Jan 18, 2021 | Equal Rights, Magazine | 7 comments

Unchain men from the yoke of social injustice: Men hurt too!

Fadzai Musikavanhu is a gender equality advocate with extensive expertise on the implementation of international human rights norms and standards, in particular CEDAW. Prior to being an independent gender specialist, she served as an English teacher for 9 years in South Africa. She specializes in the areas of law and policy reform, access to justice, gender-based violence, the economic and political empowerment of marginalized groups, and practical strategies for the elimination of all forms of gender discrimination. Fadzai Musikavanhu holds MA degree in Gender and Policy Studies.

Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men,
95As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clept
All by the name of dogs. Macbeth act 3scene 1

Discourses on the emancipation of men in a patriarchal society have been debated as radicalism. For years Universal Declaration of Human Rights, CEDAW of 1979, Beijing Declaration and PFA of 1995, Millennium Development Goals (Goal no. 3), SADC Gender Protocol, SDG goal number 5 (achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls) has been advocating for equal rights but with women taking the precedence which has left the society unbalanced impoverishing the men which has led to a plethora of social injustice issues. Patriarchy has definitely done more harm than good to men. Personally, for decades I was framed to believe that men are the strongest beings on earth until I watched my father wailing and screaming in pain and yet the people were echoing the same old chant that men are strong and don’t cry. I saw how fragile a big-boned, military man was going through day in day out that me to strongly believe that men are human and they hurt too.
For years I have interpreted the above-mentioned quote: Act 3 scene 1 line 94 of Macbeth written by William Shakespeare in the context of the era the play was written until recently I realized men in our society also are not a homogeneous group, they have different personality traits. Impartially like women men are raped, molested, rejected, victims of gender-based violence, bullied and also depress over things like heightism just as women are concerned about their weight. For years I have made it a point to observe all the men in my circles. My observations were shocking, some have been sinking into depression, becoming alcoholics, developing phobia for marriage and some have been unfairly treated by the judiciary system as well as the workplace once they revealed their gender that is against the norm. This has left me with a lot of unanswered questions. Are men not human? How can the society work together to achieve equality of both men and women without leaving the other gender compromised?
What I picked is that society puts pressure on men by implying that men are alpha, unshakable and powerful beings when in actual fact they are also emotional beings just like women. This is the reason why proponents of gender equality are ignored because it is believed that men can achieve more when in actual fact, they are our equals… if not less emotionally intelligent than women.

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  1. Caroline K Doba

    Insightful analysis I also agree that men are somehow currently being ignored and sidelined when it comes to some gender issues. Men are also emotional beings who practically still have the burden to cater for families and still have women who look up to them to put dinner on the table(social duties) yet they aren’t getting the necessary attention and are seen as superheroes which is analytically unfair

    • Vuyisani Siniu

      Perfect article

  2. Ms Khay

    I totally agree with you… there are a lot of men out there who are depressed and abused but can not come out to say it because society deemed men as a stronger sex…

    • Kiki

      This is a good article. I do agree with you. Men have become victims and they fail to say because they should “man up. ” They do not want to be labelled as failures hence they prefer to suffer in silence.

    • Liz Mshngwe

      Literature also has been for a while advocating for the ‘superman ‘ within a man.Chapter 7 in the text Things Fall Apart written by Chinua Achebe.Okonkwo kills an innocent boy.A son to him because of the social tag ‘strong man’. In thevtext also She Nolonger Weeps. A father had to make a decision based on what society thinks is right.freuds idea that ‘anatomy is destiny ‘ also left men in the ditch.People should start the conversation that it is ok to be emotional ,to be a fulltime father,to be weak and to be out of options.Most men go through the unthinkable just to maintain the status quo.

      • Barbara Mungofa

        What an insightful piece. Societal expectations keep promoting sexism, sadly. I would say charity begins at home. If we are to bring the change we would like to see, how about letting the boy child cry and allow them to express their emotions-and not yell ‘boys don’t cry’? can we domesticated them and not say ‘that’s not men’s duties? It’s a mentality that has to be instilled at a tender age, as all the men we see today started off as young boys. Let’s catch them young. It’s starts in the home, then extends to the community. I can imagine what men have to go through everyday as the bar has already been set. The idea of wanting to share their emotions, the abuse some go through, their failures etc..but not being able to do so as they will be undermined and not fit the category of ‘real men or men’s world.

  3. Pabii Rambau

    I agree, men suffer from societal gender stereotypes which has caused them not to be fully comfortable in expressing their emotions. Sexism has to come to an end.


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