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You dehumanize your wives
You beat them
Some of you force yourselves on them
A man can’t rape his wife, can he?
You humiliate her with your mistresses
Mock her devotion with your other children
Endanger her life with the diseases you bring home
Marry, impregnate, abandon at will
Love is a word that drops from your lips
Poisoned
But I’m high strung if I talk about it
I’m unstable if I call out your cowardice
Feminists are evil, right?
But you’re manipulative and controlling
Selfish beyond belief
Emotionally underdeveloped
Spiritually vacant
Morally retarded
Spirit killers
Enemies of life
Thieves of potential
Prison wardens in disguise
Beta men pretending to be alphas
Whatever the hell that means
Broken children emulating broken fathers
That’s not evil
The problem is the women
The same ones who you claim should tell you what to do
The same ones you wouldn’t deign to listen to
Your gods are watching you
All of them
Old and new
There will be a reckoning

The Wrath of God

The Wrath of God is coming you say,
Perhaps God is Gay?
To avenge the chosen, God will be back,
What if God is Black?
To crush the wicked and tame the wild,
Perhaps God is a Child?
To bring peace and save man,
What if God is a Woman?
God can do this because God is able,
Perhaps God is Disabled?
Space in your heart to God you grant,
Does that make God an Immigrant?
What if this God is what you say?
I really hope  not.
Because if we’re ALL created in “his” image
Then we’re royally fucked.

Domestic Conflict

And then the day came
When I refused my lover sex
There was no trouble
I wasn’t angry with him
No be palava vex
Life was just its normal turbulent self
And I simply did not feel like it
His hints I gently disapproved
When he cajoled, I stayed unmoved
And when he asked
I straight up said no
Again and again
And again and again
And it got really complex
I could have given in
Put the pussy on him
Faking ecstasy is easier than most realize
All I have to do is close my eyes
It would have made him happy
Preserved the harmony
But would it have been truth?
Does truth matter anymore?
Even when it hurts?
Especially when it hurts?
He was confused
Frustrated, angry even
I was confused
Frustrated, angry even
And turbulent life around us made it no easier
And still I said no
Because I didn’t want to
And it wasn’t his fault
He wanted something
Something our decision to be with each other gives him access to
I was exercising something
Something my existence on this planet gives me a right to
Something that no one can
Or should try to take away from me
Or him,
Or you for that matter
It is your prerogative
To not have sex when you don’t want to
To have all the sex you can
When you want to
If you can find a willing partner to safely do it with
And if the complexities of this dynamic
Are too much for you to navigate
If you can’t respect the spaces people carve out for themselves
If you can’t respect the spaces your own being demands that you create for yourself
Then you probably shouldn’t be having sex too

 

Review: The Mirror and Nine Other Stories by Susan Nkwentie Nde

 Heather Snell continues our summer voyage into children’s literature.

AiW Guest: Heather Snell

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The Mirror and Nine Other Stories is a product of Langaa, a press with offices in Bamenda and Buea. As Langaa indicates on their website, access to publishing is a problem for African writers. Distribution is an even bigger problem: Langaa partners with the African Books Collective, Michigan State University Press, and Amazon to distribute African stories, but due to high printing costs Langaa must operate on a print-on-demand-only basis.

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Why “Smart” Men Still Hold On To Sexism – 5 explanations

1. Moral Cowardice
2. Lack of Empathy
3. A Lack of Experience With Gender Based Dehumanization
4. Myth of A Meritocracy Informs A Superior Male Complex
5. Unwillingness To Give Up Advantageous Superior Social Position

Asaase Yaa Mma

I might be the only person not impressed by "the sexist but charming" Christopher Hitchens. I might be the only person not impressed by “the sexist but charming” Christopher Hitchens.

“Why are smart men still sexist?” The question itself is a bad one. Why do we presume smarter people possess better ethics? Well, it is because we are ableist. Ableism is the systematic maltreatment and disenfranchisement of people with disabilities. One’s moral code has much to do with their socialization and their integrity, and little to do with their intellectual capacity. You and I could be brilliant and evil, or we could be not-so-brilliant and kind hearted. Nonetheless, societal attitudes teach us to possess contempt for intellectually disabled persons. So much so that we presume those with high intellectual capacities to be superior.

If a man reinforces the societal idea that women are inferior to men in anyway, we should refrain from attacking his intellect and aptly scrutinize his moral code. Men are sexist, not because…

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Finding Epie will not fix our rape culture problem

I was about  20 years old and in my final year of university when I was first sexually assaulted by an adult man.

I didn’t resist.

Don’t get me wrong I was in shock that this was happening to me. ME of all people. Like what?! Which motherfucker??! I was enraged, livid, murderous. He knew me. Knew my parents. Knew my family. Knew I was the kind of girl who could speak for herself. I knew his wife, his children. That didn’t stop him. I daresay THAT was why he targeted me.

And I didn’t resist.

Why, you may ask?  Because what I felt at that moment as he slid his hands up my thigh, as he pushed aside my panties, what I felt was resignation. Resignation and a bone deep tiredness born of disappointment, disillusionment and disgust. That moment was a culmination of what I had always known about my community but had hoped would be something I was wrong about.

As a girl growing up in Cameroonian society, you understand pretty quickly that you are not yours. Yes, you are you but you are not yours. You are there for men (regardless of their relationship to you) to control, to look at, comment on, maybe admire…or grope, insult, dominate and eventually own, because that is what marriage (still the highest achievement women can have in our society) is in our communities. Ownership. Don’t believe me? Look at the disproportionate praise and admiration men who do not treat their wives like trash get. Never mind that being married to someone should mean you place that person’s welfare as high as your own.

I was 10 the first time I was catcalled. I was walking up Clerk’s Quarters road in Buea trying to catch a taxi to GRA where we lived. A truck full of soldiers drove by to the camp at Long Street and the whistles erupted almost immediately. I ignored them. Realizing they would get no response from me, one of them called out:

Tu te prends pour qui? Avec tes grosses fesses la, espece de wolowos.

As I moved into my teens and developed as a woman, it became worse. It was almost as if my developing body was an invitation. I don’t need to give too many examples. Any Cameroonian woman (or African woman, or woman for that matter) can tell you what “worse” means. Worse is at home, at school, at work, on the streets, on the farms, in the markets. Worse is normal. Worse is expected. Worse is defended.

Worse is quite literally life. Your value as a woman in this society hinges on how well you can deal with worse. Your value hinges on if and how well you can love worse, marry worse, understand worse, make space for worse, forgive worse, turn a blind eye to worse. It’s why we praise our parents and grandparents relationships even though we KNOW the fuckshit the women almost always had to put up with.

This is the culture in which we live, move and have our beings. A culture where you as a woman are not safe from any man, regardless of his relationship to you. A culture where you are expected to take precautions to ward against a danger even though you don’t know which face that danger will be wearing when you finally meet it. A culture where you will ultimately get blamed and disparaged for other people’s decisions because you had the effrontery to become their victim.

I am tired.

I have written abut our communities and our messed up approach to sexuality Here, Here and Here.

 

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Défi Lancé 

Here’s the deal

Let me help you make your choice

Here’s how I feel

Listen to my voice

You can let me be me

You can let me be free

You can give me my space

You can join in my race

I have no qualms with you

Going off to find things to do

I just won’t be your mule 

My life is mine to rule

But if you purport to lead

If you want to be the hand that feeds

If you want me to submit

If you want to play the beat

You better be exemplar 

A drummer like no other

You better be the mighty iroko that never falters

Your game always on

Your lead never wrong

Your patience long 

Your vision strong 

Or you can just let me be free

Let me be me

Let me have my space

Let me run my race