One day, I was going through my Instagram and I stumbled upon this couple. They’ve been together for like 3 years and are so in love with one another (at least, that’s what it seems like). With the girl writing poems and the guy having a blog, they both love to write! I mean, aren’t they a perfect match? Anyways, on his blog, this man wrote an article about how he settled down, how his friends told him he changed, how he doesn’t run after girls anymore, but instead loves being an adult and the responsibilities that come with it. I was so in awe of him and how in love he is with his woman. However, that made me think. I asked myself: how many men today turn out this good? I mean he may not be perfect, but at least he has his life together. The answer to my question was MANY, many men turn out good, but that “many” isn’t enough; not at all. It brought to my mind something I have been thinking about these past few days.
With time, we grow to realize that our parents were always right about what they told us when we were kids; things we could not understand back then. Today, obviously, I see life differently than how I used to see it before. I appreciate the lectures, the NOs my parents gave me sometimes; I realize they kept me away from a lot of trouble. Parents and the family in general definitely play a big part in the shaping of one’s personality and character, but so does the society, our cultures and school. However, I find that our societies mostly focus on girls’ education. Girls are taught how they are to act in front of people, how to become “good” girls and not “hoes” – excuse my French.
On the other hand, I believe they neglect boys’ education, as though a boy becomes a man by fighting the fights life throws at him. In other words, you have to struggle to become a man. I don’t know about y’all but look at the numbers here. In the US, men represent 93.3 % of inmates. In Canada, men compared to women are 3.5 times more likely to commit homicide/attempted murder and 11.3 times more likely to sexually assault women. Well, you must be thinking: what does this have to do with us?
Okay let me bring it to you this way: if you look at the situation in our country, Burundi, how many women do you think are behind the awful things happening, especially the killings? Believe it or not, most people just do not think women could be capable of such cruel things. You know why? Because women are perceived as fragile and men as tough.
As I grew up, I came to realize that we’d be living in a better world if our communities spent more time educating young boys. I see a lot of men today who have managed to become “someone”. However, many of them can easily say that they went through a lot in the past, even made mistakes that they wished they could take back. Ntumbwire ngo c’est par ses erreurs qu’on grandit. I mean, it’s easy to say that if you managed to get past your mistakes and have your life all figured out. When by “mistake”, you mean having to fail a class twice in order to get back to your feet, well yeah, that served you. However, some mistakes can be hard put up with. They cannot just be wiped away, and sometimes, they can even interfere with your lifestyle and goals. We all know how at some point we faced danger and all in our teenage years, but why are boys more likely to fall into drugs and alcohol for example? Why are they more likely to get into bigger troubles than young girls are?
There is this thing called “sex”. Tell me men are more sexually driven than women, and I’ll argue the opposite just because I believe most things that are considered as “natural” are in fact taught. In other words, why is it that women are taught to keep their legs closed, instead of men learning to keep their “third leg” in their pants? Why is it that in a rape case, the girl is often blamed but the guy excused? Thus, why does it matter how a woman was dressed and then given the “what did you expect” comment while the rapist isn’t pointed fingers at? I mean you may not see anything wrong here because this whole rape culture/myth thing has come to be part of our beliefs and cultural norms. I’m not saying that girls should go out naked expecting boys not to touch them. What I’m saying here is that we should all start questioning the values and the education we give to our boys. I don’t mean to say that they’re encouraged to rape from ta young age; the issue is more that they are not really discouraged to! This is not only about rape, it’s also about men’s lives.
Most of the times the actions we take in our teenage years pursue us in our adult life as well. So let’s help boys to not make decisions that are going to ruin their whole lives, because of ignorance. I mean, as a young boy you are not really calculating. You do not have your mind thinking about all possible outcomes of your actions; you just want to have fun, right? This reminds me of a video I saw about men who had kids with multiple women. And I remember one of them had 28 (yes, as in 10+10+8) kids with 16 different women, and he seemed to only be in his early 40’s. What do you call that? MISTAKES?! I mean, this man went ahead and cried saying that he felt helpless to his kids and their moms. However, I am pretty sure that when he was having “sex” with those women he did not anticipate how he’d be feeling in the future, and how he’d wish he should have thought twice by at least making sure no babies would come out of it. No, I am not against sex at all, but I am against the idea some men have of contraception being a women’s issue and not theirs. It’s easy not to care about a condom in the moment, when already turned on, however, reality always finds its way. If only we all could stop finding excuses to why some men act like they do, and stop calling it nature; but instead recognize that this is partly due to a lack of education.
By Dede who lives and studies in Canada
Photo by Arnaud Gwaga Mugisha