I happened to read the following writing from a speaker I know and respect and it reads thus:
“Men, Guys, Brothers, and Boys, let us get one thing straight here. Proposing a woman/lady/girl for love is NOT your entitlement. Please repeat after me: it is NOT your entitlement. So when you do it, how you go about it must be governed by utmost respect for the person you are intending to propose. And remember she has every right to reject it from the onset without giving you even a second chance. Women are NOT our subjects, they are not part of the properties we own.”
I am fully aligning myself with the above sentiment by the speaker, especially in the era we find ourselves in as a society where abuse against women and girls and children, in general, is very scary.
Firstly, I am happy that in his opening, the speaker addresses all men including boys. This is because when the boys are ignored in such conversations, we will find ourselves going in circles trying to solve one issue over generations.
“Proposing a woman/lady/girl for love is NOT your entitlement” – a very strong and direct message from one man to other men. This is very sad because the element of entitlement by men in relationships seem to be the major contributing factor in the abuse of women and girls. Believe it or not, it begins when a boy thinks it is the responsibility of her sister to cook and wash dishes. And we ask ourselves, where a boy child learns such behavior.
As a trained former educator (we used to be called teachers back then) I understand that children also learn through observation. So what they observe happening repeatedly in their environment is interpreted in their minds as the way of life – by this I am trying to make a point that if a boy child all he sees is his mother cooking, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, and doing the laundry, over a period of time, this will be recorded and interpreted in his mind that his sister, his girlfriend and his wife or female helper should do the same because he was never exposed to an environment where a man (father, big brother or uncle) is cooking, washing the dishes, cleaning the house and/or doing the laundry.
This means there is still so much to be done – the road is still long ahead of us in dealing with these stereotypes.
The speaker puts it very clear that proposing to a woman or girl must be governed by utmost respect. And I am reminded of what Apostle Paul says in his epistle to the church in Ephesus where he outlines the meaning of Ephesians 5:21 “And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” in both men and women perspective. In essence, Apostle Paul talks to men about love and care toward women and the two (love and care) cannot be practical without respect.
In the end, the speaker draws a conclusion that women and girls have a right to REJECT a man’s proposal. It is at this stage where I felt like we can kindly extend this conversation to women and girls as well.
I fully agree that women and girls have a right to reject, meaning, a woman or a girl may say NO with reasons or just say NO without giving any reasons. One thing for sure REJECTION is never pleasant to anyone. And to some people rejection may lead to a number of things. For the purpose of what we talking about, to some men rejection may degrade their self-esteem ( how they view themselves), to some men rejection may cause anger and bitterness and to some men, rejection may have long-term consequences where men may end up being afraid to take the next step and move on with life i.r.t. relationships matters.
I am not raising these factors so that women or girls should feel pity for men, NO, instead, my plea to a woman or a girl, who finds herself having to reject a love or marriage proposal from a man, would be, please do it with care, do the rejection with this in mind: ” he is human and he can feel the emotional pain “. The rejection must be done such that there is still hope for this man tomorrow. The rejection must be done such that this man still has respect for women in his journey of life. The rejection must not be done in a manner that shuts the man’s world down.
Working together as humanity, respecting and valuing one another will help us to have a peaceful society. How we treat each other, irrespective of our background, race, ideologies, and affiliations, will determine if we win or lose the social and relationship battles we are faced with. There must be love and respect amongst us all, both men and women.
Blessings to you all.
From Sipho Jeke. God’s blessings to you all.