Male apathy needs reversing to correct a wrong in society
THERE is an insidious trend creeping into our society and it threatens our nationhood if not confronted head-on.
In days gone by our societies were under the grip of patriarchy, which to an extent assigned women the status of perpetual minors.
This led to fierce resistance from feminist groupings and other progressive formations which campaigned for the equalisation of rights and opportunities for women.
What is shocking to observe currently is that the defeat of patriarchy has brought in its wake the constant abdication of responsibility by men in what can only be termed male apathy. This male apathy is evident from the different agents of socialisation starting out with the family.
It has become the norm rather than the exception to have children raised by the mother only in the absence of the father. The absence of the father figure robs children of a balanced upbringing by two parents in a loving relationship. Their sense of normal gender relations are therefore skewed from the outset. Growing up without a father also harms the children’s perceptions of gender roles.
A diminished view of males is likely to take root in children without the experience of a loving father. This negative view might be extended to all men without exception.
It is therefore clear that it is more desirable for children to be raised by both parents for them to experience the full joys of a loving home comprising both the father and a mother. Sigmund Freud emphasised this need for a father by stating that “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection”. Without this protection, our children are bound to remain vulnerable in the face of the myriad challenges inherent within our societies.
Unfortunately, this male apathy is not only confined to the home. Looking at the next important agent of the socialisation of children, the school, it also becomes evident that even here the minimisation of the male species continues unabated.
The dominance of girls over boys becomes particularly evident during the release of the much-vaunted matric results.
The number of girls excelling in their studies almost invariably exceeds that of boys over the years. It would be interesting if research could be conducted in this regard, but at face value it seems the trend of the dominance of girls in the academic stakes is at present a reality.
It does not end there, the patterns of extra-curricular participation are always skewed in favour of girls. Student leadership seems to have become the domain of girls, with a sprinkling of boys filling in here and there. Nothing wrong with girls displaying assertiveness, but with the threat of the complete withdrawal of boys from predominance, one wonders what the future holds. Participation in cultural and sporting activities also points to the predominance of females.
Churches are also not spared when it comes to the predominance by women and apathy by men. Traditionally, churches were sites where patriarchy was at its highest.
There was a time when women were not even supposed to stand in front of a congregation. One is not necessarily nostalgic for those days when stating the obvious that women predominate in most churches with the exception of hardcore traditional churches.
It is most worrisome that men in general have become timid and non-participatory but still dominate bad news.
It has become a common occurrence for men to be caught on the wrong side of the law for mostly crimes against women.
The trend of male apathy needs to be reversed, not through a return to patriarchy but through a joint effort to correct what is wrong in our society. APJ Kalam gave advice in this regard by stating: “If a country is to be corruption-free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.”
This is an invitation to all fathers to come and join the party. Not only join, but to assume the lead.
Men constantly abdicate their responsibilities