The alternative sex

The alternative sex

Date: January 1, 1970
  • SHARE:

The systematic exclusion of women from mainstream life relegates them to the ?alternative?, leaving them on the periphery of mainstream life in post-apartheid South Africa.

All things alternative exist in the place of something else. The alternative press encodes messages that are averse to mainstream messages. Alternative music listeners are averse to commercial music.

The alternative sex commonly referred to, as the “fairer or other” sex exists on the periphery of mainstream life in post- apartheid South Africa.

Media messages serve as daily reminders that to be female is to be alternative. Lest you forget, electronic and print media bombards you with images of unadorned synthetic female bodies.

Males are sole proprietors of elaborate buildings who have unapologetically secured religious titles and space for themselves.

This same group has monopolized sport both as enterprise and leisure. Millions spent on events such as the “The Rugby Super 12”, “The African Cup of Nations” star an-all male cast dazzling an equally all-male audience.

Radio stations have ensured that the “Male Agenda” is promoted by strategically allocating prime slots to suitable foot soldiers.

The capitalist ideology with its principles of a free market economy has yet to produce a female capitalist of note. The Financial Mail’s list of “South Africa’s most influential people” is unlikely to be predominantly female.

Politics in South Africa has remained (for the most part) a decidedly male affair with female candidates being continuously eclipsed. To date, Patricia De Lille is conspicuous as a solitary figure against a mass of male candidates.

South Africa swiftly suppresses these “pessimistic” notions by proudly reminding you that the speaker of parliament is female. The relevance of this is unclear. Equality is not equality if it is selective.

The majority of disempowered females must be content with applauding empowered counterparts. For the majority, fame, wealth, and adulation are as elusive as the immortal life.

It is against this foreground that “ordinary” South African women exist. The systematic exclusion of women from mainstream life relegates them to the peripheral, the “alternative”, for which special concessions have to be made.

Observe how in written word and conversations, bra- size, hairstyles, lipstick shade, moisturizer preference, ovulation, pregnancy etc become intellectual and philosophical property.

The number of times the neutral statement:“ I’ll come tomorrow”, has been treated, as an erotic confession is overwhelming. Light-hearted conversations among “enlightened” men inevitably degenerate into prattle (only after significant items have been discussed) about the inferiority of women.

Resistance to embracing “what is expected of you” is interpreted as “unwomanly” and earns you the title of the five-letter word.

As you try to comprehend the treatment accorded to you, you realize the prison that the female form has become. Judgement, reasoning and abstract reasoning in a female body are a mere hors-d’oeuvre when hips, curves and breasts can be the main course.

Yes, one’s body is part of one’s essence, but it is not the only thing. One is the sum total of one’s experiences and not a mere body.

For this reason, one’s sex need not be the primary criteria for privileges, duties and responsibilities because there is IQ, EQ personality and so much more that contributes to one’s glorious essence.

If South Africa takes heed of these words it can produce female heads of state, nuclear scientists, philosophers, astronomers, international bankers, and yes, even newspaper editors! If it does, there will be so much more to celebrate  when the country celebrates a second decade of independence in 2014.

Neo Seseane works for the Gauteng Shared Services Centre, this article was written in her personal capacity.

This article is part of the GEM Opinion and Commentary Service that provides views and perspectives on current events. for more information.


Comment on The alternative sex

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *