Well, I am not an expert when it comes to defining the root of all these problems but one thing I can do is enlighten you about how we can go about rectifying where we went wrong as society.

Firstly as a young black African girl growing up in a household that contained gender roles was a norm. It was nothing out of the ordinary to wake up on a Saturday morning and get told that I have to do laundry, iron, cook and clean. The boys would just wake up gallivant the streets and get called back later on when the food is ready. The boy’s job was simple they ate, watched TV, played soccer, did the garden when they felt like it and and just carried on with their day. They were never given a specific time to be indoors but I as a girl child was reminded on several occasions that I should be home no later than 5pm no matter what!

Why were we treated so differently? Why is it that I was given the sex talk and reminded of teenage pregnancy and not the boy child? Why were they not told to abstain from sexual intercourse like it was done to me back when I was 16.
Some of us grew in an era where being male was a dominating factor. Being female just meant bearing babies, being a housewife, doing house chores and being submissive to the head of the house (A man).

Times have changed but has the gender role mentality also transformed? As a Queer woman I beg to differ. Because even in queer communities gender stereotypes still exist. Which brings me to gender-based violence. Since we grew up with all these gender roles in our lives we found dominance in masculinity and femininity just became something soft and fragile. Masculinity has been given so much power that women are abused all in the name of respecting a male figure.

Females remain in abusive marriages and relationships because they are scared of speaking out and going back to a society that is full of judgement and criticism. When relationships and marriages fall apart 90% of the time it’s considered to be a woman’s fault as it’s assumed that “she can’t keep a man” what nonsense is that?

Being female is so broad, that it’s like a course on its own. You wake up to deal with obstacles, fight stereotypes, inequalities, hormones and day to day challenges posed at you by the community. The solution to all these problems is teaching the young minds of this new upcoming generation that “what a man can do, a woman is more than capable of doing too and always remember that respect is earned and not demanded. Masculinity is nothing better than femininity. Even young lesbian masculine-presenting must be taught that a relationship is a two way street. No gender roles need to be involved.