Traditionalism VS Feminism

I’m a reader. And I’m a feminist. Those two facets of myself feed each other because I understand that when one supports a certain cause or movement it is very important that one stays well informed.

SOOOO…right now I’m reading In The Name Of Honour about Mukhtar Mai a woman living in Pakistan who, in 2002, was gang-raped by members of a family from a tribe that was feuding with her own family. It was called an ‘Honour Crime’ because the two families agreed that Mukhtar should be raped to ‘repay’ the other family for a crime her younger brother allegedly committed. The story follows her fight to put her four assailants behind bars, against a system that puts men in a position to do whatever they please to any woman they please. Its a heart-wrenching story but one that fills the reader with pride and adoration for this woman who grew knowing not to look a man in the eye, but decided one day to take her life into her own hands.

She was expected to kill herself after being raped and forced to walk home naked in front of he whole village. But Mukhtar Mai chose to rise against her tribal system and start a revolution that would pave a way for the girls in her country to live with dignity and strength.

Its an amazing story. It especially moves me because of my strong stance on womens’ rights. More than anything its got me back to thinking about the internal conflict that exists between two of my -isms: Traditionalism VS. Feminism

On one hand I completely support a woman’s right to choose and her right to fight against customs and practices that oppress her. But at the same time I can’t help feeling my strong feelings of traditionalism come into play. I’m part of a cultural group whose customs and identity is quickly being eroded by the times. What now if half of that group begins to redefine their ‘role’ in the group and therefore change what it means to be a Motswana Woman? Is feminism really a positive tool if we’re trying to preserve a culture thats so rapidly dying?

I have to say don’t know. I mean…I’m not going to compare Mukhtar Mai’s dilemma with our own. Women in our culture aren’t held at quite a low station as those in Punjabi custom and I’m not going to say anything as extreme happens here but her battle is an extreme version of the same Feminism-VS-Traditionalism: Which should triumph the other?

One Response to “Traditionalism VS Feminism”
  1. rea says:

    Hi, just recently got introduced to your blog, and really like your writing, and subjects dealt with. When it comes to Traditionalism, time is bound to redefine anything in its path. Preserving the core principles of a culture or tradition is important since these are meant to inform good communal and social living, but how these are implemented in the societies we live in today has to continuously be questioned for them to stay relevant as well. So if in this case it was a question of “honour”, the means of staying true to this should be revised because women should no longer be valued as just commodities. Elders within communities for example should work closely with organisations and lobby groups to find alternatives that don’t infringe on the principles that define them. What are we if people do not want to evolve?

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  • Hey, you.

    Thank you for reading through the ole b.l.o.g. I hope that you have been thoroughly satisfied. Let me know what you have for lunch, hey? Cheers.
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