Is your son a sissy?
Many of our current social issues are inseparable from gender and human-sexuality concerns. When boys continue to see speaking English as being for sissies, as referenced in The Sunday Gleaner story on September 6, 2015, you know we are losing big time from the false gender-specific assumptions plaguing the society.
It is now effeminate for a boy to be smartly dressed. Instead, the crude display of underwear is a declaration of manhood. Yes. Now we know that you are indeed a man.
It is also sissy behaviour to hold the door for someone while you exit a room. Let the door slam behind you. Never mind if it hits the person who was about to enter. After all, you are a real man.
Sometime ago, I had to address a group of youngsters between ages 15 and 18. When I greeted them, "Good morning, gentlemen," I received the retort, "Gentle, sir? None a wi nuh gentle. Wi a jus man!"
It is now common practice for boy toddlers to be greeted with a fist bump, since that is supposedly manly. "A suh man fi dweet!" said a father as he 'corrected' the well-known handshake.
The report on bullying in our schools should come as no surprise. It would not be surprising if many of the bullies are also males. "A bwoy mus nuo ow fi wrispek man."
Do we see the connection between many of our social ills and the gender-identity confusion?
I am proposing that a more positive approach to the Jamaican language might also make a difference. It is considered more manly, since it is seen as an anything-goes language, which is far from the truth. It is a language with its own rules of grammar, syntax, diction, and usage. It has order. Our boys need more capacity with literacy and thinking skills.
Since 'real man nuh wear boots', it is easy to see how the spread of HIV and various STIs gets a boost by those extra-macho men who must protect their treasured masculinity at all costs.
The gender-identity confusion in the society is at alarming proportions! While boys are increasingly under pressure to prove and parade 'maleness', girls are increasingly paying for this unfolding process. They must be objectified, catcalled, demanded, held in subjection, demeaned, and anything that will show the supremacy of masculinity and the inferiority of femininity.
Jamaica needs a massive education campaign! But this will take leadership that is able to move beyond political expediency and religious bigotry.
In the political arena, people want road and water. On the religious landscape, many are preoccupied with who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell.
There is no escaping this difficult road of gender identity at the crossroads with the patriarchal one-way. It cannot be built for us, by the Chinese. This is a highway of hearts and minds and will; a uniquely Jamaican highway that only we can build for ourselves.