Francisca Mandeya


Mother, Behold Thy Son


Mother, Behold Thy Son



Patriarchy vs. Love—the highest 
form of power

Patriarchy vs. Love

— the highest form

opower

Francisca Mandeya
Author

5 minute read

Love is unconditional. Mothers have always had this love power. The love of a mother is unconditional; it is eternal. Now is the time to harness the power of love and when we do, patriarchy and misogyny will be disarmed; we can then dismantle them at their core. The result? True gender equality. Please don’t think I am naïve, that I don’t know how long the journey has been, and how much further there is to go. What I do know is that without love, we cannot achieve our goal.

Mother, Behold Thy Son includes a charge for everyone across all genders. Let’s collectively dispel the myth that women are too weak to shape the next generation of leaders. Let’s embrace empowered women. At the same time, we must recognize the damage inflicted on our sons—socialized in and into a patriarchal system, often (mis) guided by their parents, schools, faith communities, cultural groups, the media, government, and various other institutions.

We need to prepare boys and young men to engage—with empowered girls and women—in healthy relationships. It may be challenging, scary even, to prepare boys for equality in the #MeToo era but prepare them we must. In the culture of almost any country, male dominance is the norm. Simply put, the system of patriarchy claims that men are better than, more respected than, and more deserving of privilege than are women. Unfortunately, men are not the only ones who believe this myth. Since #MeToo began, men have been under almost constant scrutiny. While men in my native Zimbabwe, the rest of Africa, and other countries with similar attitudes about gender may not yet be under the same scrutiny, more and more African girls and women are asserting their rights. In this environment opportunities are emerging for men to redefine what manhood means to them and to acknowledge the flawed social structures they have never questioned because of the privileges they enjoy. Once they take the risk and admit that they recognize how they have benefitted from a biased system, they will be positioned to join women on a journey to gender equality. After all, patriarchy also burdens men with unrealistic expectations. We must redefine masculinity so males can extricate themselves from the system that harms them far more than it serves them.

Today, there is a growing movement around the world of men in dozens of countries working to disrupt the patriarchal mindset. Women and men are collaborating on efforts to collectively dismantle this oppressive system. Women, especially mothers, are in the forefront of those working to free themselves from their socially prescribed roles as gatekeepers of patriarchy. They are leading the way for real change in gender relations. They are uniquely positioned Mother Behold Thy Son to influence this shift by leveraging their personal, relational power with their sons. I know this is true because it is rooted in my personal experience. I have a son. In my private sphere, I see radical change taking place. I worked hard to remove any inner bias that might have undermined my ability to speak to my son the same way I would speak to my daughters.

Some might challenge me that, “engaging in dialogue about the private sphere” is intrusive. I disagree. I dare to knock on every mother’s door, pounding hard, reverberating my truth. I will stand before the doors that open and share with the women inside a vision to feed their souls, an invitation in the spirit of sisterhood of women standing together defying efforts to silence us, rejecting the notion that the “private sphere must remain private.” We will, we must, speak truth to power.

We know what it is to shrink, become invisible when a man makes us feel small with words alone. As mothers, we recognize the trauma our children experience and the lessons they learn daily when they witness abuse. No more! We refuse to be beaten. We refuse to be silenced. We refuse to have our children traumatized and scarred. Today, we seek equality. Today, equality begins. Today, we will not sit in our righteousness, rather we will tell our stories authentically and use our maternal power for good. Today, the culture in which silence thrives will cease. Today, invisible chains of silence will no longer bind us. We will no longer stand by 18,000- pound elephant strokes men’s egos. Today, we are collectively extinguishing Hell’s fire, claiming our divine birthright as queens—and kings—at the table of love, peace, honor and equality.

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