Some things are better left unsaid

It’s an old saying, so perhaps that’s why some people are oblivious to it and go on to make outrageous statements. I’m sure you’ve read about John McEnroe’s remarks basically rubbishing Serena Williams’ achievements.

It’s an old saying, so perhaps that’s why some people are oblivious to it and go on to make outrageous statements. I’m sure you’ve read about John McEnroe’s remarks basically rubbishing Serena Williams’ achievements.

Scores of young girls and indeed women look up to Serena with good reason. She and her sister Venus have dominated Women’s Tennis for over 20 years and dismissing their accomplishments in any way is really uncalled for. It’s one thing to have preferences when it comes to competitive Sports.

 

There are men who closely watch Female Sports Personalities and vice versa. That’s Freedom of Choice. What is not okay is tearing other people down. In 2017, we can surely be respectful regarding what we say to and about each other.

 

I know Serena is confident not just in her skin, which again some people have repeatedly felt a need to comment about, but in her game too but you have to wonder whether other women who may not be as confident or successful don’t second-guess themselves, thinking that every time they turn up for a competitive event, the McEnroes of this world are not taking them seriously.

 

Reminds me of the decade-long labour and childbirth debate where some argue that men cannot handle a pregnancy for nine months, let alone labour and delivery. In my opinion, it’s a waste of breath. God created us different and assigned specific roles to specific genders and we should leave it at that.

The only times I have indulged in this back-and-forth is when I feel women are being treated unfairly. Case in point: Workplaces where a woman can easily lose her job because of pregnancy complications that may impact her performance or lead to her taking more days off than her male colleagues who’re then quick to invoke the “Oh these women should just stay home and raise children…”

In such cases, I will jump to said woman’s defense. These men don’t know a thing about trying to bring a life into this world but that’s that. If you’re a man and have the kind of strength Samson did, power to you. If you don’t and the women in your life do all the heavy lifting, you shouldn’t be disrespected either.

The other John in the news this week is Tanzania’s President Magufuli. I’m sure you’ve heard his stance on kicking teen mothers out of school. It’s a shame that a man who has worked so hard to fight corruption, purge the government payroll of ghost workers and ensure that qualified people hold the right jobs is denying these young girls a second chance.

Had his argument been that young mothers need special institutions that allow them flexibility to tend to their babies or that these girls need to be shielded from the stigma they often face once they return to the regular school environment, we wouldn’t even be talking about this.

Instead, he too is dismissive and acts like the money that funds their education is straight out of his pocket. He has a daughter and some day, might get a granddaughter or two and he better hope that none of them are ever denied permission “to go and breastfeed.”

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