Are there double standards around men and women’s sexualities? How true is this in Ghana and Africa? Why do men cheat? Why do women cheat? How does society respond when a man cheats? How is this response different when a woman cheats? Just a few of the questions I have posed on my fellow blogger’s Ms Cleland’s site at http://maameous.blogspot.com/
Let me know your thoughts
10 comments On Double standards around sexualities?
I find that the general idea about cheating in Ghana is that it is almost normal for men to cheat. It seems that many Ghanaians think men can’t/do not have to be monogamous. A man cheating is forgivable and sometimes acceptable. For women though, it is unforgivable and unacceptable. I hardly ever hear stories about women cheating. Then again, with the youth, I see a new idea evolving that sees girls or young women cheating as an unsurprising and almost normal now.
African men are allowed to cheat to their hearts' content, and we have a culture continent-wide in which for whatever odd reason, many African women don't bat an eye when it comes to sleeping with somebody else's husband.
I know women who've been mistresses since their early twenties (or late teens) and somehow feel they are in a 'privileged' position. There are women in Africa who desire being a man's mistress, something I have never been able to understand.
No one ever judges the man. If discovered, the mistress might get accosted by the wife (and her friends or sisters), but the man, most often, he walks away scott free. To do it again.
But woe unto the African woman who is discovered cheating. She will be pegged a 'harlot', 'prostitute' or worse. Then both families, the village, the neighbourhood, the pastor, all and sundry etc. get involved in condemning her. The husband (who himself is probably cheating) demands to take the children away, casts the wife out of the home with nothing, and he most likely has an 'auntie' (the woman he has been having on the side all along) move in with him and the children.
It is very sad for African women.
Interesting questions..Ironically, I recently had this same discussion with my (all male) office-mates.
The way I see it (excuse the pseudo-intellectual socio-babble), Ghanaian society and many other African societies have very clear almost rigid gender roles that are accepted as the social norm. Men are viewed as the virile, masculine paternal providers. Women are the nurturing, maternal, subservient feminine homemakers. Any deviation from the norm is generally frowned upon. So if a man (especially a wealthy one) decides to have a girlfriend, that is socially accepted since he is proving that he is virile. In our office we debated whether it was okay for a 60 year old (married) man to date a 23 year old girl. I was disgusted but my one office-mate told me that it was fine since he was proving that “he can still fire!”
The extent to which it is socially accepted for men to cheat is evident in our 24-hour Ghanaian political circus. How many times has a politician smeared his opponent with an allegation that he is cheating on his wife? They may joke about politicians getting in car accidents after a midnight tryst at a girlfriend’s house or the irony of a politician getting a woman pregnant at an HIV/AIDS conference but if you have noticed the issue is never about cheating on their spouse! MMMM… a case of “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” ?
Of course if a woman starts cheating on her spouse it is viewed as an abomination and she is labeled as a prostitute because she is deviating from the accepted norm.
i just founded out about your blog, thanks to sting.
Well society views it as a man’s world. A man can get away with anything, but when it comes to a woman, she is an ashewo(prostitute).
I really don’t know why people cheat; maybe they are bored, maybe they want variety in their realtionship. who really knows.
I think it is changing though. in my circle of friends (and i am pretty young – early twenties) everyone looks down on men and women cheating alike. every other acquaintance i know despises cheats – men or women, and those who believe in sexual freedom believe in it for men and women (in fact, the guys tsk tsk that nowadays, the women are just as free and explorative as they are, lol). Times are changing, there is hope for us yet.
@abbynah – thanks for sharing.What do you think lies behind the "youth" seeing cheating as normal now?
@bijou – you paint such a vivid picture, I can almost see in technicolour the woman who has been cheating being driven out of her house, whilst the man moves his "new" (in reality the woman he has had on the side for years) into the "matrimonial" home.
@Abena – I love pseudo pyscho-intellectual socio babble so please continue to indulge me. As if to further butress your point the Daily Graphic of today (June 4th)is reporting that the Sports Minister allegedly took his girlfriend with him to Ivory Coast…the issue of him having a girlfriend (I am sure he is married) is a non-issue
@BSNC – Welcome! Stay tuned in and thanks for sharing
@Darian – thanks for being an optimist. Seriously we can only hope in change for the better
Ha Ha …. Why Men Cheat …
In Society They Do So Cos They Can and Do Get Away wit It ……Ive Heard Stories of Women Saying..Wait For It …At least he takes care of his duties …usually Meaning he Provides for Them (I dont get it ??).
Whoopy Do! …No Gold Star For Doing Wat Gud Men Do Every Day …And More, such as Spending Quality Time with the Family, being a Role Model etc etc No-one Mentions the Utter Disrespect of Tha Wife, Children,and Emotional Issues That Arise ….Holla !
Forgetting that in yrs gone by it was STD's their Poor Wives had ta Contend wit….Now Its HIV -Aids!
People are forgetting the Impact of disease on the family due to his deeds…the Stigma, Shame etc that is all so not Necessary!…..
Been away for a while and totally thrilled with the post on virginity and this one. The issue of double standards CLEARLY applies to that discussion as well.
What amazes me the most are the reasons Ghanaian men give (I heard this on joyfm) for cheating. E.g: if my wife can't cook then I can sleep with the house girl. Excuse me what!? The flimsiest excuse for infidelity I have ever heard (and I have heard many). Including, my wife's breasts are sagging now so I need a young girl. One really really has to wonder how the concept of marriage/monogamous relationship (I prefer the word "partnership") is understood in this cultural context.
Some older Ghanaian men believe women have no sexual feelings and perform there duties in the bedroom as a matter or course. And that even within marriage they can be as promiscuous as they want hey I’m here to tell you the married women are cheating big time. Cheating by married women over 40 in Ghana is a reality I know it from experience.
Maybe because they are ignored and are taken for granted and the fact that there husbands think they would never do such a thing works very much in there favour and they know it Ghanaian women can be very cunning.
Just remember men brag about there sexual encounters women don’t.
@Jennifer – True! I think that generally men cheat because they can get away with it. Especially in some contexts where it is totally accepted for a man to chear
@Preacher;s wife – Charle, sometimes these phone in’s on Joy give me palpitations! I managed to get through once to express my point of view but sometimes I just have to switch stations
@Jamaican man – I have no doubt that women cheat too. I think its interesting that you say in your experience married Ghanaian women over 40 cheat. In a post on Ms Cleland’s blog at http://maameous.blogspot.com/2009/05/are-ghanaian-women-hypocrites.html I wrote about an older Ghanaian men telling me that Ghanaian women are hypocritical because they wait to get married BEFORE they cheat. Why is that?