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By Kabelo Mollo
Am I the only one feeling like the year is off to something of a sluggish start? There’s something about the year that just refuses to kick in to gear. But be that as it may we keep plodding on with the belief that something will eventually ignite it. Quite what the spark will be we don’t know…
This past Saturday I stumbled upon the most fascinating thread. Linked to it was an article the contents wherein made me think deeply about the situation in Maseru. The thread was related to a study that showed there is a chasm forming between young men and women. In general, generational peers behave and think the same in spite of gender.
But the infographic and thread I was reading shows that, with Gen Z there is a split between boys and girls. Younger women are getting increasingly more liberal, while younger men are increasingly more conservative. The research is conducted mainly in Asia, Europe and America. To this end, variables like the “Me too” movement which caught something of a wildfire in these locales plays a significant part in the outcome. Moreover, liberal agendas in first world countries are promulgated widely and freely.
The reason the research caught my attention was the social media fallout related to the incident at The Market restaurant recently. A group of young, independent, dare I say “woke” people were at their wits’ end trying to figure out how they could exact a measure of retribution on the establishment for what they believed was a (deeply) flawed initial statement that seemed to be indulging in “victim blaming”.
This fairly radical group was filled with young men and women who support feminism and believe in ending patriarchy. The opposition which was as silent as it was present seemed to be young men and women opposed to feminist ideals. Those much more inclined to patriarchy and all that goes with it. It was an interesting spectacle from the outside looking in. The partisan views expressed by either side seemed to confirm the studies hypothesis.
In my own life and group of 30-something friendships I realise we are definitely becoming more and more conservative. I have mentioned before in this column that many of my views today are at odds with my liberal sensibilities.
Indeed, more and more I am finding that I am “the box” that needs to be thought outside of. It is annoying and frustrating but in my mind also practical and sound. I do believe there are some freedoms that need to be curtailed and I often wonder whether indeed democracy in its current guise is what’s best for us.
These are questions I would not have asked myself 15, let alone 20 years ago. Back when I was a passionate firebrand who believed an egalitarian society was what was best and that in fact a modicum of anarchy was requisite in order for life to fully mean something.
At my big age I can’t imagine anarchy being of any use. Practically I know egalitarianism can’t work and I don’t have even a pang of regret for these feelings. So, I wonder then whether it is normal that there are 20- and 22-year olds who are already vibrating on this same wavelength?
Aren’t our 20s about exploration? Aren’t they about wildly impractical solutions that the stiff adults hadn’t thought about? I mean, are they not about thinking outside the afore mentioned box? Are these conservative 20 year olds not skipping a necessary life stage in the name of “survival”? Because the research seems to suggest the hardline stance is to protect some idea of masculine survival. It concerns me. The much talked about toxic masculinity is in danger of stealing an important developmental milestone for parts of the generation.
How, I wonder do we foster better understanding and somehow reunite the warring factions? As the old adage goes, there is unity in strength. Division only stands to weaken us, so where is the grey area that can be used as a meeting place? In September I’ll be 40. Well and truly adulting, so in reality I should be concerning myself with matters like retirement annuities and education plans for my spawn, but this matter has really intrigued me. Where to from here?