This is the first of 4 ‘Unlearning’ posts that I will be sharing with you this month. This series will consist of my personal opinion and my mates’ opinions on ideologies that need to be unlearned.
What exactly is unlearning? It’s basically rethinking the roles we were assigned to from a tender age, it is practically the process of draining out some ideas you absorbed while growing up and it is to stop believing in certain things and start believing in new ‘realistic’ ones.
In this episode, the main focus is on men and what they have to unlearn to contribute in making the world a better place. What is destroying men up to this day is the mentality that you are weak if you show your emotion and the only one that seems to be acceptable is anger. Honestly, I am quite convinced this is why some men’s brains do not function well when it comes to how to think and behave – release those tears, clear your brain. Also, being completely in love is not gay, it what you should do. A man deeply in love is seen as a bewitched man as if men are incapable of falling in love or even having feelings.
Listen, I could go on for days but I don’t want this to be about me, so here’s what the gents have to say about the things they feel like they need to unlearn…
Kwanda | 1 – Penises as the epitome of manhood.
As men, we are too fixated on sex, and this includes the penis size, how long one can last etc. As a guy you need to at least have a sexual narrative so that when others tell their stories you also have something to say from your experiences. This puts us under pressure as we often find ourselves in meaningless relationships just to build a narrative or street cred.
2 – Suppressing anything thought to be feminine.
We avoid anything that has to do with being vulnerable; we deny any feelings of fear or helplessness. This includes showing too much affection towards your partner. I’m also guilty of this, I often say ”If you are a guy, you shouldn’t love too much”. I think it all stems from a fear of being vulnerable and subsequently getting hurt. Furthermore, this idea promotes aggression and violent behavior in men because we don’t want to be weak.
3 -The ideology of Patriarchy.
I know a lot has been said about this but I just want to emphasize a few points. Firstly, it promotes promiscuity among men. Secondly, we feel entitled to the bodies of women, resulting in no respect for their autonomy. We also often use physical strength to oppress women.
Just to add to this, I’ve actually heard young men boasting about the number of kids they have. Children they don’t even know whether they had supper or not.
4 – Objectification of women’s bodies.
It’s basically the idea of viewing their bodies as sexual objects and a space for realising our manhood and sexual narrative.
5 – Exaggeration and emphasis on physical strength and other hypermasculine behaviour.
We are becoming more obsessed with physical appearance and this has become a measure of how much of a man one is. There’s nothing wrong with being buff or having a big bushy beard but these things should not define what being a man truly is. One’s character and values should mean more.
Not a very extensive list but I believe these are some of the core things that we need to un-learn as men or atleast be aware of. Most of these things are not taught (in its literal sense), but these are ideas that one adopts just by growing up in our society.
Siyabonga | 1.) Men must stop thinking that it’s the job of the woman to ensure that the house is clean and food has been cooked. He has two damn hands of his own and should have been taught these things growing up.
2.) Men also cry, we have so many emotions that we hold inside of us yet can’t release it as it will be seen as being weak.
3.) Men should communicate more in relationships. Simply asking her how her day was gives her an opportunity to vent all the problems she went through. But ladies should learn to do the same.
4.) Men mustn’t feel entitled to a woman’s body, just because you took her out for lunch or she passed out on your bed at a party doesn’t mean you are entitled to her body.
5.) men must be able to take an L. Just because she didn’t give you her number doesn’t mean that you must curse her with every word under the sun. A simple, “cool, enjoy your day” wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Hlaselani | When it comes to us men, it depends on how your parents raised you and how society influences you, talking about my personal experience, my dad told me that a man is supposed to be a breadwinner, but it not a problem anymore if your wife is earning triple your salary because money doesn’t exactly define a man. Society teaches us that a man is not supposed to be afraid of anything – to always fight back… I am not a coward but I am scared of getting hurt bra! Like, bleeding is just annoying! That is something we should rethink otherwise we will die tragically if we carry on like this.
Also, as guys we think we are physically stronger than women, most of us are not – women can’t open the Mayonnaise cap because they give up easily but men on the other hand will die before they give the Mayonnaise back to the woman unopened – we would use tools and even try shooting that shit open than to give up. With us, there’s a lot to rethink, simply things like walking someone home at night, I’m also scared as fuck! Why can’t I show it? Why can’t you walk alone? Who is going to walk back with me? Another thing, see this thing of asking girls out… who said that we must be the ones to do that? Personally, I’m tired, we must rethink that you know, we want to be asked out too!
Stan | Quite frankly speaking, men need to unlearn the belief that they must spend every cent of their income every month as they attempt to fit in or even standout in society through the clothes they wear, the cars they drive and the restaurants they go to. I truly don’t believe in the notion of keeping up appearances. What should matter most with the men that earn a reasonable income and more is to know where each rand is allocated in your life and to be frugal – this is one of the best ways to accumulate wealth at a young age.
Hlubi | Point number 1, I always say this to my friends – if you love your partner do not, and I repeat, do not be ashamed to show how much you love them in front of your friends. As guys we tend to hide the way we feel about our girlfriend when we are around our friends. Number 2, in a relationship it is 50/50! We know that guys are more muscular and stuff but that doesn’t mean we are more superior than our partners. Number 3, when you are in the wrong don’t deny it, admit it and apologise, we are human we are bound to make mistakes, we are not perfect so there is no need to deny or blame each other.
Xolani | Basically, we need to unlearn this thing of how men must be the macho type. From a young age, we are taught that we must be the bread-winners, we’re taught that men never cry and we’re laughed at for showing even a bit of emotion. Also, this thing of having more than one girlfriend or relationship will make you seem manlier or you’ll be better than other guys needs to stop.
JC | Its understandable ‘sometimes’ we all grew up under different cultural, religious, traditional and socio-political context. But I certainly agree that they are things that need to be consulted. Now in no ranking here are my thoughts.
- Everyone should learn how to cook. I mean, No.1 chef in the world is a dude… learn how to make a decent meal. Stop saying women are responsible for cooking.
Stop tryna buy women. Basically, stop giving women money. We all know that if she has money she won’t be thinking about your ass. Stop buying women shit! These KFC’s and stuff, unlearn it, rather cook!
Women don’t owe you anything. See, I told you to stop buying shit for women. Now that you did…you think she owes you? Doesn’t really work that way.
Stop tryna carry women’s heavy groceries. We both know if she saw you in the same heavy position she wouldn’t help, unlearn that gentlemen nonsense.
Don’t raise your fist for her or to her. I mean, it should be clear to you. Hitting ain’t cool man. Don’t fight for her either man, you’re not her bodyguard.
It’s okay to cry man – in fact it’s very healthy, crying brings a lot of relief. We’ve been told to cry on the inside, dude that shit hurts even more! Cry outside man, talk about your shit, it’s nice it’s not gay.
You’re not responsible for other people man. You’re responsible for you. So much pressure has been placed on you since you were young, they tell you, “you’re my only hope now”. Yeah sure, but bro you are your own responsibility first.
A potbelly doesn’t make a man. Exercise dude. Get fucking healthy man.
Wearing something colorful doesn’t make you gay. So, you like pink bru. So what? Wear that shit, in fact pink is a lovely color.
If you wanna fight, join a fight club – boxing, mixed martial arts, kung fu… anything! Other than that, talk bru. I mean, I have seen brothers fight over stupid shit, like over women, dude…WTF!
Stop hyping each other over stupid stuff bros. Hype each other about a new book you read or a new recipe anything besides fucking girls and drinking. Oh My Word! I have listened to some shit in my days.
Women are not a reward. Men are working so hard, sweating, hustling and then when all that hard work pays off, you want to hold women left and right. Are you stupid? Women are not a reward for your hard work. Indulge yourself in your as a reward man. Don’t work and get money to get bitches, work and get money for your own lifestyle bro.
Dudes should stop being apologetic about being turned on. Embrace that you got an erection. It is normal. embarrassed that you got an erection? Your penis is your commodity. Stop giving it for free. Women can use their vaginas for their gain. You can do the same.
Don’t feel ashamed about your penis size bro. You can learn a lot of sexual things you can do. There is a book called Women’s bodies, I learnt a lot from it.
Don’t go to a club/pub/festival to get pussy. Go there to have fun bro. Why ya’ll so fucking stupid?
Bandile | Right, here are the points below. Men need to forget that:
- Women will always be inferior (in any way), especially when it comes to job positions and monthly earnings (wage/salary). It’s okay for a guy to earn less than their wife. If it’s a true relationship, true marriage; a lousy salary will should mean nothing.
The only feeling that should be expressed is anger, it’s okay to sad and cry, just don’t overdo it because naturally as men we’ve got the power to hold tears in.
Guys shouldn’t forget who they truly are. They should stop trying to please a lot of people and living up to their expectations. It’s okay not to have money to contribute in a group function but still be part of it.
They should stop the stupid mentality of wanting to overpower people, sometimes their own peers. Just because Sipho bought a new BMW, it doesn’t mean Themba has to buy two to belittle Sipho, however Themba can buy them if he really likes the cars and isn’t trying to boast.
Limo | Casual disrespect – a lot of guys are just Disrespectful towards other people not just women but mainly at women and it’s so casual nowadays that it’s at the point where it seems normal/ part of life. Common phrase being ‘that’s what guys do’ in attempts to justify actions.
This I believe comes from a lesson guys grew up being taught that men are at the head of the house hold and some guys feel it gives them the right to do whatever they want. And that I feel is taken out of context and guys see it as males are the ‘dominant’ species where as thats not what it means.
Most guys know their problems but to them it’s not that much of a problem right now because they are living the life, they are enjoying living this life and they are not exactly being honest with themselves. Most of these things literally come from our childhood, we watched the older guys – how they live and how they treat the women and people around them and we kind of absorb that. As we grow up, that’s the life that guys live and for them to realise that this is something they need to unlearn means that that it something they need to stop doing. In that sense, most guys won’t tell you what they need to unlearn because that would mean they have to stop doing what they are saying and it’s hard for poeple to see that what they are doing is wrong and then make a 180, change and do something new.