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It is Time for Gender Deconstructionism

I was a young boy growing up in the village far deep into the heart of Kenya when I first heard narratives of gender equality and empowerment of women. I heard of Beijing and the chills of it. Men in our village did not seem amused by the Beijing thing! I was curious then. The women who were getting empowered and were questioning submissiveness were labeled “big headed and ungovernable” – or simply the Beijing women. They were to be “feared” and rejected; not to be married or given in marriage. That narrative was loud enough to be heard by a lad that I was. But I never got to know why and understand how. I grew up with few questions lodged in my mind and the school space and what we were being thought never created a platform to ask these questions. After all, who were my teachers? the same villagers! 

Many years have gone by, many things have since happened, few more things have changed. But a lot remains the same. Something must have been done right; something must have not been done right or not done at all. After all, how and why this sameness? Why are we talking and investing and thinking and engaging and empowering yet many things remain as they were many years ago? What are we not doing right? 

It is of fundamental importance that gender perspective should be incorporated into all spheres of life in order to have a positive effect on the lives of women and girls but the decisive outcomes of these efforts need to be critically assessed. While the policies, approaches and strategies towards the empowerment of women are noble and well meaning, there is a need to identify discord and gaps, with a view to taking note of the ultimate impact these interventions have had on the lives of women.

After growing up, I had to figure out why men in our village were so scared of empowered women and why Beijing came with a scare. But we are still haggling about whether or not and why and how we need to have women in Kenya's parliament, for example. I am sure I am tired. I do not wish to keep going back to village again and again to talk about empowerment of women. I should instead go back to that village and talk to empowered women. The topic should and must change at some point. For this to happen, something needs to be done differently. I do not know what exactly it is. I am not able to guess but in this age and time all that surrounds us in the world points at only one reality and that reality is revolution. 

A revolution happens when convention is questioned, protocol is broken and the bureaucrat is reminded in a hard way that things cannot simply be the same; that we can no longer be doing things this way; that there can be another way and that that way need not be ordinary and in line with tradition. And the philosophy that seems to make sense to me now is “deconstructionism.” We need to deconstruct gender; deconstruct feminism and femininity; deconstruct women; deconstruct gender mainstreaming and consciously enter into the realm of philosophy that will allow us to use different concepts and constructs not only to describe to name but also to articulate to pursue something different a little more differently. This is beyond the gender deconstruction that we know; our focus should operate at a level far higher than deconstruction of the gender roles and the social construction that assign and distribute masculinity and femininity. 
It is Time for Gender Deconstructionism It is Time for Gender Deconstructionism  Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on April 18, 2017 Rating: 5

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