Yesterday, I saw a post by a Nigerian celebrity, where she was teaching her son how to make puff-puff (Nigerian pastry balls). Someone somewhere challenged this and said that the mother was ‘doing a terrible job by exposing her son to femininity’. This unenlightened individual also said that it is “unAfrican” 😐. As a sensible and humorous individual put it, this unenlightened individual’s ‘masculinity is so fragile that cooking or going to the kitchen will destroy it’. I agree.
On a deeper note, it made me question the content and the quality of what we’re inculcating in our African children. If we are to be honest with ourselves, the average African knows that there are a million and one regressive cultures that we teach children, even in this 21st century. Yet, we are the very people who complain when we feel the effect of those cultures.
There are many ways of life that were prevalent once upon a time. However, it’s more of a shock than a shame to see that a significant portion of African parents won’t apply the practicalities of the times we’re in to nurturing their children. I mean, how would you expect a young bachelor to feed and take care of himself and his home, when you banned him from the kitchen and from household chores, as a child? Is he supposed to spend all his earnings — if he even has any — on ready meals, take-outs or hired cooks? Is he supposed to rely solely on cleaners or domestic staff to look after himself and his home? Or worse, is he supposed to enslave a girlfriend to nurse, babysit and tend to all his needs?
What are we teaching African children?
So many African girl children are forced to become women far before they’re ready. I’m one of those, but I’m fine with it. I didn’t have a choice, as the first child and grandchild on my maternal side, and as the first female child and first female grandchild. I was everyone’s parenting guinea pig. Again, these have made me a woman of steel, so I’m cool with it. But the male children, what becomes of them?
Perhaps, some of the unenlightened ignoramuses blocking our ears with screams of “masculinity” in 2017 are the ones who never had to lift a finger because there was always a girl/ woman in the house. If it wasn’t their moms, it was the maids or the aunties or grandmas. My grandma was a no-nonsense disciplinarian. She trained every male in sight that was beneath her years, even her sister’s grandson and our neighbour’s son.
Today, we see men who express their “masculinity” by beating women, emotionally abusing them, unashamedly telling them that their places are in the kitchen and bedroom, suggesting that their bodies are commodities. Zero respect for women. Zero appreciation for the roles that women play in their lives. Whatever happened to “masculinity” denoting attributes like independence in the home, respect for ladies, protectiveness, security, maturity, sensitivity, sensibility and more?
What deplorable “masculinity” are we teaching our African male children?