The right to have your own value

Having officially joined the blogging community, we today are reminiscing about why – in a country like Namibia, which claims to constitutionally uphold the equality of all its citizens – the feminist cause is so urgently needed.

While in some regions of the world, people are already talking about post- and/or second or third wave feminism, I sometimes have the distinct impression that we, in Namibia, are still living in a pre-feminist society. Let me explain: Not very long ago I went to a meeting where there were quite a number of women. While I will not divulge the nature of the meeting, I need to explain that many of the women present that day stated that they no longer “can produce for a man,” therefore they are “worthless.”

What this means is that they no longer can become pregnant. All of these women perceived their inability to have another child (for they all already have children) to be a loss of intrinsic value. Some of them questioned their very being and thought they have been “robbed” of an opportunity to be in a relationship with a man.

Now in a country where “tradition” and/ or “culture’ determine much of our interactions with each other, it is quite common for women to have to demonstrate to a man that she is capable of bearing his offspring. This sometimes has the disastrous effect that many a young teenage girl feels pressurised to become pregnant as soon as she enters into a relationship with a boy. As is expected, the boys do not stick around long after the girls have become pregnant, leaving the young girls, themselves children, sitting with the baby. Even grown women feel that a man will not stay with her unless she has his child. Without this, we seem to be nothing. The way relationships seem to be working in Namibia, the man, of course, never sticks around for long, whether or not the woman has “produced” for him. This means that the majority of kids in Namibia are raised by single mothers.

We now are sitting with a phenomenon where – because a woman is only worth anything if she is with a man and had his child – it is fairly common for infants to be abandoned once the sperm donor has left the equation. We then jump onto our moralistic high horses and shout blue murder at the corruption of women who do these “ acts.”

In a society where a woman is valued for who she is intrinsically – as opposed to with whom she is in a relationship with, or whose child she brought into this world, some of these problems may be averted. It is high time that we see ourselves as persons with intrinsic – an own – value. Could this be a good enough reason for promoting feminism in Namibia?