For 3 weeks now, a Facebook pressure group that calls itself the PepperDemMinistries, founded by 7 young women in Ghana, has managed to get the whole of the country talking. The aim of this group is to use satire to flip the script and change toxic narratives that cage African women. All they do is use their individual timelines to post stories that highlight the slavery of African women by the society and culture. They put men in the place of women to provoke society and readers to see the absurdity in some of the expectations that our culture sets for women. Some of their posts include:
- Never give room for your wife to look for love elsewhere. A wise husband works hard to make his wife fall in love with him daily.
- Women are like babies, they need to be shown love & attention constantly. If you fail to do so, you’ll lose her to another man.
- My friend called me now to tell me she dumped a guy she slept with on their first official date. She said she hates cheap guys.
What is interesting about this Facebook trend in Ghana, is the lethal reaction of people who find it difficult to accept that women in the country are oppressed by the society and that gender imbalances, occur every day. Some of these people have also formed their own groups where they have blatantly insulted these women and cyber bullied them with diverse attacks on their persons.
As I considered the trend from my room in Virginia, my thought process immediately veers off towards what happened in Charlottesville. A group of people choose a seemingly harmless approach to let their views known, then another group that opposes their views set out on a counter demonstration that ends violently.
This social media group did not choose as radical a method as walking on the streets and pulling down statutes of the many African leaders whose policies ensured that women are seen only as help mates to men and are therefore inferior. However, there have been instances where some have had rotten tomatoes hurled at them because someone identified them on the streets. Just like the white supremacists attacked people that expressed divergent views from theirs, these women are being attacked.
The ultimate take away from this incident and the Charlottesville incident is that the approach never matters. No matter how peaceful you demonstrate your views, if the other party insists on finding faults and behaving violently, human lives will be in danger. For me, the lines between passive aggression and active aggression are blurred, when it comes to sensitive issues like racism and gender inequalities. No matter how peaceful demonstrations against any of these highly sensitive subjects may set out to be, counter demonstrations are bound to end up violently.