We are told to indicate our marital status in our CVs so they can gauge our value and level of commitment. Leadership roles are preferably given to married women. They are toned, harnessed and easier to control. The whole submission mantra that is ingrained in women is a tool to regulate and contain us. I have two kids, a boy and a girl. They will be raised equally, both shall do equal amount of house chores. It may not dismantle the system but it liberates my kids to grow and live to their truest forms.
patriarchy and women
I know a lot of Zimbabwean women that believe it is their cosmic purpose to sexually satisfy men. Women will go above and beyond to keep a man by sexually satiating him. It goes to genital alterations. Cultures across the country encourage young girls to pull their labia so they grow longer in order to sexually satisfy the proverbial future husbands. It is a painful procedure and mostly traumatizing for a lot of young girls. Men return their wives back to their families because they maybe supposedly incomplete (labia not pulled).  It gets worse when women squirt! Listen women are shamed for squirting because female ejaculation pokes at male masculinity. Fragile masculinity not comfortable with the gushers is hilarious. A woman who squirts is undesirable and her cum is termed water that turns men off. While squirting is the most beautiful sexual outcome in our species. I am good with patriarchy in this country. This is why men get a pass at polygamy because hey, first wife maybe ‘lacking’ (kill me now) as always the women take the blame. Since you are a squirter and your labia are still intact I am getting a second wife, hope you cool with it. Sorry but not sorry. I mean that is why cervical cancer is on the rise, women are inserting herbs and all kinds of concoctions in their vaginas in hopes to rejuvenate themselves for their men. How is our kind supposed to move forward and progress?
Patriarchy is the core reason for child marriages and rape in this country because it gives a strong sense of entitlement with no regards and respect for women. They say it has been a long-standing tradition of giving off children to husbands in exchange for food and money. How do you normalize paedophilia? How are fathers comfortable with procuring and selling their teenage daughters to rapists? Hardly anyone reports child marriage cases because they have been normalized by a backward oppressive tradition. Grown women will live with an 11-year-old as the fifth wife and not bat an eyelid. They hear her cries at night as she is repeatedly raped and they do nothing about it. It is horrific how the rule of men has continuously and consistently exploited women. Generational wealth is passed on from fathers to sons only and daughters are excluded as they do not carry the family’s name forward. We are at the mercy of this system.
I cannot stress enough on how as a country we need to come together and break this system.  It is deeply rooted and has been there for hundreds of years although now we have found loopholes but do we have to manoeuvre around it? Will you men stop abusing your wives, daughters and girlfriends? Can you stop telling abused wives to endure and stay in toxic marriages? Can you stop marrying off your under aged daughters? Can you stop nagging your daughters in their late twenties to get married? Marriage is not the only way to measure the value of a woman. In fact, no one has the capacity to rate women because we are different individuals and priceless in our own ways. Can we get credit for real achievements? Can you give us a chance and the same opportunities accredited to men? Can Zimbabwe be reborn?

5 thoughts on “Cultural Patriarchy in Zimbabwe. The Boil on My Butt.  

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  1. Working mothers with dreams beyond the norm (salary under husband, local 8-5 etc) also have it tough. Ostracized and deemed prideful for desiring to make an impact generation wise. Because this involves time away from home (children & husband), it is tantamount to the woman being called a whore, uncaring mother. Working mothers have to continually put their careers on hold for the ‘family’ in so many ways, always supporting the husband, running yet never going anywhere. To ask the same from a father/husband is treason. Why educate women, why fill their head with dreams & access only to clip their wings. Why can a man have it all, career, wife & children yet a loving mother & wife who desires to be a game changer too cannot? #wildcardthoughts

    1. Thank you for this! These are prominent questions that need answers. Like why should we bend backwards and make theses sacrifices by virtue of our gender. Can we all have equal opportunities?!
      Thank you for reading and adding to the table your well thought grievances.

  2. Reblogged this on Craig Brandis and commented:
    Makaitah found her way to one of my poems. She has inspired me to repost her essay about the treatment of women in her native Zimbabwe. Words lead to deeds and her words are as powerful and poetic as any I’ve read recently.

  3. Wow this is a very important post! I particularly liked how you mentioned that we all play a role in upholding & reinforcing patriarchy, both men and women. Ultimately to create a better society there’s a lot of deconstructing we have to do from years of internalizing gender norms. Its sad to think about how women and girl in particular are treated in society but it’s necessary we do the work to dismantle it to reduce the amount of suffering tjat exists at the hands of patriarchy. Thanks for sharing this with us, it’s refreshing to see when people speak up about these things ?

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