Making patriarchy obsolete
There is a new kind of woman - the Power-Woman. But there is another dynamic about this kind of Rwandan woman; most of them are single. I wondered to myself whether Rwandan men are scared of them or whether this a global issue?
An American lady assured me that even in the States women face the same problem; as women have become more emancipated and educated they delay marriage until later in life and in the process find it harder and harder to find a partner.
I am not married myself and because I am a man I often hear the refrain of “there’s no rush, men can conceive anytime, no need to rush” but if you walk into any major corporation in Kigali you can hear the deafening ticking of hundreds of biological clocks.
The housewife is a thing of the past; the basic cost of living means that one person is not capable of providing for everything in this modern world. But some men want a very fine balance; a woman who can contribute but not one who earns more than them.
I asked my friends whether they date a woman who earns more than them and they were unanimous “NO WAY!” and these are modern “forward thinking” men, not the chauvinists of old. Both modern men and women are self-sufficient, so marriage is like trying to weld two flying planes together mid-flight.
Money is power and in every relationship money is the biggest issue; a friend of mine was shocked to see his wife’s tax form and was angry that she had lied about her earnings.
She was earning twice what he earned but she had lied to protect his ego; he should have been proud but instead he yelled “she’s been looking down on me the whole time!”
Men in this modern world are in a dilemma, they don’t know where they stand; they see their role in society changing as women move from being care providers to resource providers.
Women on the other hand are now expected to fulfil their roles as mothers as well as 9 to 5 jobs.
However, the modern single, “miss independent” loves these challenges because, to her, the modern and the traditional still live side by side.
A woman doctor still takes pride in how many cows she can get for her father in dowry. I was once in a gift shop and saw a box with the words “What do you give a woman who has everything” and the box was empty, the joke being she has everything so nothing you give her will suffice.
Sadly there is a sense of inadequacy modern men feel towards modern women; in the West women don’t even need men for children and can walk into a sperm bank and withdraw a deposit.
Men need to feel useful and women need to feel appreciated and fulfilled; so there is this game we play of avoiding the issues.
Modern women feel a sense of entitlement; they look around and wonder what they have done wrong to be single; the previous generation had to prioritise and sacrifice but this generation was told “You can have it all.”
Modern women congregate in packs and this often multiplies the problem; while they get support and empathy from their lady friends, they also drive away chance of potential mates as their friends destroy any man who even tries to approach them.
“He’s not good enough for you; you can do so much better”, is their refrain .They fear being left behind or their friends being happy.
I speak from experience as women my age are often too cynical to fall in love; they have built up an image of perfection of their ideal man and when a nice caring man comes along they can’t help but be disappointed.
“You’re just like the rest” is the constant loop but Kigali is like a conveyor belt with new young beautiful girls appearing hourly. And men also have their own faults; they think that they can give minimal effort for maximum reward.
It’s all a game we have to play; it’s not about being fake but there must a positive version of yourself you should present and there should be a slight distance to maintain curiosity and enough intimacy to keep the bond.
When one looks at our previous generations there was an innate respect and bond of love but the roles were defined and we need that today.