There are many ways people pretend to be ethical. A popular way is to focus on religious identities while ignoring the substantive ways in which religious people treat others. As previously discussed, hyper-religious, post-colonial spaces like Ghana pay closer attention to whether people call themselves “Christian” or “Muslim” than to whether people treat other people with respect and dignity regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or race/ethnicity. Another way our society distorts morality is through chivalry. Chivalry, especially in a romantic context, is a set of gendered performative actions that men take in relation to women. Examples include holding the door open for women, or bringing women flowers or some gift as a token of love. Supporters of chivalry claim that the essence of chivalry is about being kind to women, yet supporters of chivalry cannot explain why this type of “kindness” has such rigid gendered rules and barriers.
Meaning, if chivalry is about kindness why do men sometimes refuse to walk through doors that women hold open? If chivalry is about kindness why do men not engage in this kind behavior with other men? Why not pull out your homie’s chair when you both go out to dinner? Adɛn, you don’t want to be kind to your homie?
This post has one goal: to discuss how teaching men and women to view chivalry as indicative of good behavior distorts morality. Continue reading
Regrettably this post exclusively focuses on sexual autonomy in a heterosexual context. The idea of “saving yourself for marriage” is a patriarchal concept that stifles women’s sexual autonomy. Even worse, “saving yourself for marriage” places women’s right to bodily ownership into men’s hands. Utilizing concepts from American Legal Jurisprudence, this essay argues that while men are given absolute ownership of their bodies, women are given the inferior possessory right of inhabitancy, rather than ownership of their bodies.
If patriarchy is a war on women, then patriarchy’s most powerful military base is in a woman’s mind. And patriarchy does an excellent job of convincing women to accept sexist value systems that justify men’s domination and women’s subjugation. I myself have had to work to rid my psyche of internalized sexist ideas. Growing up, I was a quintessential patriarchal princess; and I wanted so badly to have worth and to be a “good girl”. Thus, I embraced sexist value systems that told me that I would be worth less if a man, who was not my husband, penetrated my vagina sexually. So I was committed to “waiting until marriage” before beginning a sexual life, despite knowing that most heterosexual men were not waiting. Like most people who selectively enforce religious doctrines that warn against pre-marital sex, I was convinced that it was acceptable for men to possess the power and liberty to sexually explore, while I repressed my sexual desires in search of approval and validation from a patriarchal society. Continue reading