Trying to understand Uganda’s new feminists

2016 will be the year of the feminist. Spurred into the mainstream media by the infamous protest of notable academic researcher Stella Nyanzi, the educated “middle class” women of the nation jumped on the band wagon of the feminist cause. Women all over the world are faced with marginalization although it is more of a daily struggle for the continent’s women. The treatment of African women by the societies and communities they live and work in is all but uninspiring.

The sudden interest taken up these seemingly educated clique of women as manifested by endless proverbial references, one-sided perspectives and meaningless hashtags reveals a shallowness in understanding the plight but is also an expression of the misplaced vision among this promising yet disappointing section of the public. To begin with, these voices are always vocal when it comes to issues that can make them a “worthy mouthpiece”. By this I mean how far these women become on matters dealing with presidential term limits, parliamentary bills, and the isolated workplace drama.

In no way do I claim to understand the plight of women but surely I don’t think the culture of “no chips nor hips” or the spike in prostitution more so among the nation’s young women is not a “plight” enough to make national headlines or trend on Twitter.

Where are these feminists when the moral decay of the nation silently eats away at the young women of the nation? Or has the moral decadence of the African woman become so common and trendy that it is no longer worthy to speak against. Exactly how does lifting of presidential term limits stop the near pornographic dressing of women on the streets of Kampala or stop defilement of young girls in schools?

The voices supposed to speak for or against such subjugation have instead put on trousers and joined the men to join the political conversations and fairness at the workplace. My fellow Ugandan sisters on social media have adopted the western consumerism and celebrity culture that took the tragedy of the Chibook girls and reduced it to Twitter hashtag,”#BringBackOurGirls”. Or to our own backyard with the infamous Invisible Children campaign and its misinterpretation of the war in northern Uganda.

Instead, feminism has been hijacked by a clique of young women with theoretical notions, biased tendencies and a Twitter account to claim to be the definition of a feminist. It seems remaining relevant and being retweeted or tagged is the main concern irrespective of whether you make sense or not. Or whether you believe and understand the cause or not.


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