Connect with us


Blaming women for societal ills won’t wash



THIS past weekend saw the emergence of yet another video where the nation’s favourite scapegoat was her usual villainous self. And as soon as that video surfaced on social media scores of Basotho took to social media to condemn, criticize, and write pieces about her conduct and how it affects the image of this great nation. Was she recorded committing murder? Was she bathing in the blood of minors or even looting public funds? Not exactly, the video was of a tipsy ‘Maesaiah Thabane playfully dancing with a wine glass and teasing what looked to be her sober husband who like all sober people stands there being serious for a while and then he laughs. Personally, I found the video cute. Call me a romantic but the picture of married people joking around and being comfortable enough with each other to have little teasing moments is the wedded bliss that I would hope for. Let us also take a minute to be honest. Who amongst us has not gotten a little too tipsy while your partner was the picture of soberness and you attempted to make him join in the fun by teasing him? In fact, having a person of sober mind and boring ideals to take care of a tipsy me is half the reason I have boyfriends at all. My point is the behaviour displayed by the former first lady in the video is normal and even cute. It is nice to see someone happy with their partner. Sadly, these were not the sentiments being shared on social media. People were irate on how dare she make a fool of their beloved former Prime Minister and how dare she display such brazen drunkenness as a public figure? And it went on and on about how poor Tom was being mistreated and made a fool of himself and how the failure of Tom’s administration can be laid at ‘Maesaiah’s feet. And on and on it went. Now I will admit that I found the former first lady’s conduct to be questionable more than a few times. However, I did not find it so in that video but that is not even the point. What is most bothersome is that every time her husband erred while in office, we somehow found a way to make it her fault. In making all the blunders of Thabane’s administration ‘Maesaiah’s fault meant that the people who were actually responsible were not actually held to account and all they had to do was to claim that they had distanced themselves from her and the slate was wiped clean and they could continue in public duty. I am not at all well versed in politics but what I remembered of Thabane’s parliament was that it was made up of gentlemen of shall we say “considerable age” and this was hardly their first term in public office. Should we then believe these experienced veterans were all led astray by an experienced, for lack of a better word, lady from Mokhotlong? And if indeed we have a parliament that is so easily swayed, should we even trust them to lead us at all? If they could be intimidated by ‘Maesiaah to do her bidding what will happen the day they are threatened by someone scarier, say Putin for example? Are we as a nation saying we put our trust in a parliament that is so easily intimidated? The truth is the problem was never ‘Maesaiah. The problem was society’s inability or rather unwillingness to hold men accountable for their actions. What they were looking for was a woman nearby who could be blamed instead. From Robert Mugabe to Adam, the finger will always be pointed at the woman in the room. Towards the end of Mugabe’s reign everyone was pointing out how Grace was corrupting Mugabe to further her own political ambitions. Now I am even worse off in as far as my knowledge of Zimbabwean politics is concerned but it seemed to me that if Mugabe could not even lead his wife then he was obviously the wrong choice to lead a nation. This is not just a political problem. This tendency to blame the woman is everywhere. In South African entertainment industry, for example, when AKA left his very pregnant boyfriend to shack up with Bonang everyone was mad at Bonang for ruining Zinhle’s relationship. It is also found in churches. Whenever the pastor is caught with his pants down with a member of the congregation who is often single, the girl will be branded a Jezebel and is chased out of church while the pastor is seen to have merely erred and must be prayed for. It is even true when a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a man in his 30s. All we can say is that the girl is “fast”. The ‘Maesaiah Thabanes, Grace Mugabes, Bonangs, the women who “stole” your husbands and the fast little girls who were in fact victims of statutory rape are simply a testament to a larger societal problem and that problem is our failure as a society to hold men accountable for their actions. Perhaps this explains why when you go to your local police station to report a rape you will be met with the question: “What were you wearing?” That seems to suggest that the problem is always the woman’s fault. So, every year we will take 16 days to commemorate the fight against gender-based violence and talk about issues like rape culture whilst failing to address the main reason why we have a culture of rape to begin with. The reason is that we raise boys not to be accountable. We take away accountability from grown men and we scrutinise and blame women for the most nonsensical of things. Imagine a whole nation irate and scandalized because a woman of drinking age was holding a glass of wine and playing with her husband! Incidentally, that video surfaced in the same week that a teenage girl was found raped and bashed with rocks in Mafeteng but that did not capture the nations’ attention as much as a woman holding a glass of wine did. Thakane Retahbile Shale

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Copyright © 2022. The Post Newspaper. All Rights Reserved