For a while now I’ve been meaning to address the issue of hypermasculinity in Botswana. As a young gay white male in Botswana, I am considered to be a seriously precious commodity – haha! I know what its like to want to identify yourself as an individual, be it going vegan, dying your hair or embarking on a journey of spiritual enlightenment.
Self identity forms the basis of many right of passage stories and I strongly feel that people should be allowed to freely explore themselves as long as they do not harm anyone else on their journey of self discovery. Many teachers, parents and institutions positively encourage personal growth amongst the youth, however; just how encouraged are the young men of Botswana motivated to explore themselves and identify themselves as individuals?
This is a very volatile topic of discussion, so I will keep it concise. We need to stop the constant shaming of men who show emotion, men who wear skinny jeans, men who offer a standing woman their chair, men who refuse to have sex on their first date, men who show respect for people who are seen as less superior to them by society. All shaming of men who are positively impacting society through being genuine gentlemen must stop.
Perhaps this issue begins at home, in the way young boys are brought up to be strong and firm, these are admirable traits yes, but maybe while they are being hammered into young boys minds, they are dissolving all compassion and generosity. I feel as though, not allowing a young boy to cry because it is seen as unmanly, could have serious repercussions later on when the boy has grown into a man.
We often hear of heinous crimes committed against Batswana women here in Botswana by Batswana men, maybe this can be attributed to a psychological factor in men caused by their upbringing – these are not facts, merely my thoughts.
Young men need to be positively encouraged to express themselves openly. Only liberation should come from self expression not condemnation.
Dotse Tsheko was the model I selected for this blog. He is the quintessential young athletic jock. He plays rugby, works out and has a tight knit squadron of mates his age, however he is the most gentle guy I know, his compassion struck me when he walked me to my combi and made sure I was seated comfortably before leaving me to find his combi in the dark.
Dotse embodies the message I am trying to convey to young Batswana men – be open to new things, find yourself in new experiences and be brave enough to admit to yourself that you like what you’ve found once you’ve found it. Oh, Dotse has the most gorgeous girlfriend ever and he treats her like gold.
Thank you for reading about my ideas and views.