Relationships & Double Standards: Why Is The Pressure Always On Women To Be The Perfect Partners?

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If at all there is need for behavioural change, it is not the role of one gender.

If you have been on Facebook for more than 6 months, then you are familiar with those long posts that tell women what to do in order to get husbands. You know how they write: do not take a lot of alcohol, do not smoke, and do not frequent clubs… I could go on and on but why should I when you can read the actual posts? At the end of these posts, they always threaten that if as a woman you insist on taking 12 bottles of tusker like him, him here being the man you are dating, he will only ‘use you’ and jilt you for a ‘reserved girl’ with whom he will make a happy home forever after.  To be fair, these ‘Facebook lectures’ are there for men too although I am yet to see one that threatens men with lack of marriage if they cannot wear their trousers properly or if they do not go to church.

Girlfriend or Wife Material. The standards for women are high to be wives yet low for husbands. Image from http://nabiesmagazin.blogspot.co.ke/2012/08/girlfriend-or-wife-material_1.html

Well, I am not about to start a debate about how many bottles of alcohol women who want to get married should drink because I do not know. I am, however, concerned about this false hope that men are given – that they can play around with women and take alcohol and smoke all the smokeables with some girls but when they will be ready to get married, there will be a ‘pure’ girl somewhere waiting for this man to mercifully marry them into eternal happiness. Our society is doing a great disservice to men by lying to them that only women need to live responsibly that is assuming taking 12 bottles of beer is a bad thing. Now, at the risk of sounding like Njoki Chege, for this girl whom the Facebook lecture is lying to you that they are just seated somewhere purely waiting for you, they could be so averse to the smell of alcohol that the mere sight of a beer bottle makes their stomachs churn. So you see, do not be fooled that there is a pure, non-alcohol taking girl out there whose ultimate ambition in life is to get married to your beer drenched self. We did a post on what men think is wife material and we were asking what exactly is wife material?

Moving on swiftly now, I think that one of the problems that the society has refused to look in the face and solve is failing to teach men to respect women and making women look inherently guilty for everything. The other day I was hanging out with a friend in a bar/restaurant. A half-drunk man staggered to where we were and he introduced himself as a pilot. I am not good at approximating people’s ages so I will not even go there. After he finished introducing himself, we stood up to leave. My friend and I were done with our nyama choma. When we stood up to leave, he asked, “didn’t you girls hear that I am a pilot?” That is when it hit me that his being a pilot has helped him get girls in the past. And this was supposed to make us change our life-long plans and thank God that we had finally met a pilot in our lives.

Anyway, assuming we were interested in his being a pilot or the actual owner of the universe, he would be the same man who, three weeks later, would sit down with his boys and lament about how Kenyan girls are only interested in money and there is none that is suitable ‘wife material’ (that is assuming he is actually a pilot). What I am saying is, while I am not the best person to explain how courtship should happen, I think that men are supposed to be made to understand that it takes two to tango. If I am interested in your money and you do not give me your money, am I holding a gun to your head? Why do men keep girls whom they believe are only there for their money? Could it be that they are also gaining in a way and they do not what to talk about it when they decide to paint women black and red?

All said and put aside, is there a way the next generation of men and women who date or get into marriage can be more clear-minded as they interact with each other? I strongly believe that change can come but only if we begin to have honest conversations with ourselves and each other. Therefore, I will start by dropping my points here, add your own.

  1. The attitude needs to be made right

Good girls (whatever that means) are not prizes that men win. They are human beings who think independently and are also interested in getting good men (whatever that means) for themselves. Just as dealing with a woman with tones of baggage trailing her may not be part of your future plan, dealing with a man with so much uncool history is not part of her game plan either. Translation: put your house in order whether you are a man or a woman. Work towards what you want in life.  Do not merely wish for it.

2. Think well

Most of the time, men have been made to believe that it is only them who have the exclusive power to ‘use a woman’. What if indeed, it is only your money she is after and she is going nowhere with someone whose ears look like yours?  You know the way they say it; Unadhani umepata kumbe umepatwa? Or what if this girl you are wasting your time with swore an oath to spinsterhood and you are busy thinking you are wasting her time and no man will ever find her worthy of marrying?

3. Our generation needs to learn that respect is reciprocal

It bothers me that at a time when the world has made a lot of advancement and so many changes in gender roles have happened,  some men still believe that women  are only worthy insofar as their femaleness in concerned and cannot respect them on the basis of their humanity. I live for the day we will stop seeing each other as prey who somehow find their way into our testimonies after we turn on a new leaf.

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