Are Gen Z’s Bringing Back Gender Roles?

It is almost impossible to live in today’s world and not use one social media platform. I don’t have the stats but social media apps like Whatsapp, Twitter and Instagram are very key apps in disseminating information.

Now, as much as life saving information gets disseminated, it must be said that on social media, the hatred of women and sexist thoughts that impede our progress also get pushed.

For example, in recent years, there has been an upsurge on apps like Tiktok for the life of women of old. To put it simply, it is now not uncommon to see statements like: “I cannot believe women fought for the right for us to work and now I have to do this job” and “All I want is a soft life with a rich husband and four kids”.

What is interesting, is that the women who eat up this image that the working woman is a punishment that must be discarded and that it is okay for women to accommodate nonsense from men so long as he is rich, are mostly Gen Z women.

It is often younger women who have had access to the benefits of feminism that romanticise a life of being shackled to men. They romanticise a life of trying to ensure a man is in a good mood as that is the only way to ensure he gives you money.

Far more worrying, Gen Z women are beginning to abandon self development in favour of actively chasing after an often futile dream. A futile dream of getting a rich man who most times will hand over tokens and hardly a full bag of wealth, land and investments that will ensure you are financially settled with or without his presence.

Full disclosure: I am actually a Gen Z woman and I do not agree with this new wave of abandoning ambition and self development.

What worries me is the long term effect of this on women’s rights. What happens to the young women who think it is okay to accommodate a potential trafficker because they see young Tiktok influencers preaching about how you are nothing as a woman if you don’t have men flying you out?

What happens to the young woman who abandons her college degree halfway because she watches Youtube videos of a “stay at home girlfriend” who seems to be living it up even if she may never video the moments of being humiliated over money shenanigans?

What happens to the friendships that end amongst women because one friend who listens to divine femininity podcasters constantly hates on her friend dating a man she considers “not as rich”?

What happens? Even more, how did we get here?

Speaking with Yemi*, she explains that it could be a result of peer pressure. 

In her words: “The main cause is peer pressure. I think some young women see their friends get really expensive gifts from men without doing any work and for no reason and think why can’t it be me.

Even though most of the young women who engage in transactional relationships do so at the expense of their health and mental wellbeing because nothing is truly free. They have little or no say in the relationship and their voice is only heard when it’s time to moan in the bedroom. They’ve given up their bodies, voice and their right to object for a few gifts.

Young women can be enlightened and made to know that there’s nothing totally wrong with working for your own money and that you don’t necessarily have to call on a man before you get the things you want. Those acts were learned, then they can definitely be unlearned.”

For Adeogo Adegoke, she says that ignorance of how women fought for liberation can play a role in young women romanticising the lives of older women.

To quote her: “I believe some women are ignorant of what other women have done to fight for women’s liberation. It’s not that they have no knowledge on it but they don’t understand the gravitas, how other women were at the mercy of men just to get necessities. The belief that men doing all the work and they just get to sit and do little to nothing, like house chores. They don’t understand how dependent one will have to be in such cases and it can easily become abusive and demeaning.”

Adeogo went on to say: “Some are lazy and have been indoctrinated that men are supposed to work and they are to be doting wives. They don’t know how to do much and rely on men for everything so they hate the revolution of women actually occupying these positions. 

The solution will be to try and do our best to educate women on independence and if possibly show them real life cases.

I still think there will be those people that stick to the mandate that women should not have fought for the right to work. Also, create job opportunities because these things could also stem from the fact that we don’t have equal say in the work space.”

When asked to share her thoughts, Steph, a Ghanaian graphic designer had this to say: “It is ridiculous for Gen Z women to wish that feminists didn’t fight for those rights because they still have the choice not to work. Feminists aren’t forcing them to work. 

I also think that they behave this way because patriarchy propaganda has made them believe that life was better and easier for women. And the irony is that for a generation that talks back a lot and has little respect for authority, most of them wouldn’t have survived the era where women had very few rights.”

While women and girls born in the Gen Z generation must not be shamed by millenials who were born in relatively better financial conditions, it is of utmost importance that Gen Z women do not contribute to the erosion of women’s rights.

We must remember as Gen Z women never to take for granted the right to work, earn, own a bank account and the right to an education that past women fought for and sometimes paid with their lives.

To ask why women fought for the right to work, is to thoroughly insult the women who dreamt a better life for us.

*Name changed to protect identity.

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