Where Is The Last Macho Man?



courtesy photo
Today’s man cuts a pitiable figure. A silent feminine revolution has increasingly seen women taking over key roles that traditionally have been a male’s preserve. When the likes of Maendeleo ya Wanaume (men's welfare) chairperson, Nderitu Njoka, sounds alarm over increasing cases of men being battered or subjugated by women, something has gone horribly wrong in our society!

  That the macho man of yesteryear is a wimp of today is incontestable. In name of gender equality, the male voice had been lost in Babel of confusion. A typical man in former days cut a fearful image that demanded total respect, submission and obedience in his house. No one dared contradict or question his authority. When he barked, everyone cringed. But today, the narrative is different. He is all barks but no bite, or faking a pseudo-masculinity image when his wife apparently has the upper hand. He cannot admit he is a hen-pecked or, appropriately put, kaliwa chapati man.

  From time immemorial, the manliness or mettle of a male had been tested in different ways by different societies on earth. Take some Kenyan societies for instance. During Kikuyu circumcision rituals, the boys - soon to be men - would dip themselves in freezing water early in morning, make a beeline to an ancient looking circumciser, who, without much preamble, would pull the foreskin of a penis, and without much ado, chop it out. Despite the danger of mischopping, underchopping or overchopping one’s vital ‘appendage’, flinching or showing any slightest hint of emotion was cowardly and frowned at. It mattered little if one bled to death.

  The Maasai, on other hand, could be admired for the brevity in putting out daylights out of roaming jungle cats in proving their ‘moranism’. Not omitting other Nilotic tribes who had to prove they were real ‘warriors’ by driving in with stolen livestock and women as war spoils.

  Fast forward. The brevity of a male is being tested in different ways. No man, ‘worth his name’, should show tenderness or release pent up emotions publicly. Being emotional or gentle would see one labelled a ‘sissy’. And this is what had made many men decline both physically and emotionally. Instances abound where some men releases bottled up steam in a worse way. They simply erupt like a Sumatran volcano leaving death and destruction in their wake. No wonder some families had met tragic ends this way.

  Sarah Ndung’u, a mid-twenties lady in Nakuru, says ‘ideal men’ are lacking in our society. She is yet to come across a ‘macho enough’ man as most she knows are ‘cry babies’.

  “Show me a macho enough man and I’ll tell you how he will end,” she says.

  Males, who are within her age bracket, are mommy boys who had been pampered by their mothers and are ‘girlish’.

  To her, a macho man is one successful in all aspects of his life, treats a woman well and respects them. Thus, she would not countenance the idea of moving on with a bloke dude who still resides in his parent’s home.

  Her views are echoed by Carol, another millennial youth in the same cosmopolitan town. Her ideal macho man is one who is able to provide for all the lady’s needs and treat her like a queen.

  But on the subject of total submission to such a man, she believes it would be unfair, especially as we are in the age of gender equality.

  To some men, the idea of machismo could as well be exaggerated as demands or expectations placed on one are unrealistically.

  “I don’t care of what others say if I show emotions in public so long as I’m living my life,” says Justus Mungai, a hawker. 

  He wonders what purpose it serves for anyone to go to great extent just to prove their manhood.

  Another man, who only gave his name as Kigo, observes that a man’s accomplishments are what are used as yardsticks to measure his manliness.

  “Playing by expectations of others is the last thing I would do,” he says.

  For very strange reasons, men who at one time were towers of strength declines fast. A look at elderly married couples attests this. In case where one spouse is dead, it is always the male. In case where one spouse is infirm, your bet is as better as mine. He is wheeled about, spoon-fed, washed and pampered by his still healthy wife. What has changed?

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