Rethink archaic notions of manhood
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The recent awkward incident involving Jamaican cricketer Chris Gayle and a female journalist is probably a good launch area to have discourse on Caribbean masculinity.
The construct of Caribbean masculinity needs to be re-examined in light of the Chris Gayle incident involving female Australian journalist Mel McLaughlin.
Gayle's sexually coded comments were inappropriate. He was fined for his sexually suggestive remarks to the journalist who, after all, was only doing her job in trying to get an interview with him.
Historically, the threads of masculinity and manhood have been deeply entrenched and linked to the sexual objectification and harassment of women. Alarmingly, not much has changed in the 21st century, and the prognosis suggests not much will change any time soon. This toxic notion of masculinity is very much celebrated throughout the society and is being eagerly passed on to our boys, especially when juxtaposed with our homophobic culture.
Disturbingly, our education system offers very little to counter this skewed notion of masculinity, which is negatively impacting gender relationship, and the academic achievement of our boys. Gender relations are at an all-time low. This is evident in the increase in domestic violence in the society.
Strangely enough, many of our women still gravitate towards males who display this sort of primitive notion of masculinity. I hope this incident will be a learning experience not only for those who were directly involved, but to the wider society. We need to confront the relentless sexist remarks that are allowed to escape daily.
It is obvious that many males are unaware of the distinction between giving a lady a compliment and resorting to sexism. This tells us that much more work is required in the areas of gender and development. The hegemonic spell of this crude notion of masculinity must be broken if we are to encourage harmonious gender relations not only in the workplace but the wider society.