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City of Banjul
Friday, September 18, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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Understanding our social construct, the Gambian girl

Dear editor,

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In our social setting, the Gambian girl is made to believe that she is only successful when she is appreciated by men. She’s only beautiful when she has loads of men following her and she’s only worthy when she’s married and settled down with kids. She’s made to believe that she can only be regarded as a good woman when she succumbs to her husband’s wishes regardless of how he’s treating her. She is made to believe that she can only bore good and responsible children if she yields her husband’s blessings again, it doesn’t matter how she’s treated by him.

 

The Gambian girl was brought up to please men. She was groomed to be under the control of men. She was taught to cook so she could be a chef for her husband. She was taught to wash clothes so she could be doing just that for her husband. She was trained to be the agreeable type so she could say yes to whatever her husband says without asking questions. In other words, she was born to be a servant to the husband. She’s made to believe that she has to beautify herself to please her husband. Nothing was done for the woman herself but her life was shaped and defined to please the man in her life.

 

This is what we grew up seeing in our social environment. Fast forward to the new breed of Gambian women. She is taught to be who she wants to be. She is taught to be self-sufficient. She is taught to believe in herself and no one matters but her. She’s trained to cook so she won’t starve (she teaches her sons how to cook too). She doesn’t hand-wash anymore because she has machines to do it for her. She beautifies herself because she wants to. She gets married because she’s in love with her partner and wants to settle down with him. Now, the Gambian girl decides what she wants to do with her life at last! She decides who she wants to spend it with. She’s not a subject of her man anymore but her partner. She’s not a dependent of her man anymore but a provider. She does not only have the agreeableness trait but she’s conscientious too.

 

She questions everything the man proposes and brings solutions to difficult tasks. She’s independent yet caring to her man. She doesn’t believe that she has to succumb to her husband’s demands to bear responsible children. Instead, she disciplines her children, educate them and nurture them to get the best out of them. The girl child is free at last! She now understands that all what she was made to believe were just myths and TACTICAL ways of controlling her.

 

Now that she understood all these, do you think you can still hold her down? You must be joking, because this Gambian girl is unstoppable. She’s not part of the status quo anymore. She knows her worth and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She’s dipping both hands in that mud to get what’s rightfully hers. Her voice CANNOT be silenced anymore! She’s screaming loud to be heard by all. She’s interested in how she’s governed so her voice and words will be part of the political discourse. My good Gambian men, please welcome this new breed of Gambian women! They are READY to be heard!

Fatou Camara
London, UK

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