Women Must Never Stop Demanding The Society They Want By Cheryl Roberts0

7 Mar

Calling out men and privileged women who strangle women’s advancement and don’t support women’s struggles is an act of resistance, by women of critical consciousness, to being controlled and dominated by patriarchy, male hegemony and race and gender privilege. Women have to constantly be on guard to protect their beings from those in society who are determined to work against and keep women down.
In our South African society, demanding a revolutionary move out of a patriarchal and privileged society, is resilience that every woman must demonstrate. However, privileged and elite women have shown their selfishness and individual styles in protecting their personal interests first and always, without giving much vocal support to women’s battles, especially, black and working class women.
Just because you are a woman means that existing and surviving, on your woman’s terms and for your woman’s being, in a male-dominated, patriarchal society, you must be consistently fierce, strong and battle conscious. At no time can we take our eye off the ball; to do this allows our women’s beings to be controlled and dominated by all the vicious mechanisms which prop up and maintain patriarchy and male hegemony.
Women’s struggles the world over inspire and motivate women’s struggles in all countries battling and contesting patriarchy, male hegemony and masculinity as a society’s supremacy. This International Women’s Day, women will again support and ‘be there for each other and for sisterhood’, some conscious and feminist men will also be in the women’s struggle.
In South Africa, women’s voices are out there, not only contesting and challenging but also demanding the society we want to create and live in. Of particular significance, is the powerful momentum of young women’s voices and activism on the front line, especially those of student struggles.
It’s not only a phenomenal battle, but a daily struggle, contesting and challenging patriarchy and male domination of society and women’s lives. Some support here and there, together with national policies which prohibit domination of women, is not enough.
Besides being aware of men’s control of our lives we also have to be on guard and call out those women, especially elite, middle class and professional women of all colours, who suffocate and strangle women when they have attained positions of power.
We must not be afraid to acknowledge that women with power are not necessarily supporters of ‘the sisterhood and women’s struggles’. In South Africa, we see when women attain power, they waste no time in embracing dominant male behavior and control and work relentlessly at keeping ‘women down’ instead of supporting women.
Class, race and colour must never be dismissed in women’s struggles and activism. We also can’t rely on the privileged women in society to lead struggles, especially battles those of working class women. In times of contestation and challenge, when warriors must battle patriarchy and male hegemony, those women with some power and middle class and elite status, will stay in the background; their voices will be silent and won’t be out there chorusing with struggling women. But when the battles emerge as victories for women, it’s the elite, professional and middle class that will mostly benefit from the gains.

No more must we support men who don’t support women’s struggles and that also goes for men in the anti-apartheid struggle. Women have sacrificed too much and given their lives for freedom in their lifetime only to see and know, that when freedom is supposedly won, it’s the men (of all colours), who get to dominate and control.
In our activism we must fiercely guard our women’s voice! This means not entertaining and supporting male domination of committees, of talking panels at conferences, events, community meetings and national and international representation. A gender perspective must lead our vision and at all times and we must never apologise for asking, ’where are the women?’ Should we fail to do this, we will be giving men free reign to control the discourse and discussion with women left out.
And when we never forget to mention the women, it must not be seen that we are men-haters. What we hate is how women’s lives and bodies are controlled by a male-dominated society!
When we aim to disrupt all that engineers suffocation and breaking down of women, we must activate struggles on a terrain of intersectionality; this because all women’s struggles in society are linked, whether its class, colour, gender, sexuality, race.
Women’s struggles can never wait for men to speak out for women and neither can the struggles of black and working class women be reliant of the voices of privileged women. It really is about women’s struggles being authentically and organically located in the trenches led by women with a critical consciousness, by women not afraid of contesting and losing their privilege and by women who would never allow power to rule their beings. It really is about black and working class being on their own, fiercely contesting and challenging for the society they demand to live in.IMG_2581

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