The Need to Emancipate the Girl Child
All young men, save for a few with jilted consciousness, begin to look for a girl they can marry once they hit the mid 20s. If you are like me, you probably had a good mother who told you that “My son, to succeed in life avoid women, the company of bad naughty boys and alcohol. Focus on your studies, go to church, do the right and proper things and God at the opportune time will give you a good wife.” Well, so you followed your mother and now you are 29 like me and wish to get married utmost in the next 5 years. The question is where I will find a good girl for marriage.
I know you will be quick to ask me what I mean by a good girl for marriage. Let us model what makes a good wife. When an educated man looks for a wife, he considers the following among others
1. Level of education of the girl and perceived intelligence
2. Some moral issues i.e. what ethic does the girl subscribe to
3. Demeanor of the girl i.e. how the girl treats others
4. Physical appearance of the girl; beauty still matters
5. Focus of the girl; is she someone an individual can built a future with
My country Kenya is very tribal; you are more comfortable marrying someone from your own tribe, so let us add
6. Coming from the right tribe.
Let us then consider the factors that affect the chances of meeting such a girl
1. Availability – availability depends on how many such girls can be found
2. Accessibility – They may be available but where can they be found
3. Willingness – They may be accessible but are they willing to consider a relationship leading to marriage
4. Readiness – They may be available, accessible and willing but how ready are they both psychologically and in terms of demeanor to be worthy someone’s consideration
Having set out our analytical framework, let us now consider the facts and to our level best stick to the fact. The UNDP HDR 2011 shows that in Kenya around 52% of women to every 100% of a male population has access to secondary education. Considering my division Kanduyi, my wise guess after observations is that not more than 10 girls to every 50 boys have managed a post secondary qualification. This is not a girl’s problem; it is rather a societal problem. As we all know, there are many hurdles girls have to jump if they are to enjoy upward social mobility in our society. The girls are intentionally not taken to school, are taken advantage of by boys, men and old men alike and are overworked in our homes leading to failure in school or drop outs. In a home, while parents will build a cottage for their boy children, girls have to do with the kitchen as their abode; sleeping on rags and no proper social amenities. No wonder, many of them run off with boys very early because then they find some comfort as married women. Our parents have preferential bias against girls when it comes to education. Consequently, if a man is looking for an educated girl to Marry, the ratio of educated girls to educated men makes finding such a girl an elusive affair.
Someone once told me that Africans are too sexual oriented, no wonder most of their dance movements are concentrated at the waist. I can attest that as early as 9 years old, our girls already know about sex and are sexually active. Are the girls to blame? No, this is not a girl problem but a societal problem. I have seen young men ogling even six year olds in the village; and you will hear statements like “this one is fast maturing, the breasts show that in a couple of months and she will be ready”. This does not end in the village; come to our towns and cities like Nairobi and the games continue. If you are a girl in Nairobi and you have not been used by the “bakinyikeu” (older men), count you lucky. I have met girls who tell me things like “what is wrong with our men, they see a girl and all they are thinking about is getting her into a bed”. Due to the mentioned factors, do not vilify me when I say that many of our girls are taken, used and dumped by older men who have some money and status.
As a consequence of the low moral standi in our society and misuse of young girls coming into Nairobi, there are very many girls with children who are looking for husbands. Again, I do not wish to attack single mothers. It is not a crime to be a single mother and I know many in our society of today are intentionally choosing to be single mothers. However, we should decry the increasing number of young single mothers who are still seeking to settle down. We should go to the root of the matter and understand why our girls against their will find themselves living as single mothers. They may share the blame, but the larger society and men in particular have a case to answer.
When men complain that getting the right kind of girls is hard, women may retort that you attract what you are like. True as it may be, how do you access the good singles? You go to social functions and many of those you will find there are single mothers, divorced ladies, ladies in complicated relationships or ladies just out to cut beer like porridge. The so called good girls do not go to social places and if they do, they go to exclusive functions. It is for this reason that churches have become the only plausible hunting ground for good women for marriage. However, even there, one has to stomach enough hypocrisy or enough naivety that is not developmental.
Finding a girl to marry is elusive because majorities marries at a young age and remain in the village while those who go to institutions of higher learning are often messed at a very early stage. The messing happens on two fronts; men using and dumping the girls or girls who have suffered under men indoctrinating the rest of the girls about the diabolical nature of the male sex. Either case, you either find a girl who is too used or who is too abrasive for any nurturing relationship.
However, have all our girls suffered that fate? No, there are many who are still eligible and have not been disadvantaged due to what has been discussed so far. However, when it comes to those, are they accessible? Many of the good ones are not accessible because they come, hide in institutions of learning (so focused on their studies; don’t worry even boys have done that) and once they leave, they get dumped in institutions as good employees thus becoming even inaccessible as they go through life more or less like puppets. A few get into healthy relationships while in college while those wired to focus on their studies and careers only come out as grown women wielding some power to find eligible suitors who are their age going for younger women.
Of those who are accessible, give and take, some are good i.e. warm welcoming and treat their brothers with respect. We applaud you our dear sisters because you are the reasons why we insist on searching for eligible girls for marriage. However, a majority of the so called good and classy ladies are arrogant, full of themselves and proud. There is this thing called women empowerment; it has been misconstrued to mean “women are empowered if they have capacity to lord over men and rub crap in the face of men”. I have interacted with many brothers in University Campuses and they say majority of Kenyan ladies hold Kenyan men in very low esteem. Influenced by soap operas and movies, there is this latent belief among some Kenyan women that men out there are better than Kenyan men. They have not distinguished Ideal from Realistic and while the two are not opposed; only a tempered view bears fruits.
Why educated women behave so defensively (it is like they have to do a lot to hang on to their assumed status) is not up to me to tell. My guess is that our brothers with their machoism contribute to that. However, women have to focus on how to make things work rather than how to compete men. The future of society is in men and women forging mutual understanding and respect. The modern girls are puffed up with the belief that she is better than men. With women empowerment efforts stressing more the message of “what men can do, women can do better”, society is tinged towards gender conflict rather than a working compromise.
Having said all that, our dear girls, don’t you think your work is cut out?
1. You have to help the brothers like me know that they are part of the problem
2. You have to find ways of coming to the rescue of our girls back in villages; they are victims of the social fabric and are ultimately blamed for the consequences of our soiled morals
3. For those single and not married, there are enough single men who are simple and totally down to earth. They are focused and they know that with a strong girl at their side, the sky is the limit. So, how do you access these men and how can these men find you?
As for my brothers, the men
1. Don’t you think love means nurturing rather than dominating?
2. How will good men overshadow the bad boys in doing their thing?
3. Remember fellow boys still growing, they are the marginalized lot of tomorrow?
4. And yes, there are enough good single ladies out there; you only need to know where.