Chauvinism: an attitude that the members of your own sex are always better than those of the opposite sex.
Chivalry: an honorable and polite way of behaving especially toward women.
Ok, So I had to write this post because it is something that bothered me while I was in Ghana. I am a “feminist” and I know that to many that sounds like a dirty word that shouldn’t be used, but it’s not. I was a feminist before I even knew that there was an actual word for it. When I say I am a feminist, I say that I believe in equal rights for both men and women. I am not saying that we are the same because we are obviously not. But just because men and women are different does not mean that one is better than the other. So it is safe to say that I was surprised to find that some men perceived me as being too ‘masculine’ by wanting to achieve the same things they did. I have never in my life seen myself to be competing with men on any level. I am only competing with myself to be better than the person I was yesterday. But I guess my eagerness to make the most out of my life made some uncomfortable?
So experiences like this caused me to do my own little research within my research to know, are Ghanaian men really chauvinists?
Well what I found out is that some people were raised in a certain traditional way which caused them to view women a certain way. Others have certain experiences with women which caused them to view women a certain way. A lot of men feel the pressure of society to be a certain way and so do women. But what if we were allowed to be ourselves?
But most importantly I found out that most Ghanaian men I met aren’t chauvinists, and they might not want to admit but they are probably feminists. Another thing is that men shouldn’t confuse chivalry with chauvinism. The fact that you open the door for me doesn’t mean that I am too weak to do it myself, the fact that you paid for my meal doesn’t mean I can’t pay for myself, the fact that you try to protect me doesn’t mean I can’t protect myself (well in my case I do need the protection of someone bigger lol) but the point is even if I could do all these things myself, I love that you are willing to do them for me and I respect you for it but even if you didn’t do them I would still respect you as a person. And all I ask is that you do the same in return. Don’t tell me to stop learning so much because I am a woman, don’t tell me not to argue with you because I am a woman, don’t tell me all the things you don’t want me to do because I am a woman. Just allow me to be me, as I allow you to be you.
So, my conclusion: All Ghanaian men are not chauvinists but we can all together (men and women) help change the minds of those that are. Let’s treat each other with the love and respect that we expect from others.
Hugs and kisses,