South African television's reinforcement of toxic gender-roles
- By LeratoEnchanted
- On 17/11/2017
- 0 comments
Being "carefree" shouldn't be a conversation left on the frosty, whistling streets of Twitter when the lights go down. It shouldn't be treated like some sort of unwanted virus that disintegrates outside of said host. Twitter has helped a lot of us moult unhealthy societal norms, which have for years been coded into our very beings. But how do we take these signifact changes to the streets and apply them so that they benefit all South Africans outside of social media?
We've grown and have since learnt a lot as South Africans the more online we've been. We now know better. We have a clearer idea of the right and wrong sides of society and we're always ready to act when an injustice occurs; especially if it's against women and children. But it isn't enough that the conversation stays online. The Internet is hardly available enough to the general South African citizen for it to be an incentive toward transfiguration in our communities.
So in theory, yes, we know better. Our healthy practices seem to go out the window as soon as we're in "real life" environments which expect us to practice what we preach online, though. An example would be a guy advocating for women's freedom of expression online, while insisting against women in his life speaking up to him.
The T.V. execs are here, they take part in the conversation. They chant for a revolution. For patriarchy to fall. They too supposedly want to introduce healthy gender-unspecific behaviour. So why are we still seeing the same toxic gender roles on our T.V. screens? Where is the positive represention? Where are healthy and equal relationships and friendships between women and men, young girls and young boys?
Are we all really that terrified to be subversive outside the coddling of our online personas?
How are our kids supposed to evolve and grow into wholesome people who aren't prejudice, and violent/submissive, according to what civilization teaches them about their gender as a form of refinement? Children are overexposed to privileged, authorative and emotionally numb men/boys, while constrasting this against overlooked, tyrannised and disheartened women/girls. This is a worrying conjecture. This is what children take to heart and eventually mimic and project on school playgrounds.
The changing social climate suggests that we want to empower our little girls and do away with toxic and extremist behaviours in our young boys. But what are we doing to counteract these methodical gender pacts from festering in our young children? Truly, what actions are we taking?
In a country that leads the world in sexual violence rankings globally, you'd think the media would assume the responsibility to want to inspire change. We instead get shows where the woman and young girls are constantly depicted in ways which suggest that they're no good if they don't have a male article to inspire their purpose. They're no good if they're not serving. And if they're no good, they deserve to be violated and punished. We're constantly fed married women being cheated on and weathering abuse because that's what women have been surmised to; strong and unwavering, but if only this ability serves to absorb taunt by male counterparts.
Even the "small" and seemingly harmless stuff like expecting the girl to do all the chores while the boy lie waste on the sofa have a bigger influence on how our girl and boy children relate to each other. So cut it out, South African showrunners! Be a better influence to our young and growing minds. Cultivate a new ground that cuts at the core of epidemics in this country instead of feeding into the fire. Show us young boys who cry, let us us see men who love and care for their families unconditionally. Show us strong-willed women who don't need to climb on the shoulders of a man to be seen and appreciated; leave young girls to be their smart, firm and unapologetic selves on screen. Show everyone that it's possible to admire and appreciate one another no matter our gender. South Africans, more than anything, take their television seriously; use this fact to everyone's advantage!