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HaroldWrites: Has The Society Failed Men?

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I recently wrote on the legal implications of Kemen’s disqualification from the Big Brother House. One of the feedback I got was a call to write about Multichoice’ blind eye to Debie Rise’s sexual assault on Bassey. I have resisted obeying this call because I think it might be misinterpreted. Some might think I want to trivialise Kemen’s action by calling for similar sanction against Debie Rise. My position as canvassed in my article is: Kemen was wrong and he was punished for it, although I believe he was only punished due to the pressure on the Organisers from viewers. If the Organisers decide not to sanction Debbie-Rise who committed a similar act, that is their prerogative.

The Organiser’s prerogative not to sanction Debie Rise is a direct consequence of viewers not piling as much pressure on them, the way they did in Kemen’s case. And whether you accept it or not, the foregoing scenario mirrors how the larger society treats issues affecting men and when same issues affect women.

Sometimes, I joke with my friends that, men are an endangered species of the human race. As a man, the society expects you to go through life, endure certain things, achieve some feat, be strong and decisive, take tough decisions etc, simply because you are a man. Sometimes, the society does not care about your emotional or mental structure. Or even, circumstances surrounding you. They ascribe responsibilities to you, just because you are a man.

The expectation the society places on men, is not commensurate with the care and protection accorded them. When people hear of an atrocity committed by a man, they just look at the act and condemn the man for it. Rightly so. But then, when a woman commits the same atrocity, there is always an explanation for why she did it. For example, studies show that, married women generally cheat because of an emotional void caused by their husband. The husband must have pushed her to that point. Maybe he neglected her. Or the woman probably caught him cheating, so in revenge, she paid him in his coin.

Some months ago, an OAP published a book where she said unprintable things about her husband, including that he gave her an STI. Without hearing from the man, everyone concluded that the man was guilty as charged and called for the man’s head. I mean, men are known to be scum, so yeah, he did it. After all, he had a child out of wedlock, so he definitely gave her the STI.

Whilst I am not exculpating men or making excuses for their wrong actions, the thrust of this article is to emphasise that, men are not infallible and there might be other root causes of many wrong men commit which the society is ignoring. Men do not commit wrongs simply because they are men and were wired to do so. People need to get rid of this notion that all men are the same. Men are humans and humans are infallible. Each person has his individual tendencies. Each person has his life experience and this experience in turn makes him who he is. A damaged boy child will grow up to be a damaged man if nothing is done. And this is where the society has failed the man. By failing the boy child.

Let me give relatable examples.

Growing up as kids, we know how circumspect our parents were with our sisters. If an uncle comes to the house, our mothers were likely not to let our sisters sit on that uncle’s lap. The opposite is the case when the visitor is an aunt and she wants to lap our brother. Nobody kicks against that. It is not even an issue. Is it because the boy child cannot be molested?

Again, if all the children returned home from school late, our parents would be more particular about where our sisters had been to. As for the boys, if we lied that we were playing ball after school, that would be the end of the query. Worst case, they would beat us and caution us to return early next time. But if it were to be our sister, they would check her pant – in and out – and ask her very specific questions. It was like, there was just this nonchalant consciousness that, only girls could be molested. So, our parents would do everything to protect our sister, the girl child.

Talking about the girl child, there are currently over 16 leading Non-Governmental Organisations in Nigeria, specifically dedicated to the welfare of the girl child and there is no particular NGO specifically dedicated to the boy child. Every other NGO is for both sexes.

In Government, there is a Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and numerous other State Ministries of Women Affairs. There is none specifically for the men or boy child. When a Governor wins an election in Nigeria, one of the pet projects of his wife, the First Lady, is to float an NGO or an Initiative primarily focused on the girl child. Even if the pet project is couched as unisex, special attention is paid to the woman or girl child. Martha Udom of Akwa-Ibom did it. Lara Oshiomole did it when her husband was still in power. Rachel Umahi of Ebonyi State did it. Even Michelle Obama travelled the world in a campaign to educate the girl child.

In churches and schools, girls are taught not to dress scantily so as not to provoke boys to rape them. I think this is a wrong mindset and approach to the rape dilemma. What happened to teaching boys not to rape girls or take advantage of them? Since it is generally believed that men are the major perpetrators of the rape culture, why hasn’t the society designed a system to teach boys not to rape, rather than teach girls to protect themselves? Why don’t parents give their male children the sex talk? Don’t boys deserve to be counselled on sex education?

Talking about counselling, the society seems to forget that, a molested boy child today, will become an adult who molest children tomorrow. Or a rapist. Or a pervert. Unless there is an early intervention or he is saved by grace. These days, female Celebrities from Nigeria are being physically abused by their husbands. Do we know if these men come from homes where their fathers used to beat their mothers? These boys witnessed the beatings. Did uncles, aunts and neighbours of boys from such homes counsel them as kids that, it is never right to hit a woman? Or they just assumed the boys will snap out of the experience? They are boys after all. Now look at them today.

A lot of men we see today were damaged psychologically as kids and nothing was done to help them. No one paid attention to them. Everyone assumed they would get over it because they were boys. I think if we must build a new generation of men who don’t rape women, husbands who don’t beat their wives, boyfriends who don’t play with the fragile hearts of their girlfriends, Pastors who don’t take sexual advantage of their female members, fathers who look after their families rather than their side-chicks, men who excel in their chosen fields, male CEOs who don’t look down on their female colleagues and see them as subordinates but as equals etc, then the society (family, religious & political  bodies, educational institutions etc) must make it a priority to pay attention to the boy child. The boy child  deserves to be given equal attention, opportunity, education, care and protection as his female counterpart.

Photo Credit: Edhar Yralaits | Dreamstime.com

HaroldWrites is an extraterrestrial who uses words like floccinaucinihilipilificate and antidisestablishmentarianism to keep his readers under his spell, yearning for more. Visit his blog at http://www.haroldwrites.com and stalk him on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram @haroldwrites

30 Comments

  1. john

    March 18, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    ???????for once in BN .a fair article but be ready for radical miserable femtards who will misinterprete everything in this article to make it all about them

    • Hum

      March 19, 2017 at 5:21 am

      When I read your comment, the first thing that came to my mind was John is at it again, until I read Engoz and Nahums comment below and I am wow you are right.

  2. Chatkazah

    March 18, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    I am a lady… And totally agree with this article. God bless

  3. funmilola

    March 18, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I get you brother, i do. it all starts from the home.
    my neighbor has four children( 3 girls and a boy) he takes only his son to the every now and then to show him around and he has never taken any of his girls, he doesn’t let the mum give him house chores because he’s a “man”…. imagine the mentality the boy will grow up with.

    • funmilola

      March 18, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      office*

  4. Big Tee

    March 18, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Where are the comments na?….. Everybody un-looking now?

  5. Where are our men?

    March 18, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Nice write up, although a little long. You are right when I say girls tend to be scrutinized more as children – even as adults-but I’m not sure if it’s because of molestation. The bottom line is if the worry of pregnancy. If she gets pregnant, 99% of the time, it’s her body, her life her dreams that are affected, not the guy.

    On point about the last 3 paragraphs. I see so many people say we need to reducate men but nobody seems to be willing to start. I have thought about organising mentorship monthly or quarterly seminars for me, but as a single woman without a child, I fear in this part of the world, I will not be taken seriously. I also think this is a battle for men of the older generation to fight. Maybe you should start a workshop or sth for guys.

  6. The concerned Earth inhabitant

    March 18, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    *******************BEWARE LONG POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes society failed men. But this ends now. Parents and the “new breeder” generation, the onus is on you for change.

    Make the world better by truly loving your children and being PARENTS (not the peer pressure “what would people say” disgusting approach, etc). Don’t do the sex discrimination with activities or rules, its stupid, Teach children to love themselves (You cant truly love yourself and not love others), be confident (that confidence building is most essential, even more than taking your kids to Sunday school/mosques, etc). Teach them to respect everyone and not just “elders”, irrespective of their varying views and ideologies, teach them to be kind, considerate, empathetic, thorough. Let them falter and stand again, let them think and make (certain) decisions for themselves without having your opinions forced on them. Teach them to enjoy the ordinary and fight for their happiness, to take chances, to smile often, to make friends, be in touch with their feelings, to pay attention to what they feed their spirit and soul and body, to be intolerant of things that steal their joy, etc.

    And just because it is doesn’t mean it should be. Proponents of “Back in the days”, the upbringing and all obviously didn’t work or we wont be stuck in the rut we are in now. Oh and parents be honest with yourselves. Don’t be delusional. Heal if you are hurting and don’t project your hurt and fear on your children, it would have been better if you never had them. Their opinions matter. Let your kids live out their dreams and not your wishes, that’s highly egotistical, stupid and pure narcissism. Parents (to the dads especially) your children have priority over your jobs, physical possession, associations and off-course ego.

    Finally don’t be like my mother who usually went “is that how I trained you”, when I basically had to train yourself in everything (I know countless people do this, both I grew up with both parents who were actually seen as wonderful from outsiders, I’m guessing the many compliments received altered realities in their brains, or they were just gas-lighting pros.)

    Tell yourselves the truth, don’t live a lie. Your children will forever remain your greatest gifts if you truly loved them. Love NEVER fails and perfect love casts out ALL fears.

  7. The concerned Earth inhabitant

    March 18, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    There are lot of grammatical errors here, forgive me readers.

  8. Engoz

    March 18, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Rotflmao! These are FEMINIST views…that we accord the same expectations for both females and males. All the things you listed are the ills of a patriarchal society. Traditional structures have different rules for the sexes just as you alluded to. E.g train the girls to be subservient puppies that should never even think of erring and give the boys a slap on the wrist when they err. The appropriate topic headline should be ‘has your traditional patriarchal society failed you men?’ Apparently it has failed you hence the article.

    Stop stealing feminist views please, acting like you invented the wheel. In patriarchal elements men are ‘fine’ as they are. They don’t need any help. Tehehe!

    • Nitomeya

      March 19, 2017 at 4:57 am

      What is really wrong with some of you so called feminist? Is everything about separation of the gender to you guys? A fair article like this and you are still picking holes and telling the author what the title should be? From your comment I can deduce that because more men are in an advantageous position in society then they cannot be victim of the same society. Is society not formed and shaped by both men and women?

    • Engoz

      March 19, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      What are you talking about? Who freaking cares about victimhood? Do I resemble someone that argues based on silly subjective premises like ‘who is suffering more between the sexes?’ I’m here to discuss IDEOLOGY that it is a FEMINIST view to argue that society has been both bad to not only women but to men as discussed by the writer. It is a FEMINIST VIEW to hold both women and men to the same standards. You plagiarists need to give credit to where this view came from. Apparently the morning just dawned on you people that’s why you think this article is the 8th world wonder. Men and women make up society, but men dominate political, cultural, religious structures that enact policies that affect or destroy all of our lives and has brought us to this freaking boring topic. What do you mean by is ‘everything about separation of gender’? Is that not you people’s forte? The separation of gender roles? Abi are you confused?

    • Dentale

      March 19, 2017 at 6:40 am

      Stealing feminist views? That’s all you could glean from this article? What the h*ll! Regardless of what you think the title should be, the writer has raised some very salient points. As a mother of 3 boys, I need to be careful that when we do our best to raise them right at home, they are not burdened with unrealistic expectations by the larger society just because they are men. The older generation of parents made their mistakes by raising a good number of men with an entitlement behavior but we cannot allow the boys of today to be ignored because their fathers could have been raised better. Feminists have sons too. Protect and preserve the rights and interests of all children. Stand with Boys and Girls not just with Girls, else we will repeat the mistakes of the past. It was a good article. Food for thought.

    • Engoz

      March 19, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      These are feminist views. When you do not want to hold your 3 boys to ‘societal expectations’….woman you are demonstrating and exercising FEMINIST views. BULLSEYE!!!??????????

  9. Allegra

    March 18, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    I do not think you get it. Boys are already a priority in farmilies.
    They go to better schools then their biological sisters, they get the car(s), they are encourage to think out of the box early in life, they are told they can do anything they want. The sky is the limit. Boys/Men get freedom. Freedom is a luxury that is never given to daughters.

    The daughters are under the thumb of their mothers and are actually emotionally and physically abused. Who does the cleaning of the house at an early age. Who cooks and looks after the other siblings ? The daughters. If we dont want to do any of these things or sleep with the boy we like, we get seriously beaten.
    The daughters are told from an early age-sometimes 3/4months. The 1st present a baby daughter is given in a baby toy. If you are from a affluent family, you might get a baby doll house and miniature kitchen.
    So, as a baby daughter of 3/4 months you are told, you are worthless and all you are going to do is become a baby factory, look after those babies, clean and cook and you will have no other opportunity to do great things. You will only like pink things for the rest of your life and propagate.

    1st more women are less educated then men
    2nd more women are in financial debt then men
    3rd more educated women in jobs earn less than their male counter parts.
    4th a large percentage of women have not clue about family planning.
    5th more women are bullied at work and in their marriages.
    6th a large proportion of women in society do not have a voice and their issues are greatly ignored.
    7th in many communities women are 2nd class citizens.
    8th Women’s health is hugely ignored .

    If more women are educated (farming, technolgy etc) they will be in less financial trouble. If more women had a voice is Large Organisations and SMEs the country as a whole will financially benefit from it. If more women had the same salaries as men; they will be able to support their families, their children will benefit and the parents will have a better work- life balance.

    The more women benefit the more inclusive society will become and Society will benefit from it with more financial growth, improved infrastructure, technology initiatives etc… The opportunities are endless.

    Your description of what occurs when families favours the males over the female child is called gender bias and society is now suffering from it not only in Nigerian Society but globally. Men cannot clean the house, have poor communications/soft skills, poor stress management or only looks after the male child and the cycle continues. I personally know a lot of Women under 30 who already create horrible rules for their daughters while the 5 yr old son is given carte blanche.

    The key thing is to quickly encourage and engage with women so they know their worth in society and together with our men; create an Inclusive society. In conclusion, men are not the endangered species .

    • Nitomeya

      March 19, 2017 at 5:17 am

      Freedom in this context is not a luxury, it means that boys are raised up as spoilt kids whilst girls are properly trained. Love involves discipline and it appears men are not getting that. The other things you said about women are right, there need to be a balance to these things.

  10. Nahum

    March 19, 2017 at 2:06 am

    Lololol!!!!! There is always a man that tries to confuse the movement. I am all for protecting ALL children from sexual abuse, on that issue, we agree, but don’t you dare try and paint all men as victims. Men are raised to believe that they are special and beyond reproach and they take that attitude into marriage. To the writer, if you want to make a point, stop jumping around onto various issues to gain sympathy for men. Men enjoy their privilege, they revel in it and use their privilege to torment, abuse and harass women and children. Own this first, and then we can sit down and discuss a way forward.

    • Nitomeya

      March 19, 2017 at 5:12 am

      Can we conclude that we are shaped up by our individual experiences as we grow up, so what are you finding hard to agree with the author that men that were brought up wrongly are a victim of their upbringing?

      A personal experience I have whilst growing up, my mom would normally send a younger male cousin on errands even when I was around, my dad noticed this trend and told my mom to stop it.
      He said she was building up my cousin and spoiling me silly by not involving me in those chores. She changed and started involving me in those chores, I am grown up now and I get involved in chores because I am used to it, will I be open to chores now if I wasn’t trained properly?

      This is not about sympathy for men and even if it was are you saying men cannot be vulnerable?

  11. Babym

    March 19, 2017 at 2:39 am

    Some of u still don’t get it. I fully understand where the writer is coming from. See ehenn if we like, we can empower women and all that great stuff from now till thy kingdom come! But if we don’t start changing and instilling the right ideas and principles in the boy child, NOTHING is going to change. Some of u have mentioned how boys r privileged and abuse women and what not. The point of this article is so what r we going to do about it???? Keep empowering the girl child and leave the boy continue with the mindset society has taught him is right because he is ‘privileged’? Abeg reason

  12. Ine

    March 19, 2017 at 4:19 am

    Some feminists are parents to little boys and i hope they get it right. Some comments here are very disturbing because even the little things that ladies do and take pride in are now being seen as some sort of punishment. Even love for color pink and baby dolls. Focus people!!! We are all acting like the men are useless and not needed. Do you think men have not had their share of struggle ? Do you think they have not been forced to make sacrifices for their female siblings. Lets be objective

  13. Nene

    March 19, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Great article and a great read! Every Society is responsible for the men it breeds, and most of the responsibility on the parents, and mothers! Train your children equally, and we won’t have problems with future generations. Don’t say, but he is a boy! No! Mothers have to stop the unequal training of their kids.

  14. Nene

    March 19, 2017 at 10:16 am

    I think another problem is fathers! In a lot of developing countries, fathers leave parenting to mothers! Fathers should be there to gain their kids too, both the females and males. When a father instills the right morals and discipline in his son, that boy can never go wrong. Boys need their fathers to be the best men they can be.

  15. Ezinne

    March 19, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Dear writer, I thoroughly enjoyed your read, I agree that there is an inequality in the way some issues are handled, more women empowerment schemes than for the men ET Al, Let’s see it this way, if we can tackle and totally eradicate gender bias and women inequality, then we can start to see the men and the women on an equal scale, with equal challenges to be tackled.
    I’ll liken this article to the rich complaining that those driving Toyota corolla are too many on the road, why can’t we see more range rovers? Lol that’s me trying to be funny but hey… In an equal world, everyone will be treated equally
    When a child is sick, the mother tends to focus all her love and attention to the child, once strong, he joins his siblings and she treats them all the same way again. Once we can eradicate women inequality, then we can level the field and treat everyone as human beings with unique gender challenges, for now you have to agree that men are getting the better part of the cake
    Nice one tho

  16. Sisi

    March 19, 2017 at 11:18 am

    ‘Men do not commit wrongs simply because they are men and were wired to do so.’ Is this not the narrative that many men push and stand on as an excuse for lack of self discipline, desire to to sleep with as many women as they feel like? All the ‘Men aren’t genetically created to be monogamous’ BS? This is an interesting piece but the system on the whole has been set up by men for the benefit of men. The girl child has only become a focus of recent because women are demanding it and making the case for it. The world is changing and if men aren’t happy with the status quo they better start speaking up now too. If you don’t want to be ‘macho’ all the time, want to be ’emotional’, raise your domestic violence examples feel free to do so just don’t do it at the expense of competing with women or trying to silence them.

  17. Lola

    March 19, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Best writeup have seem this year. Makes a lot of sense.

  18. Idomagirl

    March 20, 2017 at 12:01 am

    Harold some of these things you’ve pointed out are the ways patriarchy hurts men…
    These things can only be solved when we have a truly equal society and we understand that just because someone is of a particular gender doesn’t automatically mean they should act or be treated a certain way.

    As for the governor’s wives & their projects – maybe they are focused on the girl child cos there’s still a lot of disparity between both genders? (look up statistics and see for yourself, men and boys still outrank women & girls in every parameter you can think of – educational attainment, economic power, political representation etc).

    Maybe when we have a female governor the First Husband can start a pet project for boys. 🙂

  19. isaid!!

    March 20, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    “Maybe when we have a female governor the First Husband can start a pet project for boys. @idomagirl, very funny. I do agree to an extent with the writer. We really have to raise our sons better. And, abuse is abuse no matter who the victim is

  20. Zedzed

    March 20, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    I really can’t take this writer seriously because he has totally missed the point. Of course patriarchy hurts men but most of its benefits are enjoyed by men.
    Your analogy is like this “a black man in America complaining about racism and setting up organisations to combat it, and a white man comes around and starts complaining about all the ways racism also affects him and why there are no organisations to address his hurt”.
    It shows all the ways you don’t acknowledge your privilege.
    Zero respect for your article, waste of time because it is not advancing the narrative.

    • molarah

      March 20, 2017 at 11:47 pm

      I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one the point of this article was lost on. The intentions may have been noble but the final outcome is an article that is spread in too many directions and is using too many reaching examples for comfort. Author forgot to check his African male privileges at the door, and ended up with coming across as pretty insensitive in many sections. I started getting lost at that reference to Toke: the author clearly did not read her book as at no time did she describe her husband in “unprintable” terms. Then it went south and I could not go on reading any further. I think this is a narrative many believe should be heard (thus the warm reception in the comments), however, this author’s treatment of this issue leaves much to be desired.

  21. uso

    March 26, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Yea its true. Society is very bias to men. Do u know that men also get sexually molested at young ages? Most womanizers are products of sexuak molestmolestation but society does not pay attention….some boys are introduced to sex before they turn ten by ladies in thier twenties…how do u expect him to behave when he is a man? Look at the divorce system in America, a woman can just take half your wealth like that over some flimsy reason of irreconcilable differences, men lose most times in custocustody battles, women want men to be sissies in the name of gender equality and then scream blue murder that they are not man enough

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