The Sunday Mail
Wendy Nyakurerwa —
Just a few housekeeping issues before we get into the core business of the day so that we speak the same language. It’s “female musicians” and “female officers”, not “women musicians” and “women officers”. After all, do we say “men musicians” or “men officers”?
I hope you get it. Using “woman” as an adjective in place of “female” carries its own undertones.
Then again, it can be sexist to point out people’s sex. Doing so implies that they aren’t in their “proper” positions. For instance, saying someone is a male nurse or a female doctor implies that it’s so unusual for them to be in that position. In such instances, being gender-specific implies superiority or inferiority.
Now that we are on the same page, we delve into really murky waters.
Nauseating sexual innuendos
There is this overtly offensive advert that was prominently placed in The Daily News on Tuesday. Talk about women being portrayed as sex objects, never mind how clichéd that is.
A smiling woman, mouth wide open, is said to be having something that we normally would not say in our respectable family newspaper. But it cannot be avoided. The grateful looking woman is said to be “getting a blow job”.
Firstly, I hope the picture of the woman was stolen online by either the advertising agency or the newspaper; otherwise it’s a real tragedy that a Zimbabwean woman would deploy herself for such marketing.
In the event that the woman knowingly posed for that blunt attack on women, then we have decades to go before achieving gender sensitivity. With the help of the gatekeepers at The Daily News who allowed this insult to go through, the company outdoes itself in its use of sexual innuendo, slapping its target market right in the face.
We know times are tough. But is such dirty money really worth it? And this is an advert about air conditioning for crying out loud! The company (whose name I cannot even remember — just goes to show how lousy the ad is) is not just despicable in its choice of language; it is also not very original in terms of creativity.
Years back, Burger King ran an almost similar advert in Singapore. They received a well-deserved backlash for doing so. In Zimbabwe, the so-called women’s rights activists are silent as if all is normal.
Someone at the Zimbabwe Football Association has been taking female soccer stars for granted for far too long. They should tell them to stop it!
That someone is none other than Zifa president Dr Phillip Chiyangwa.
The Mighty Warriors have been doing the nation very proud, achieving historic qualification for regional and international tournaments. We always pay them back with humiliation.
Yesterday, our soccer team was battling South Africa’s Banyana Banyana at the Africa Women Cup of Nations in Cameroon (AWFCON). Four days before their date at AWFCON, details of the Mighty Warriors’ itinerary were still sketchy.
They only departed on Wednesday, leaving them with two days to acclimatise. Imagine what this does to their morale.
A last minute departure, which has become almost standard where the Mighty Warriors are concerned, is the key factor affecting performances on the international stage. You turn to the not-so-good men’s team and you have a completely different story.
The Warriors for example, have already enjoyed two friendly matches in preparation for a tournament that’s starts on January 16, 2017 while the Mighty Warriors only got one last week in preparation for AFWCON.
Dr Chiyangwa has pledged that the Warriors will play at least five more friendlies before January 16, 2017; with a Boxing Day fixture against Cote d’Ivoire being the headline fixture.
Clearly, the first priority lies with the boys; but what about the girls? Dr Chiyangwa is neglecting women’s soccer. He can hide behind all that talk about inadequate funds but no one buys that.
If anything, Dr Chiyangwa is not ashamed. At a recent media conference, he was pressed by journalists to explain the logic behind prioritising friendly matches for the Warriors at a time the Mighty Warriors were yet to get into camp, three weeks prior the AFWCON finals. He said it is more profitable to invest in the men.
Such contaminated thoughts are retrogressive. Why not interrogate the reasons behind those empty aisles when the girls play their beautiful game?
Are the Mighty Warriors matches marketed enough?
And what is the justification for having such low gate charges for the Mighty Warriors’ matches (US$1 for the rest of the ground, US$3 for the Upper Grand Stands, US$10 for a VIP ticket)?
On the other hand, fans have to fork out US$3 or US$5 to get the cheapest ticket into men’s matches — and hope that the team does not disappoint!
Are female soccer stars less important, even though they have achieved things the men’s side is yet to?
The Mighty Warriors are giving us much better football but Zifa will not market or support them. That is not all. Zimbabwe does not even have a national women’s soccer league.
Apparently Zifa meddled with its affairs and it ended up dismantling the structure. But even without a league the women are still able to qualify for the Olympic Games.
There is more.
Our ladies sometimes have to camp at Zifa Village, a venue that is not conducive for proper training. If the Warriors never camp at Zifa Village, why should the Mighty Warriors have to do so? It doesn’t end there.
Not so long ago, the Mighty Warriors became the first Zimbabwe national football team to qualify for the Olympic Games. That was a beautiful piece of history. But then they had to be reduced to beggars before and after the tournament.
On their return, there was no transport to ferry them from Harare International Airport to their homes. My eyes stung with tears of pain and anger as l stared at the images of those abandoned national stars. Word has it that they were each given a measly US$5 as transport money.
They are yet to be paid their dues for the Olympic Games, not to mention other arrears dating back to 2010. Where is the Sports and Recreation Commission? Where is Dr Chiyangwa and his all-male board?
In times like this, it is very hard not to miss former Zimbabwe Women’s football boss Mavis Gumbo. As for the Minister of Sports and Recreation Makhosini Hlongwane, he can do better than just threaten to clean up the mess.
He must stop threatening to be a good minister and must instead simply become one!
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