Story of a feminist

When you think that you have known enough, life finds a way to teach you. I will share my lesson with you. The lesson of life from the classroom of experience. The class where I am the only student and I have created clones of me to fit in my class.

My name is Taptuei, the daughter of Kapngátip otherwise The Sharp. I was born to a proper Kalenjin home. Proper in all sense of the word. We have been going to church since I was born. I am told very good things to be proud of. I am told  I was baptized when I was only two weeks old and by Fr. Boyle. Fr. Boyle is a good man. He died like a Marty. He did good things to people, he preached and fed the hungry. Since then, I also wanted to be good. I wanted to be of help even when it was unhealthy for me or even when it meant dying and even when I lost myself. It fit perfectly well in my already existing story of a woman to submit and to serve a man. The silent voice in me translated this to ‘I am useless, incapable and unworthy’ Then it became about trying to prove my worth while expecting failure. Every time situations brought themselves to confirm this to me. I not only saw this in myself but saw it in my surrounding. Is it confirmation bias? – I do not know. I remember one time my cousin who is almost my age told me that women will always be stupid. I remember we were in a river and I was trying to get Chepkina; an insect from the water that bites nipples and make them bigger. He said that no matter the education a woman has, we will never have a woman president. He told me how stupid Martha Karua looked being on the front line and how undeserving. And I got so angry, I wanted to fight, I wanted to change the narrative. I wanted to challenge his view and point. I proved it everyday in school with my good performance, with my public speaking skills. I became the best mathematician in school because women can do mathematics just like the men can. I wanted the big jobs only men had. and as they say…the mind heard it enough times. It saw the ugly images I created of women situations that I wanted to change, the big challenge of Patriarchy, the sounds, the pictures, the narration of a stupid useless woman. Every voice of feminism I met had this same narrative. I did not realize it when they became chains, when they bound me to an helpless position and knew not where I stood. I had been crying wolf and no one was listening any more. I was bound, stuck, trapped , caged, held down and I was drowning in the bottomless pit of darkness the black hole. I screamed on the top of my voice to get the attention of the world, I lifted girls up to be seen, I shouted about violence, I shouted about FGM because it was a pain I related with perfectly perceived or real. I entangled myself with the many voices of feminism, some who were managing directors, mathematicians, engineers, CEOs, Doctors, Professors, mothers and powerful speakers while their voices gave me hope. But the news had another side to show; the Nyeri man being beaten by wives, the woman stripped on the streets, the man with chopped penis and other disturbing stories of angry women and defensive men. That scared me and I woke up from my anger. I woke up to self realization and that is why I am telling you this story.

Feminism is an emotive discussion but today I will tell you the rational bit of it. Feminism is a philosophical view that holds that people should not be discriminated on the basis of their genders. In practice it aims to promote access to equal opportunities for both men and women. It does not aim to ignore their differences but to understand these differences in genders while aiming for synergy. It came as a result of affirmative action when women were indeed considered lesser beings. The society defined roles differently then. I like to give the perspective of my people who had different roles clearly taught to the men and women. They both underwent traditional practices like genital cuts for both genders. Information is powerful drive for the evolution of cultures and slowly we have become different. Gender roles are not the same but then again no one is taught what their role is. We are always talking about the negatives, the what is not yet we do not have a voice of what is. As an empowered woman born from the efforts of feminism, I have accessed education, I can speak for myself, I can choose to cook and not to. I surround myself with civilized men who do not treat me just as a woman but above all as a human. I did not realize the helplessness these efforts created in me. I had an advantage to getting access to university education because the women had a lower pass mark. I was praised for beating men in exams. I was given opportunities while the boys were told how they were being defeated by a woman and the women rep position to help women balance the gender imbalance. It fed my anger and I strive higher. I became reliant on this and forgot that men were humans too. It is the problem feminism faces today. It is a problem of a beneficiary who does not understand the principle. It is an entitlement problem. brecel
Picture by Radianteyepictures:
Every feminist has a story that made them who they are. What is your story?

    1. Thank you for the feedback Emkich. I hope we are able to change the narrative of feminism from competition between the two genders to equity. That is my inspiration.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement my friend. You know me too well and especially my views on gender and rights. The discussions we held have contributed greatly in shaping my thoughts. Let us all participate in small ways starting with the people around us.

  1. I totally relate to all these gender relation experience you have put across! I think our society is characterized by ignorance. Well, we need education especially on gender equity.

    1. I am so glad there are so many ladies who look at this. It is a fight we all need to engage in as a society and educate both the male and female members of our society.

  2. Great article. I especially found this bit insightful: It is the problem feminism faces today. It is a problem of a beneficiary who does not understand the principle. It is an entitlement problem.
    I just wish you would have delved into this a little more at the end. I mean to expound on it further and demonstrate how sometimes the true noble intentions of feminism are misunderstood by both men and women.
    But all in all, great piece…

    1. Adungósi, thank you for the feedback. My writing is deeply motivated by the psychological effects the movement has had. My previous blog tried to bring this out but it didn’t speak as well as I wished. I therefore chose to give more relatable aspects of my thoughts on feminism in small bits. When I listen to the morning show on radio, I see the deeper cry in women. I have been a victim too where I imagine that I am entitled and men should do things for me. That the world owes me because I am a woman. Everyone encourages this, look at the whole sponsor mentality. It is really hard for a person to notice how crazy this view is because it is encouraged and practiced everywhere. However , the children get to suffer. The balance is slowly tilting and the genders are in continuous conflict. I will sure bring these aspects up in other blogs as I write more about the subject.
      Thank you

  3. Wrong!!!
    “Feminism is a philosophical view that holds that people* should not be discriminated on the basis of their genders”.
    Replace People* with Women**.
    Feminism, modern day feminism, basically says that lets not discriminate women, lets not criticise them, lets not even hold them accountable. Lets not demand so much from them, lets exalt them, lets purify them, lets exagerate them and most inportantly lets empower them in the most bias way possible.

    1. Abel, I agree the practice and those who have been more loud about feminism may have presented what you describe. However, it is important to note that the principle does not necessarily have to be lost in the practice. I think that while we empowered women in the name of feminism, we did not educate them on the responsibility. We each day make them helpless, when you choose to pay a bill because she is a woman, when we approve the women rep position, when we make their grades higher because they are girls. What we are telling them is not only that they are helpless but they have to be protected. I think we should teach our children equity, to understand roles and basically how to apply knowledge in real life. The feminism call is not only for women but for all genders to stand up against discrimination of any gender

  4. Nice article. Like Adungo’si registered before me… I think I have the same thought, that you should have delved more into why feminism has forgotten the boy child and also tend to suppress men. Like you (the feminist) said “I became reliant on this and forgot that men were humans too.” Thanks though for realizing what many feminists have forgotten.

  5. “Feminism is a philosophical view that holds that people should not be discriminated on the basis of their genders”—What of bills and security? When you’re out on a date do you go dutch or wait for the man to pay the bill?
    “In practice it aims to promote access to equal opportunities for both men and women”…Tell me even one single job that a woman is not allowed to apply for. Excluding sperm donor.
    “I can choose to cook and not to.” Yes you can. Can a man choose to pay bills or not? He will be branded a cheapskate, broke ass etc
    Let’s face reality here. Women already have equity. What women are looking for under the guise of feminism is favor. Women feel that since the world ‘has changed’ therefore they too need to change. What majority of women do not realize is that the world has ‘has changed’ for men too.
    That woman rep and gender rule is just garbage. Martha Karua did not need the rule to become an MP, neither did Esther Passaris need that rule for Adopt A Light. There are several women who went out there in a ‘man infested world’ and got what they wanted without hiding behind feminism
    The only thing that sets the difference between the two is what’s between their legs and at times the chest area.
    I will say this again. Women already have equity. What women want favors.

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