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The other day, I put up a short video of a cute family that was singing the famous song ‘Brown Skin Girl’ on my WhatsApp status.
Some of my contacts revered the nuclear family that consists of a mom, dad and their two beautiful daughters for their vocal gifts. However, there were a handful of people who turned this into an attack.
“You are 29 in a few weeks’ time. Where is your family? You are busy admiring other people and their families and yet you don’t have of your own.”
The comment cut so deep. I found it so insensitive and inconsiderate. Whether this was supposed to be taken with a pinch of salt or not, it was definitely not well off.
We are very much conscientised about the issue of barrenness. We are taught that we should not ask women when they are going to have babies or when are they getting married. Rightfully so, because we don’t know if they can have babies or not.
Also, in the regressive world I grew up in, it’s up to men to ask for a hand in marriage, thus leaving women in no space to tell when they are going to tie the knot.
Having said all that, I believe the conversation should also be extended to men. Nobody has the right to ask when I am going to have a baby or getting married.
On the issue of fathering someone, men also face impotence. It could be that I am unable to have babies, this making the conversation awkward. Maybe according to societal standards, I am supposed to have a baby at the age of 29.
The same society is inconsiderate. We tend to think that not being able to have babies is a challenge for women only. Men, too, have such challenges. Even worse, we don’t make it a habit to go for check-ups at the GP.
In the villages where I grew up, when a married couple doesn’t have a child after some time, the immediate suspicion is that the woman is barren.
The man could not be the one who can’t make babies. We make it so taboo to talk about men and their infertility, as though men are immune to being infertile.
We don’t even think about the possibility of the couple being on contraceptives just to enjoy their marriage without an additional member.
Furthermore, me not being married could be due to a few valid reasons, such as financial readiness, but not limited to that. I could have a fear of commitment, which I personally don’t have.
Nevertheless, it makes it nobody’s business why I am without a child or a wife.
I hope that while the year is still fresh, we apply our minds before we make certain comments to people. We could be putting salt on fresh or old wounds.
Kabelo Chabalala is the founder and chairperson of the Young Men Movement (YMM), an organisation that focuses on the reconstruction of the socialisation of boys to create a new cohort of men. Email, firstname.lastname@example.org ; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook, Kabelo Chabalala
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