Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gender Fuels Contention in Homes

In Africa and some other areas of the world, gender is a basis for household contention. Many men have learned that women are weak and inferior and who can be deprived of some of their rights.

Gender is a cultural issue that fuels many household contentions. In some countries, men have been taught that women are weak and an inferior creature deprivable of some of her rights. It should be possible to explain clearly the concept of gender and equality. Gender is used to put a clear difference between masculine and feminine. Gender should not bring confusion with the word sex because sex is used to distinguish between male and female. Sex is something considered in the biological context whereas gender is a social construct. Biological characteristics are often transmitted and even sustained along the generations through genes. This does not exclude sexual reproduction of human beings.

Conversely, social characteristics are learned and so they can be transmitted and prolonged by symbols and not human genes, through communication and social reproduction like learning. Therefore masculine and feminine are implied in social features. These features can be changed since they are culturally arbitrary and they can change with education and development. As gender generates a lot of interpretations, particularly in what concerns masculine and feminine. This variation is mostly based on cultural realities of a given society. Taking reference to traditions, some men use gender as the explanation by which they use hard power in their households.Women are traditionally given less value. Because of the above reason, women and girls are assigned a lower status compared to men. In a situation of contention, gender tenaciously influences the household’s attitudes and this leads me to believe that women have relational skills that their husbands still lack though they bully them. These men using force to their wives may be complexed because this is their only way they think they can address an issue. Such a situation of brutality carried on women reflects the woman’s vulnerability to sexual violence in the home.

In many societies in Africa and the Middle East, females are traditionally considered as dependents of their husbands and their males relatives. This makes the women subordinate to men who are therefore considered as the natural and irreplaceable heads of their households. As for gender roles, the household is divided as for responsibilities. Indeed, women are exclusively responsible for taking care of the children in the home, cooking food for the members of the family who are present in the household and keeping the home tidy. On the other hand, men are responsible for building the home. And this is in the context of providing the household with the necessary material and finance for their welfare. Thus he is the only money earner and so he controls the household income and he is the only to decide on how it will be used. This takes the woman to a lower level and status in the society. In fact, this simply reflects that it is generally accepted for husbands to punish their wives when the latter are considered to have wronged them. In fact, these unfortunate women have not other possibilities to redress against this awful situation of being punished. This situation has been criticized by some women and men but many more of them seek to strongly support this as an aspect of the cultural heritage. Some men have the tendency to see this kind of violence as the husband’s entitlement as the head of the household to endow his household with guidance. Moreover, men oftentimes present aggressive attitudes whereas women cooperate to safeguard relations in their homes. The only explanation to this is that women fear to distort the unity of the community as the outcomes may be dire and be put on their back. Some women argue that even during the time when they are subjected to severe domestic violence, they almost never make a complaint but they rather seek protection through the husband’s relatives and friends, who can stop him from beating his wife. Then the husband can be fined and so he pays some money or material as compensation for his hurt and damages caused to his wife.

Conversely, some though very few, a woman seeking intervention of official judicial structures may be considered as bring shame upon the family and so he has caused her own ostracizing. For this reason, the woman will avoid situations bringing shame to the family. This indeed explores the woman in this society to the possibility of further violence by the husband. In order to avoid such awful events to the family, women decide to stay at home when they know the husbands are there. Due to this women are considered as children who will always ask permission to their husbands before they can leave the compound. They also do their best to prepare meals on time and consent to sexual intercourses when their husbands feel need for it. Similarly, although some men do assault and aggress regularly their wives, the latter are still for negotiation just for the sake of family unity. But this will never provide sustainable unity since this always causes the wife to continuously bear moral, psychological and even physical wounds because of the husband and yet she is not ready to take a given decision. This indeed creates another kind of conflict in the woman, the internal one which generates very severe healthy and social consequences in the long run.

Thus, gender influences power for control and authority as it makes its user, here the husband, feel more autonomous and dominant over his spouse. Gender imposes itself greatly over those having no access to socially valued roles. This truly leads men to assault their wives ignoring that gender should be framed as the fact that the individual is carrying out their responsibilities properly and that they are not being compelling toward the other partner. Furthermore, regardless gender, disputants in the household equally aggress verbally when their emotions are high and strong. According to some men, a situation like this may often irritate the husband in case his wife does not happen to hold water in her mouth. Women are good speakers and in this case the brutal husband may want to show his manhood to his wife and decides to beat her so that she can be intimidated and next time she will no longer aggress the him verbally. Such husband’s self protection is an expression of selfishness, which is exclusion from household decision taking since this does not give room to dialogue but rather to more brutalities. When the household is living a contention, both the wife and the husband’s blameworthiness does influence their feelings negatively because emotions are reactive to a specific stimulus. So the anxiety of the wife results in the husband who does not respect her and does not communicate with her appropriately; despite these attitudes, women have learned how to manage well their fears aiming at harmony through communication.

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MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Gender Fuels Contention in Homes

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on April 08, 2010 at 01:15 am

Melody, thanks for your comment on this article. You say you would leave, but go where. This world contains lots of realities and you are aware of them you may decide to kill yourself. Despite this awful situation, you can witness here people getting married every weekend. Myself, I do praise the courage of our women here.

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