Yesterday, I mentioned that I started writing in my last year of high school to help make sense of the world around me. One of the first issues I wanted to write about was sexism. I wanted to take a different approach though. I was under the impression that the “girl child” empowerment side of the conversation had been overemphasized. That the “boy child” had been neglected in our fight for women’s rights. In the “war of the sexes”, I was on the side of the male.
I grew up with three older brothers. I did have an elder sister, but we were nine years apart so we didn’t really get to spend that much time together while we were growing up. I ended up being mostly influenced by my brothers. Also, I went to all girls’ schools since I was 11 and this just served to further cement my dislike for the female gender in general. I guess there was also an aspect of rebellion in me that effected my preference for boys over girls. In nursery school (kindergarten) my first best friend was a boy named Njuguna. It started on my first day at school. I joined class about a day or two late so by the time I came, my other classmates had already gotten to know each other. When I walked into class on that first day, everyone was hurdled around a table talking, or playing a game. As I approached the table, Njuguna turned around and saw me. He immediately grabbed a piece of candy from the table and handed it to me. Thus our best-friendship began.
After nursery school, we ended up going to the same primary school. I was so glad when I saw him walk into my standard one classroom. Over the next few days, we would always go on breaks together. As soon as the bell rang, we would meet at the door, hold hands and walk out together to go play. On the third day, my class teacher called me aside as soon as we started walking out. She asked Njuguna to go on without me as she wanted to talk to me privately. “In primary school, girls don’t hold hands with boys”. I would remember this warning one day and then completely forget it the next. The teacher had to repeat it several times before it finally sunk in. I don’t really remember hanging out with Njuguna much after that. I think he transferred to another school soon after and I never saw him again. Between you and me, I don’t know if his name really was Njuguna. I’ve just been telling that story for so long and using that name that I’ve kind of just stuck to it. If I ever do find him, I bet his name will be something completely different…
Anyway, in the last few years, becoming an adult and living in the real world has taught me that my theory was completely flawed. I don’t really want to get into why I believe that the issues facing the girl child have not been emphasized enough, (I’ll do that in subsequent posts), but I have become much more aware of the fact. This post is just me coming out as a feminist. I still need to explore what that really means for/to me and I plan to write a lot as I do that. I also welcome anyone reading this to lend their voice too. I think it is extremely important that these conversations be had, if we are ever going to find solutions to the gender issues in the world right now.