It’s about the nail

This really quite funny video highlights the inability sometimes of women to be able to express themselves.

Video

Miriam_Kings

So the idea of the woman as crazy is something that has been created since Victorian women were seen as weak, and has continued through Hollywood movie culture in the way that the majority female leading/supporting roles are either crazy, and/or having violence committed against them in some way.

This is because it’s very watchable for the male gaze to feel powerful, because, among many other reasons it replicates the way women have always been seen as the weaker sex in terms of – not being able to own property, go to work, be independent – be fully ‘adult’.

This video portrays the woman as crazy, (its obviously the nail!) but highlights an important point in forms of a discourse between men and women.

Every human being wants to be listened to, sometimes it’s not about the problem (nail), it’s about being heard. A friend of mine, Penny, was recently recounting that there were instances at her work place where she has seen people complain, talk, and once they have got it off their chest they are happy – i.e. it’s not necessarily about the problem (they can fix that themselves), it’s about telling somebody about the problem, so they are aware what that colleague is going through.

Often women feel that they can’t get their point across, and men cannot undersand why they find it so complicated.

Why can’t men understand?

Because men have been trained throughout their life through Internet through the news channels and through seeing their fellow ‘men’ public speaking, that: they are allowed to talk, and their opinion is valued.

Statistics

In the public sphere according to a review of the below studies, men speak or are visible approximately x4 more than women! (that’s 75% of time/column inches)

–          Movies: Only 28.4 percent of speaking roles in the top 100 films of 2012 went to women.

–          Newspapers: 78% of front-page articles are written by men, and 84% of those quoted or mentioned are male http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/oct/14/sexist-stereotypes-front-pages-newspapers

–          Radio: Women make up only 20% of solo radio broadcasters, research reveals.

–           & a study finds four times more male experts than female appear on Today and TV bulletins http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jul/12/women-solo-radio-broadcasters-20-percent

–          Politics: Congress is 80 percent male & in the UK: in 2012 there were more people in government called Dave and Nick than there were women MP’s.

Women get the idea that their opinion is valued x4 times less. It is this – rather than the nail – which is embedded in our society.

Until Radio, TV and Newspapers start consciously promoting women into visible roles, new generations  won’t understand that either.
This video makes a joke about women not being heard, which is a certain cultural truth, which is why people feel it is so poignant.

Why I find it uncomfortable is that it’s poking fun at the woman as crazy,  instead of exploring why the woman is unheard.

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The man i saw walking home

Coming from the studio I walk from the background of this picture (south), to the foreground of this picture (north).

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The roundabout behind this picture is marked by a huge billboard,

‘Nairobi, Meet Istanbul!’

‘Widen your world’  The trendy advert for Turkish Airlines temps passers by.

I cross a Zebra and turn onto another road with a wide pavement. It’s 5.40pm and there is a hazy feel as the sun is setting through a fair amount of cloud. Many people are walking home, mainly on their own, some women in pairs, or threes. The commuter’s pace of walk is not slow, yet it is not fast, like the London commute, there is no need.

A woman walking with another lady has two five-litre bottles of water balanced on her head in a plastic bag. The tie of the plastic bag keeping the bottles companionably close together. The bottoms of the bottles make an upside down shallow V shape on top of her head.

She looks comfortable though I’m sure it’s relatively heavy.

I pass the women to see an old man walking slowly on my left. His legs look thin in his slightly baggy trousers, a size or two too big. I wonder if he has a meal waiting for him when he got home. It looks like it is a struggle for him to walk.

I briefly consider handing him a note, but before I have a chance to work out if that would be socially acceptable, I walk past.

The Drinks Party, Nairobi

28th June 2015

The drinks party was an intelligent crowd of NGO workers and Kenyans; High flying journalist, teacher, Architect-turned- african livestock specialist, an uber-cool fashion stylist and entrepreneur).

The first person I met was Hussain, a chatty Muslim, Nairobian, (who eats pork), who enjoys participating in Ramadan each year.

‘Do you know the town Luton?’

‘A group of Muslims there have taken over the town, over-ridden the town!’.

Wondering what I’d missed on the news. (Guest next to me: ‘I didn’t see that on BBC news’) I see a video on his phone shot by a far-right group ‘visiting’ Luton.

The video is taken from inside a car, framing a bald middle-aged man talking to the camera from the driving seat, live-reportage style. Bearded apparent Muslims outside the car, wagging their fingers, or shaking their fists at the car interior, looking angry.

‘This is not the way to behave’ Hussain said, talking of the angry mob of Muslims.

He told me he had seen another YouTube video where a Luton Muslim, got into a heated argument with the ‘live-reporter’ in the car, and punched him through the window.

‘It’s not not the way to behave’ Hussain said again.

Avon for Medicine

I spoke to a guy who is implementing 18 ‘hubs’ distributing medicine through an Avon model. Current trained medical Kenyan volunteers, are able to distribute (sell) medicine) thereby becoming paid workers by making profit. Tried and tested in Uganda already, and works apparently.

Later on I was talking to somebody else:

‘Oh, you have met so-and-so?’ (meaning the guy above). ‘Who sells using the Avon model?’ The other guest went on to say that there is a lack of trust in purchasing medicine from Local Chemists, from bogus advice being given.

I imagine Faith (my sisters’ Godmother, who worked for us when we were young children) selling medicine to her community Avon style, and walking around on daily errands, also distributing (selling) medicine.

Faith would be trustworthy, as she is an outstanding carer for her community. Surely there is a risk of a few rouge distributers capitalising in the same way as the shops did by pushing unnecessary medicine onto their customers? Or capitalising through various nuanced subconscious methods?

The model is based on the fact that it is easier to act immorally as a business to a group of people who are not in your social circle, than face-to-face with somebody you have social connections with.