Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Shall We Please them All?

I don't know about the majority of you, but I live in a society where everyone is concerned with following the rules, and fitting the mold, so much so that sometimes they forget to be their own person. Yes, I'm being judgmental, but I feel that I can be since I'm sometimes guilty of this myself (although, dear God, I hope this is less often than most).

Now, when I talk of this society, I mean the one in Nairobi. Yes, people in Sewanee do this to a certain extent, but I think that's a whole different ball game.

Yes, rules, traditions and beliefs are important. We hold onto our past because it gives us a base. We repeat the same things because they give us a sense of security. However, times are changing and it's important to realise that so many of these customs and traditions are simply not relevant; some on a societal level, and some on a more individual level.

At the risk of incurring the loving wrath of my fellow people, I'll give a few examples.
One young man I know who is around my age was lounging around as his mother laboured in the kitchen. I wondered why he wasn't helping, and being me, I asked. His mother was quick to reassure me that he did not need to; once he got married, his wife would take care of the 'household stuff.' It took all I had to stay quiet and not look mortally offended (pats herself on back). I'm not even going to bother going into the details of just how undervalued women are most of the time. Now, by no means do I consider myself a staunch feminist. However, I do know that there are many things that they are equal in, and it's time that society realised this.

There's a group I know that is comprised of people of many different ages and generations. These people meet on a regular basis, being well acquainted family friends, and naturally, discuss a variety of topics as people are apt to do. I was rather miffed though, by the ease at which the wisdom and opinions of the younger ones was discounted. The common perception seems to be that in a family, older people are the only ones with things worth saying or listening to, and that there is only one proper 'head' of the family.
There's also a common social stigma against those who dare to be different, in some groups more than others. This can be against homosexuals, women who dare to be independent, people who do not strictly conform to religion's rules or youth who decide to be 'artsy.'

Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, I'm someone who likes to look above and beyond. I like to recognise, appreciate, and bring out the potential in groups and individuals, and facing those who are determined to stick to their good old tried-and-tested is more than a little frustrating. This being said, allow me to preach just a little bit. Let's challenge our perceptions, views and beliefs, and recognise what is around us. If we dogmatically stick to how we've always been, we won't be able to get anywhere at all.
Have a great day!

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5 comments:

Hardeep S said...

Well said! Times have changed... Some of these silly traditions and ways of living cetainly need a rethinking!

Tony W said...

Of course times' have changed! Look around, look behind - across the generation gap even; things ARE different. The time when you could tell women/females to keep quiet are long gone. But....now I may be inviting some wrath...some women don't want to know the difference. For example the mother of the person you mentioned - their outlook will take another century to change!!!!

Anonymous said...

Of course times' have changed! Look around, look behind - across the generation gap even; things ARE different. The time when you could tell women/females to keep quiet are long gone. But....now I may be inviting some wrath...some women don't want to know the difference. For example the mother of the person you mentioned - their outlook will take another century to change!!!!

Wesley White said...

I agree with your thoughts here Roshni, and I am grateful for the fact that today's society, both in America and globally, is moving towards a brighter future of equality and toleration. This issue expands far past just gender equality into the realms of racism and other kinds of discrimination that are not necessarily seen as abnormal because they fit into tradition. I do think it is the necessity of our generation to spread the kind of knowledge and worldview that you are articulating here in order to make this forward progress possible, but it is a slow and arduous journey. I think part of the problem, just going off the above comment, is that our parents's generation holds us back in some regards, and in the issue of Feminism or Gender Equality, the kind of progress we want to see can only happen if there is no opposition to it from within the female gender. I personally think a large part of the way we accomplish things like this is through education. What is the education for women like in Kenya? Is gender equality focused on or emphasized in any way? And on that note, are there any kind of governmental provisions for equal wages or against job discrimination? Just curious. As far as things here in Sewanee, I have actually heard from women here that they believe in the separation of gender roles, and although I am not opposed to women raising children or even staying home, I am also not opposed to the opposite, and I believe that men should help out... which believe it or not is not always the belief even of some of our friends here, even with the strong emphasis on gender equality that is promoted by places like the women's center. How do we move past this kind of opposition? Maybe that's too hard of a question to answer right now, and like the above comment said, maybe it will take another century to change. I'm happy for the progress so far though and i think the future looks bright!

Roshni Walia said...

I agree with what you said Wes! I think that the education of women depends on where in Kenya one is learning, but I do think that there is more societal discrimination than educational in many cases. Thanks for sharing!

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