Thursday, June 04, 2009

I’m the kind of feminist who needs a man

At the time of the feminist revolution, feminism was, among other things, about equal pay for equal work, equal education, and equal promotions for women as for men. Since then, feminism has been distorted and projected in many different ways by the media. Today, one of the images that represent the feminist is the overly critical, harsh, man-hating female. While feminism continues to be repudiated, elements of feminism have remained. One of these is choice.

The new feminism is to have choice, especially at it regards work, but more generally in life. That women can now vote, attend Ivy League Colleges, become president, and perhaps even someday Rabbis and Popes – roles they could not play previously, is a testament to how far we have come. I am grateful that some women spoke up, and challenged what may have seemed the like natural order of things. I’m grateful for even the thought that if Jesus came back to earth again as a teacher, I could try to be one of his twelve disciples and it wouldn’t be odd. This is why I’m a feminist.

But in exploring the opportunities that we now have, sometimes we lose our humanity. Before feminism there is kindness, and love, and thoughtfulness. See the thing is,feminism is only necessary in a world where people aren’t fair, or kind, or thoughtful…in a world where you can do x because you have a penis, but I cannot do x because I have a vagina. In that world, feminism attempts to bring us all back to the middle.

Unfortunately, some women get confused. They think to be a feminist or strong woman means to never compromise, but it’s not that at all. I believe a feminist notices when there is unfairness as in a case where she is the only one compromising. All the time. One such example is when a woman gets married and is expected to drop her name and take her husbands. Some argue that what’s unfair about it is not that that the woman makes the name change, but that in some cases, she doesn’t get to make that decision. Like in Ghana, the moment you get married to Mr. Cleland, people start calling you Mrs. Cleland. Recently a friend got married, and people started calling her Mrs. X. Trying not to assume anything, I asked her if she was going to change her name. Her response was interesting, spoke of her confusion

My dilemma now is figuring out at what point we 'independent-dont-need-a-man-to-define-us' women can stop trying to get that point across in what we do and the decisions we make? Should my last name be also turned into a worthy cause for the sisterhood?

Her dilemma is actually founded on the erroneous notion that when you don’t take your husband’s name, you’re proving a point and supporting “the sisterhood”. I don’t think that’s the place from which it comes. See here for some reasons why some women maintain their last names after marriage. Personally I have not yet decided whether I’ll take my husband’s name or not. I may take it if he takes mine as well. Or I may drop my last name to shed the constant reminder of colonialism that it is. And yet I am a feminist. My point is that independent-don’t-need-a-man-to-define-us can take their husband’s names if they so please. They may decide to make that compromise because there are many compromises to be made by both parties in marriage and that's one she wants to make.

Let me also add that I'm the kind of feminist who needs a man. When I’m not attached, I am a complete person. And I don’t have to be in a relationship to feel whole or be financially independent. However I appreciate that being in a relationship with another person (in the case of heterosexual women), a man, can enrich a person’s life. I look forward to sharing meals, sharing joys, and sadness, having children, gossiping, and sharing chores, making a life together. And even waking up in the middle of the night from a nightmare to cuddle the handsome man lying next to me. Oh and bills. I can’t wait to share them with someone instead of having to pay them alone! These are great things. These are some of the reasons why I sometimes think I’ll get married. So yes, I need a man. And yet I’m a feminist. Which kind of feminist needs a man? The Esi Cleland Type.

Again, the feminist revolution made it possible for us to have the means to thrive without a man if we so wished. So that if I were totally put off by the horror of some of the marriages I’ve witnessed, I’d still be able to live a rich full life without thinking marriage-even a horror of a marriage-is my only option. What kind of human being would remind or constantly prove to her husband/boyfriend that she doesn’t need him? No one does that. God, I hope no one does that. I need my boyfriend and he needs me. I play an important role in his life as he does in mine. I can’t imagine what kind of a person I’d be without him. I would still be smart, and hip, and whatever else I am, but he’s taught me much of what I know about love and about being a decent human being----by example. So why would I want to alienate him by saying I don’t need him? Of course I need him, and yet I can also picture a life without him, that’s rich and full and enjoyable though different from the one we now share. I don’t believe being in our relationship is the only choice for me, or even the right choice necessarily. I think it’s a possible path and I choose to take it because with him, I’m better than without him. The day I feel I’m better without him than with him, like the day he gives me a black eye like Cris Brown gave Rihanna, I’m re-evaluating that choice.

If I were to summarize my first point, it would be this: some women think a strong woman has to do this or that, has to work, has to keep her name, has to split chores 50-50. That’s not what feminism is about. Feminism tells you, honey, there are no have-tos in life. You get to decide what you do and what you don’t. There are arguments for keeping your name, arguments for why it’s good for a women to earn money and for both partners to share house-hold chores but it’s entirely up to you. The choice you make depends on your particular circumstance. For example, if you have a great career and a crappy husband, it may makes sense to choose the career over the man. But if you have a great husband and a crappy career, choosing the husband may be the way to go. Or you can have them both. It all depends.

The second confusion I’d like to clear is that some people think to be a strong woman is to be selfish. Always putting yourself first. My Swazi friend who writes the blog the Esibayeni Diaries actually wrote an article saying that women should be selfish, and place their needs first, because when they do that, they’ll be happy and that when you become happy, people will be attracted to that as opposed to a moper who is moping because she always sacrifices for her guy but the guy doesn’t. See the article here for yourself:

Now our Swazibella writes well, and it is clear that has put thought into that article. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that she makes several important points but I do not agree with her core argument. It is not true that to be happy, you have to be selfish. Or even that you can’t sacrifice and be happy. Let me tell you why.

All of us have the capacity to be generous, as much as we do to be selfish. When Swazibella says we should be selfish, she’s appealing to the selfish side of us that says err, you’re not going to be there for me and therefore I will not be there for you if you need me, when I’d rather be doing something else. I’ll grant that in some cases, her recommendation can pass as in the case where your boyfriend wants you to read to him when you’d rather be playing tennis. But where he needs you for something bigger, say helping him study for an exam or to deliver an important package. According to Swazibella, you should go and play tennis because you feel like playing tennis. That’s selfish. That’s what she tells us to be, and that’s actually scary. I am generally a positive, happy person, and I know that as much as men (read people) are attracted to that, they’re also attracted to someone who cares not only about herself. This isn’t even about men. It’s just human. Which human being wants to hang out with someone who always puts herself first, without consideration for others? Now I’m not saying that you should always put your guy’s needs first either. I think there’s a balance. I would like to appeal not to your selfish side but to your generous side. You can love you, and love your man. You can do things that make you happy and do things that make your man happy. You can have it all. It requires some communication, and but it can be done. I know, because I do it everyday. There was a time when things had to be all about me. I was the girl who wasn’t going to wait for no man to make me happy, who would say I’m not going to do “that” for a man. It was also a time when I’d been hurt a lot. A person can do things that make them happy without disrespecting their partner. You can bring your partner into the conversation, and not unilaterally decide everything in your life and still arrive at the decision that pleases you. In fact, I would go as far as to say that making decisions that impact you both together is the only way to sustainably be happy in a relationship. If you 're not willing to do that, you're probably not ready for a relationship.

When you’re single, you can make all your decisions selfishly. But when you’re in a relationship, you have to involve your partner. Your life is no longer just about you because the decisions you make affect him too. That’s a requirement for a happy relationship. A happy relationship means a happy you. I don’t know how you can keep making choices which make you happy but which makes your partner unhappy and have a happy relationship. I wouldn’t want to date a man who just thinks of himself. Feminism does not mean you should be a selfish and inconsiderate. How can you be selfish and yet claim to love your man? Love is not selfish.

This has been a very long post. I don’t have so much time to clean up the article but I believe the two points I wished to make:

1) That a feminist isn’t out to prove anything or prove she supports any cause. Just live your life. No one is taking notes and checking if you're adhering to any codes.

2) Being a strong woman or a feminist does not mean you should be an inconsiderate selfish human being. The way I see it, because I’m a feminist, I am a consensus builder. Because women have once been treated unfairly, I try to treat the men in my life fairly. I’m not going to impose my will on anyone. Feminists don’t do that.


  1. To my thinking a feminist is simply a person who believes that we live in a "patriarchal" society and is committed to doing whatever s/he can do to change that social system. (In it's simplest format I understand patriarchy as a socially constructed system that places women and men in particular social roles linked to their biological reproductive systems)

  2. Oh this is one of my fave posts!I could go on for days about what you wrote...hehe... I love it. I am all about womens rights without being millitant about never compromising on anything because I am a woman. I have friends who share both last names (i.e. My husband and I both could have been Asante-Totoe, Mosley-Totoe or adopted a different last name altogether)I opted for his last name cos that's what I wanted. What really is in a name?:)

    As long as the relationship I am in is very nurturing and builds me up, it is easier to make compromises and accept another person's point of view.In the process, don't forget you have to be building and nurturing the other party too. I think sometimes people in their feminist thinking, tend to make it all about them. The ME ME ME syndrome has got to go!

    Here is a statistic from the ""- In 2007, women earned 78 cents for every dollar men received. The gap is even worst for mown of color!Latinas earn 59 cents and African American women earn 69 cents for every dollar men earn... and Asian women earn 89 cents!
    At this rate equal pay won't be realized until 2057!...oh boy!

    Anyways, back to the topic; as an individual, you can not expect another indivual to complete you! That's just Hollywood! You can only hope to be your very best for each other. Girl, I want to go on forever!I'll stop right here before I turn this into another essay. We can chat some more soon!

  3. Preach on!!! Completely agree (until, of course, I read it again, and find something i don't agree with. but until then, 100 % agree!!)

  4. Insightful post. Very.

  5. Rightly put my sister. Feminism is never about opposing all manly views, it is more about equal rights and opportunities.
    Even today, there r proffessions reserved for men! They never tell u to ur face but manipulate factors to make you quit.It hurts to think that some women take their husband's words as final. To the detriment of themselves and their chn, coz 'my husband says so'. That is how they have beeen brought up!
    This becomes a huge issue leaving women with the short end of the stick. A man who would not want to see u progress in life may not love u after all, what happens if he looses his job or God forbid dies? Ur life and that of ur chn will change for the worse. Getting married shd not stop you, even though, then, more compromises come in.

  6. The UntouchableJune 05, 2009 5:22 AM

    Nice article!

    I think ur Swazi friend has somehow got feminism twisted. In relationships, there are three'lifes'- my life, his life and our life[together]! Never the need to be selfish like that swazi woman is suggesting after being taken for a ride by 110 men!

    No offence but it seems she is bitter and was just writing to attack or get back at her ex-es or just writing for writing sakes.
    Most women chant 'i am a feminist' yet are so so needy and arent anywhere near being a feminist when u get closer to them. To such i'd say, 'only let ur deeds or actions speak u as a feminist!' just like u dont go about telling people u r a lady!
    Those women who can't land themselves a man or keep a relationship would bash men and claim they hate men. What for? just because one man couldnt tolerate their overbearing and needy arses. Not all men are bad. They (the wannabe feminists) should learn to first have a relationship with themselves and their maker, then they can have a relationship with a man. Otherwise they will keep looking for a man to complete them or better still look for what they need to complete them inside of a man, when all they need to feel or become complete can only be found within themselves.

    Sigh! :)

  7. I will begin by asking a few questions:
    Which group of women started the feminist movement and why?

    Where were these found geographically?

    Why didn’t African women start feminism?

    Do we need feminism (in all its forms) in African society? Ghana? Why?

    Has the feminism movement weakened or strengthened the African (black) family
    around the world?

    What has been the effects of feminism on African(black) male and female relationships?

    I will attempt to answer some of the questions. Feminism was invented by White women who
    Felt society treated then like second class citizens. Women in the western world had been traditionally regarded as inferior to men physically and intellectually. Both law and theology had ordered their subjection. Women could not possess property in their own names, engage in business, or control the disposal of their children or even of their own persons. Such a situation called for a more equitably and thus feminism was born.

    If we as African women are to subscribe to this belief and indeed way of life, then the conditions that that called for its creation must exist in our own society to begin with. Before the Europeans arrived, were married women of the Akan group taking their husbands names? I know for certain Ga/Krobo women certainly weren’t. I have read a bit about Igbo and Yoruba history and they weren’t either. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that most tribes in Africa weren’t practicing this. It came with the Europeans. White women of any descent just started going to war and I am yet to hear of any one of them leading their men to war like Yaa Asantewaa. If she did this a couple centuries ago and those who created feminism are just beginning to have a taste of warfare then African women are already enjoying equal footing in almost all spheres of society with our men. Did we ever need feminism?

    Second, if feminism is teaching us to expect equal pay with our men, then are we willing as African /Ghanaian women to foot all bills 50-50 as well? Has equal pay diminished our desire to have a man who will take total responsibility for our financial wellbeing? Are we any less attracted to rich affluent men? The answer is a big no. If anything, we desire them more than ever before.

    I don’t think the conditions that gave birth to feminism in the West were ever present in Ghana or Africa.I will liken African women taking on full blowm feminism to taking morphin for a headache instead of tylenol.If inequality exists in our part of world, feminist theories do not hold the answer.It will continue to exasterbate the little problem we had initially. I will answer the rest of the questions later.

  8. @Marian. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. It pushes the conversation further and that's exactly what we need in here. Feminism was invented by white women and their lives were different in many ways from the lives of African women however I find that several elements of feminism remail relevant for the African context. My great grand-aunt owns lands in her own name, she built houses, and has farms and when she speaks, her voice is heard,so looking at these, one might say that she does not need feminism however She is also the only one among her siblings who never went to school. All her brothers got educated to University level! She never stepped in a classroom because it was assumed that women did not need to go.

    Of course it may be said that since formal education was instituted in Ghana by the white man, he brought also the european view that only men were fit to go. If so, then one may say that African women may not have needed feminism before the interferance in african civilisations by the white man. But since our ways of life were changed by our contact with white people, we also adopted the gender-inequity from them, and so we now see the same inequities. We borrowed their system of marriage and giving names, which says the woman takes the man's name and the kids only take the man's name.

    African societies were patriarchal even before the white man.The uncle was supposed to take care of his sister's children. Why the uncle? Still, this may have been a better system than the one we currently have since an uncle could not abandon his sister's children (if he did, the whole society would descend on him) in the way that fathers (who are supposed to take care of children in this new european-inspired era) now do.

  9. continuation...

    About spliting 50-50, i believe feminism makes recommendations, not rules. Personally I don't believe in splitting anything 50-50. I think my partner should contribute, but we'll figure our our own system. I live in Ghana and I go out mostly with men. I always contribute to the bill. I've found that most Ghanaian men object whenever I want to split the bill but over time, some of my male friends have accepted my contributions and we always split two ways or he pays one time and i pay the next time. I also have friends who insist on paying all the time. I let them but I continue to offer. Maybe not many women do this, but some, like me, do.

    Are we less attracted to rich affluent men? Maybe. Personally, I'm not moved by riches or affluence. My philosophy is the wealth/stature of my partner does not change who I am. In fact, i may be diminished if i hide behind someone else's wealth because i may never discover how high I can soar. If i want to live in the presidential palace badly, my line of action would be to run for elections not marry the president. This outlook has emboldened me to date men because of who they are as opposed to what they have. always. I don't think i'm unique in adopting this way of looking at the world . i imagine other african women do it too.

    Let me also add that i don't think it's african women who desire afluent men. It's human nature. People are attracted to successful people. Today more and more men are attracted to successful women. They're looking out for someone who can support them to pay that mortgage just as women are looking for the same. And even though some men intentionally marry down, i think at the heart of it, they're just responding to their social conditioning which says your wife should not have more money than you. But they love the woman with money just as a woman loves a man with money. No man has ever turned down a gift from me! Clarks shoes, Nikes, suits, iphones, video games...they love it just as much as i love mountains and mountains of books.

    Like joke, a man has to be able to support himself but i don't think that many women care so much abt wealth. Personally i'd rather take a poor guy who is a well-mannered gentleman than a rich but gauche guy (read: unrefined or bush. lol) who is going to embarass me in public when he just opens his mouth at any angle and laughs,and beats his chest. lol.

    Also even in the west, the focus of feminism has changed over time. At some point, it was getting women the vote, then it was getting them into colleges, then it was getting them into traditionally male-dominated spheres of work. Then pioneer feminists like Betty Friedan looked at how class, sexuality, and race add to the debate. In Africa some studies have looked at the exclusion of women from the history books. Why does the billboard at ridge in Accra read "founding fathers of africa". Were there no founding mothers? Of course there were! Women were an important part of the african nationalist struggle. When you look at how women's contributions have not been accounted for, you see the creator of african history as a black can't fail but acknowlege that we too have a system that needs tweaking and feminism just might provide some answers

  10. For those saying white women invented feminism:

    white women may have dominated the early women's movement in the U.S. and used racism to exclude women of color but they definitely did not invent feminism

    oh and google 'Alysa Stanton'... you mentioned something about women becoming rabbis

  11. Oh yay! news about Alysa Stanton is really exciting! I don't even know her and i'm so psyched. Thanks for sharing NinaG. Now lemme go check out the other link:)

  12. A really important post (buts what with the different sized fonts?) and following discussion.

    We all live in a patricarchal society, be it in the west or in Africa as Esi points out. But I believe Marion is also right that women also have a very different role in Africa compared to the west and consequently "African feminism" need to take that into account. Especially be inspired by old times' queen mother institutions and role in politics.

    There are advantages to living in a couple and society pressure us to comply. Therefore, I urge all who are interested in this debate to also discuss with your partner - last names, roles in the household etc maybe cannot be divided 50-50 at all times, but they sure can be up for debate!

    Thanks for starting the discussion, Esi.

  13. @Kajsa, thanks for adding your voice to the conversation. As for the different sized fonts, it's a problem with blogger. This is not the first time i'm experiencing it. I can't tell you how many times i've tried to resize :( Does anyone have a solution? Maybe this should encourage me to host my own blog. Been thinking about it for a while. Any web designers in this space?

  14. I just have to say, I loved the title of this article. interesting read. too lazy (busy?) to type up a proper comment.

  15. Given all the benefits that we can all (Men included) reap from feminism, are there male feminist?

  16. Oh yes, anonymous. One of my all time favorite male friends is a self-described feminist. Shout out Quincy Amoah:) I couldn't resist giving you mad props.

  17. i get you!

    but feminists??? now wonder there has been the unneeded tip-over the cliff.

    feminists??? i rather careful!

  18. Every society has its own way of dealing with its problems. Americans tailor solutions to problems that arise in line with their culture and after critical discussion among themselves. That is one interesting, magnificent feature about this country; their ability to look critically at their problem and find solutions by eliminating alternatives. If our culture, concerning how women are treated needs “tweaking” as Esi put it, then it should be done by us the natives. Not foreigners or with foreign ideologies like feminism. But I want to ask WHAT EXACTLY needs or needed to be changed about the role Ghanaian women played in our society? Was it preference given to educating boys? And what else? If that was the problem, has feminism succeeded in educating more girls in Ghana? Was it carried out the way we would have desired? What price have we had to pay for it as a country?

    I am not against girl education at all if that is what you are thinking. Rather, I believe in us finding solutions that will solve our problems whiles protecting the culture and the way of life of the people. That is what other nations who are prospering seem be doing. The Asians have successfully developed by looking inwards, not out.

    Feminism was intended to do more than just put White women in the work force or guarantee them equal pay. They were out to change the very way they believed White women were socialized: to feel inferior to men and remain on the backburner. It is no wonder that most White women (not so much those of our generation) tend to lack confidence and come across as being rather timid. Not your typical African/Black woman who usually exudes confidence. For this to happen, they had to change the very culture in which they had been raised. Feminism was used to achieve that. They changed everything from school curriculums (primary to university) to toys little White girls played with to sports activities they engaged in, to investing in shoulder pads to look more “capable?” I remember my moms used to love them and I always wondered what on earth they were for. According to this website shoulder pads’ exploded in the 80's when working women wanted shoulders as broad as the men’s in the workplace. The pads weren’t just to extend the shoulders, they also added height. Our Ghanaian mothers jumped on the shoulder pad bandwagon not having a clue that shoulder pads were meant to make White women feel more “powerful” …like men.

    Not to deviate from the topic, feminism has helped us little in Ghana.Very little. We can attribute the increase in divorce rates and broken families to role reversal in the Ghanaian family. Lets’ not fool ourselves, western society started seeing an increase in divorce rates after the first wave of feminist women began in the thirties. So more Ghanaian women are in parliament now. More women own businesses in Ghana, but people seem to forget that women have traditionally run the market place in Ghana and most of Africa. We have traditionally been the traders, unlike the Western world where mom and pop stores were not even under White women’s control. So yes, they did have bigger inequalities. We didn’t. With broken families comes crime and every other kind of antisocial behavior. So before we start singing the praises of what Feminism has done for Ghanaian women, think about the effects of role reversal in our homes, of the higher divorce rates,cultural erosion, fatherlessness, homosexuality as a result of children growing up in dysfunctional homes(I don’t care how much anybody disagrees with me) fewer employment options for our young men because the women have usurped a lot in the workplace and in higher education (and yet we expect them to be the breadwinner(Speak the truth what women dosen't love a solid provider). I don’t think we ever understood what we were in for when we signed this Feminist agreement.

    The main point I want to make is that we cannot cut our coat according to someone else's cloth.

  19. feminism was started in the west to solve western problems i agree with Marian but what disagree with her on is whether we need it her in the form it is in the west. honestly we imported western culture and western problems along with them we did not sift the good from the bad so i guess we have to import some of the feminist ideals too.i whole heartedly agree with Esi feminism is not about sharing 50-50 or even sharing using any ratio but it is about having the choice to do that it or not to this. i may not want to go to school but i want it to be up to me to decide. i may want to take my husband name or not but i want to make the decision on my own. women need men and men need women the human race is one needy race but also the human is also a race that can easily adapt to changing circumstances. and anyway most women are splitting bill with heir husband 50-50 or according to the level of the salaries some women even have their salaries passing through their husbands accounts.

  20. great post Esi, I think the most essential point you make is in the title and at the very end of the article - feminism really isn't about women not needing men, as unnatural as that sounds - it's about women and men treating each other 'fairly'. It's a great way to put it.

    I could feel your passion all throughout the article. And I admire your openness in sharing how you view yourself wrt the 'other' in a relationship. I think many times women err on both ends of that emotional spectrum, but it seems you've struck a wonderful balance that embodies great appreciation for the other's complementary qualities as well as a conviction in your ability to thrive independently. A very mature place to be!

    - Sunskreen

  21. Mine oh Mine!! you are right on point! another good one. Keep it up

  22. I think some people are seriously misunderstanding feminism and its relevance to Africans and Ghanaians.

    @Marian - just to answer one of your questions about what feminism has done for Ghana? The Domestic Violence Bill was fought for by Ghanaian feminists. Oh and the conversations around the importance of having women in decision making positions as a result of having The Women's Manifesto - that was accomplished by Ghanaian feminists. Check out

    Feminism is Ghanaian, African and Global.

  23. @Nana-Which decision making positions? If you could be more specific.Weren't there queens making decisions on the political front9and owning land) and weren't Ghanaian women owning businesses b4 feminism was introduced? Feminism told us we needed change without asking our permission as to how that change was to be accomplished and that is what I was trying to emphasize. And has the Domestic Violence Bill reduced domestic violence incidents in Ghana? How has it benefited somebody like me who is neither seeking political power nor suffering at the hands of an abusive husband? For all the Ghanaian culture has sacrificed at the foot of Feminists, please tell me there is more to point to than a few political positions and a Domestic Violence Bill.

  24. Here's a comment from an anonymous poster.

    Disclosure--I'm a he.
    @marian--completely with you on the 'no-need-to-change-your-name' thing. However, as Esi mentioned, everyone likes success and to our minds Europeans have things we'd also like to have, which means we'll do what they do (which is ok, but not when done blindly).

    The modern African man inherited Western patriarchy (hence the whole 'Founding Fathers' business) and as far as I know no one willingly gives up power. To that extent Western feminist ideas have a role in wresting back some lost ground. Akan society, for example, is traditionally matriarchal (which doesn't also necessarily mean women have more power only that society is organized around women). So Akan women are typically in a better position traditionally than in women in Western society--they have inheritance rights, their children are the responsibility of both husbands and brothers, they pick chiefs/hold power in the absence of a chief, etc. Take a stroll through an old Akan town and most houses are named after women (usually because they built it themselves). And they definitely keep their name. So for a modern Akan woman to give up all those nice privileges is a little baffling to me. Sure, take the modern conveniences, but why surrender the traditional privileges too? You could blame Westernized education for making them unaware, but surely their own (Akan) family stories are replete with matriarchal enterprise?

  25. I love this post...another great one Esi.

    There were woman who fought in the western world as Yaa Asantewaa, ever hard of Joan of Arc??!?!?!?!

    You seem to have a deep resentment for the idea that Feminism is 'Western' ideal IMPOSED on Ghanaians to our detriment. Which I find quite amazing. Feminism has not been imposed on Ghanaian's in the slightist. If Ghanaian woman have seen that there is a need to address some gender imbalances in out societal system whatever is wrong with that?

    Feminism has ALWAYS been culturally specific, its most definately NOT a western ideal. You mentioned Asians solving their gender issues the 'Asian' way. That has ALSO been documented and is actually also called...feminism. I'll repeat, feminism is culturally specific and all feminist literature is not white American. Feminism is wide subject of far-reaching scope, and there are sub-genre's which include African (read, Ghanaian if you like) feminism.

    I am not totally ignorant of the rich matriarchal lineage and inheritance which is afforded to Akan women which is fundamentally different to that of the West. However, without the advent of a form of Ghanaian feminism women would be limited to specific sphere's one of which you point out as being the market place, yet issues pertaining to women are not limited to these spheres so we should have a say in such spheres. Equally so, men should have a bigger role in areas which in Ghana are dominated by women. For me feminism is about redressing gender imbalances imposed by the societal structure. There are definitely issues with matriarchal structures too!

    Feminism does not prescribe (in the most part) HOW change should occur in a society, it just highlights that change is necessary in certain areas. Without Ghanaian feminist movements I agree the Domestic Violence Bill would probably not have come to fruition. Granted you may not suffer domestic violence yourself but putting in structures that can help limit the violence which secretly permeates our society (male on female, often within marriages) can never be wrong. I just fail to understand how you can cast such moves as unimportant or irrelevant just because they do not personally affect you, which is what your post implies. That is a disappointing and dangerously, selfish view point.

    LASTLY (finally! you sigh!), I strongly disagree that FEMINISM is the REASON or CAUSE of a raise in divorce rates. Bringing female concerns onto the social and political agenda may have given many woman hope, courage and strength to leave relationships which were abusive and detrimental to these women. Granted, they did not perhaps have the option decades before but giving people a way out of a life a misery is nothing to be sneered at.

  26. The most popular form of feminism which has been totally accepted by society is the man-hating,strong woman character who is sometimes perceived to be a lesbian(in some cases true).But this shouldn't be the general idea of who a feminist is.There's more to it than that.

    **** The changing of the last name is not done in many African countries and it's directly associated to western culture. But that is the order of the day and we keep rolling with the punches.Something's got to give eventually.