Where is the man?

After seeing too many of these scenes on my way back to Accra from Cape Coast, I couldn't help wondering where the man is? I'm definitely not setting this up for the anti-male feminists among you to rant and rave. I need well-thought-through answers. What makes it so comfortable for the Ghanaian Male to think it is ok to abandon his family or alternatively stay at home but just be an irresponsible liability? Wood Fetcher

Comments

Nana said…
NK, I am hurt that you have succumbed to portraying feminists as women who rant and rave...and by implication unable to give well thought out answers. At the moment I feel incapable/reluctant to give a well thought out answer
Nana, I'm sorry if I didn't put it right but I know the kind of feminist you are and it is the kind of Feminist I respect and appreciate. Secondly I don't think only women are feminists. I consider myself a feminist. I also know another type who are just anti-male and prejudiced.
Geez Nana Kofi, feminists are not anti-male at all. Some may be just a little more impatient with the whims of men (women have whims too) and a little more passionate; but anti male? rant and rave? I feel its a lost cause when I hear men who I think should be more compassionate brush feminism aside this way. You make 'feminist' sound almost as hateful as 'racist'! Even though I'm upset too I will try to answer.
I went to my village for my grandmothers funeral for the first time 2 years ago and decided to go to the farm with some of them. It was a 4mile walk in and out(8 miles in total) Phew! And both on our way in and out, the couples amongst them shared their load like this, the man carries his cutlass and perhaps a bottle of water, walks ahead, the woman carried the basket, baby on her back, with some supplies for lunch and her cutlass/hoe. On the way back The woman carried the basket full of the farm produce/firewood on her head, baby on her back, and the man walked a few feet behind with his cutlass and perhaps an empty bottle of water. For the men whose wives did't go to the farm with them, I didn't see them carrying anything back. Go figure! I asked one woman why her husband was not carrying the load she smiled shyly and said, "Oh, I couldn't possibly give it to my husband to carry!" They do not even walk abreast. So to answer your question, the man might have been walking behind with some other men, or might have gone home whilst the women went to buy some more produce/firewood from other farmers for home use. Obviously chivalry doesn't exist in our villages.
Nana said…
Since you explain yourself so nicely I shall attempt to give a well thought out answer...

The picture you took is a picture that is replicated in many parts of Africa for a myriad of reasons. The answer is not simple, although complexity is not a reason not to answer...

Okay what does the picture say? It shows an African woman as a "beast of burden" with her children in tow. The impression you get from looking at the picture is that the woman is doing all the hard work and the man with whom she has the children is out of the picture.

I would say the root cause of "pictures" like this is a combination of several factors including how we are brought up. There is a presumption that because women bear children they should be the primary carers of children. This woman is obviously not a "privileged" woman so her work is so much harder. It will be so much easier for a "privileged" woman like myself, even if I had to go out to work, I could pay "another woman" to raise my children. Note that I would be paying another woman and probably not sharing childcare responsibilities with the man with whom I had the children.

Okay I could write a whole essay on this subject so I will leave others to share their comments too
@ Kwegyirba: You are totally right. Feminists are not anti-male. The problem is some anti-male elements choose to call themselves feminists; and they will normally pounce on a post like these to preach brimstone and fire against men. I posted this hoping proper Feminists like you and Nana will be the ones to respond and I am glad you have.

@ Nana: I agree it's a hydra-headed one. I just wish there was a way to challenge the status quo... to confront the wrong... to empower our women whether they be "privileged" or not.
Edward: said…
Kofi, I think you just captured it so well. This is a very typical scene in our Ghanaian settings. I am pretty sure the man is under a mango tree playing Oware
Nana said…
@NK - I do think there is a way to change the status quo and it is that we all think of ourselves as carers - whether we care for children, the elderly, the less fortunate and we radically change our societal structures to support a "care-giving" model
Mr. Ampofo said…
He might be on the farm still....its not like all men are lazy....some men are but then society is unforgiving when it comes to lazy men....Women though have a natural biological affinity to caring for their children especially when the man is not doing so....lets not forget that much as there are many lazy men....THERE ARE A GREAT MANY MORE HARDWORKING AND RESPONSIBLE MEN who go above and beyond their spouses efforts to provide for their families! There's always two sides to the coin....lets not be parochial here!
Faf said…
Lol @ "proper feminists". We're grading feminists now?

It's a bit of a stretch but will anyone consider the possibility that the man is busy breaking his back on the farm cutting the firewood for the woman to carry? or am i asking for my head to be bitten off?
Faf, no one is gonna chop off your head. I must say your view is quite optimistic. And sometimes that is all the world needs.
kester said…
the lady in this photo is only carrying firewood with two kids following her...the man probably may be carring other stuffs needed to make supper in the house...and nana you said you saw many of such, well this one dose not speak volums to me...if the lady was carring food stuff and other faming impliments then fine you can ask where the man is....am not saying this is not going on but in this particular photo i can also ask where the cutlas she used for the cutting is? am just commenting on this photo!