Sunday, February 11


Daniel Nkado: We Should All Be Masculinists

by Daniel Nkado

The first time I was invited to a picnic, I was worried.

Not generally about the outdoor evening event, because I was very excited to be meeting with friends, both old and new.

Instead I was worried about what to wear. I wanted to wear something that I could safely dance with anyone in, and not be perceived as a threat.

I knew that because I am male, I would have to go the extra mile to prove my harmlessness at all times. I see the way law enforcement officers harass men on a daily and I ask myself if there is something criminal about being a man. 

I was worried, too, that if I looked too feminine, I would have no one to dance with in the first place.

I really wanted to wear my shiny lip gloss and my snug blue top and skimpy white shorts, but I decided not to.

I wore a very long, very religious, and very ugly sweatshirt instead, my lips bare and crackly under the harmattan cold.

A woman can wear anything to anywhere without her femininity or harmlessness being questioned.

They can even wear an agbada and still be called hot!

It is sadly not the case with men.

Masculinity has become a small, brittle shell that must be handled with extreme care, else it falls and breaks and becomes ruined.

I wish I had not worn that ugly sweatshirt that day.

Had I then the confidence I have now to be myself, my friends would have benefited even more from my presence.

Because I would have been more comfortable and more fully and truly myself.

I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my shade of masculinity.

And I want to be respected in all my maleness.

Because I deserve to be.

I like romance and nature and science and am happiest when having a good argument about ideas.

I don't like rap music and would love to sing and dance to my Lady Gaga and Katy Perry anytime and anywhere without anyone calling me names.

It's nice to be complimented by both men and women (although I have to be honest and say that I prefer the compliments of stylish men).

And more importantly, to be able to say this without anyone looking shocked and calling me gay.

Chimamanda said it first and nobody called her lesbian. That's one of the powers of being a woman.

We teach boys to bend themselves, to turn themselves into what they are not.

We say to boys, you can have ambition, but you have to make money first.

You should aim to be happy, but only after you have made money.

Otherwise, you would scare away the women.

Because I am male, I am expected to aspire to wealth. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that material success is the most important.

Now success, as defined by a mansion and big cars and a fat bank account, can be a source of joy and comfort but why do we teach boys to aspire to wealth and we don’t teach girls the same?

We raise boys to see each other as competitors, not for love or passion or talent, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of women.

Why go to the gym, all men get asked. "Oga, forget that thing and go make money first. No woman will choose six packs over six cars."

Do you still wonder now why we have so many rich men walking around pregnant, stepping closer and closer to a heart disease or diabetes with each passing day.

We teach boys that they cannot be sensitive beings in the way that girls are.

We teach boys pretense.

“Don't cry. Man up! Be a man!”

We make them feel as though being born male has eroded away their ability to feel pain.

And so, boys grow up to be men who cannot say they are afraid.

They grow up to be men who silence themselves, who cannot be emotional.

They grow up to be men who cannot say what they truly think.

And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to boys— they grow up to be men who have turned pretense into an art form.

Masculinism: a movement that advocates for the rights, equality and dignity of the male sex in an egalitarian framework.

My great-grandfather, from stories I’ve heard, was a masculinist.

He'd quit his well-paying job as a tax collector to travel back home and become the potter he always wanted to be.

He refused to be dictated by society how he should live and lived the way he agreed with himself.

Of course he did not know this word: masculinist, but that does not mean he was not one.

My own definition of a masculinist is a man or a woman who believes that simply having a penis does not solve any of the numerous problems men face in our society today.

A person who has looked deeply and seen that men, just like women, are seriously harmed by the social, political and economic dictates of society, and because of that no gender's issues should take precedence over the other.

The greatest masculinist I know is my dear mom; a strong, proud woman who believed that nobody, not man nor woman, is immune to difficulties in life.

Once, during an argument, I asked a friend who had claimed that women have it worse to mention his most heartfelt instance.

And, as expected, he mentioned the gender pay gap.

When I told him about a data that reported 94% of all workplace fatalities to be men, he kept mute.

Both traditional and feminist systems of thought and policy have, in various ways, diminished the rights, equality and dignity of men and boys and we must do better to fix it.

It is now time we moved away from the feminist model of male = oppressor and female = victim, and move toward a more comprehensive and less misandrist worldview of oppressor = male or female and victim = male or female.

Yes, we must!


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