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Women should be left to make choices

Saturday January 18 2020

womanhood

I joined a gym last week and there is a man every day, who is not a fitness trainer, lecturing me on what the correct form should be. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOAN THATIAH
By JOAN THATIAH
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I came across what has to be the most outrageous convention dubbed 'Make Women Great Again'.

The convention is set to take place in May in Orlando, Florida, USA. This $1,999 (Ksh201,998) - (there's a sale for $999) - per ticket event will be all male-led and promises to show women how to be ideal and ultimate wives.

The all-male guest speakers at the event will be teaching women how to get fit; how to have unlimited babies - and drumrolls please... how to reject unhealthy, militant feminism. In their words, it's set to be the mansplaining event of the century.

Everything about this event is wrong. My first thought as I scrolled through their website was 'I wonder why these men are bothered with how women present femininity when the man the world over is already struggling with so much. Why don't they start there?'

I will not even dwell on the mansplaining because for the average Kenyan woman, it is her everyday life.

There is always a man around the corner ready to explain life, including womanhood to her in a condescending way.

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ASSUMPTIONS

I joined a gym last week (New Year resolutions and all) and there is a man every day, who is not a fitness trainer, lecturing me on what the correct form should be.

What bothers me about the male-led women convention even more than the fact that a group of men who have no experience of womanhood whatsoever, expect women to pay big bucks so they can learn how to be ahem, women.

It's the assumption that women want to be feminine, or they want their bodies to be leered at, or that they want to have a house full of babies.

I spoke to a string of men not too long ago while researching on vasectomy and the male contraception pill.

I spoke to this married father of four who told me that he would not consider vasectomy, not because he intends to have more children but because he has peace of mind knowing that he can make a woman pregnant. Fair enough.

I imagine a man with this mindset than thinking that because the woman is the one that gets pregnant, then she must surely desire to be pregnant and to have 'limitless' children, whatever that means.

CHOICE

These retrogressive notions of femininity where women are being 'taught' how to be fit not because it is healthy but because they should be this way so that men can find them attractive should be left in 2019.

These notions are punctuated with the word 'should' belong to days gone by.

What happened to freedom of choice? How about we leave women to decide on when to get pregnant or get married without putting undue pressure and expectation?

There should be a convention on ensuring that women are aware of all choices available to them when they make life decisions.

A conference teaching women to make decisions on what is good for them and not the ones everyone expects they 'should' make.

Joan is the author of the book Things I Will Tell My Daughter

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