Being white, being a woman: a white woman!

A few days ago it happened that I was walking alone along the main road towards the center of Mochudi, the so called Main Mall. Actually this is just a junction where different shops and petrol stations are located.
I didn’t take long as I walked down the road that two young boys (definetly a lot younger than me) passing by on the other side of the street and calling me “Hey Babyyyy!” and looking me over from top to bottom. I decided to ignore them but it brought me to think about why I can’t walk along the road and got chat up just after a few minutes? And if I thought about this it happened again. This time the guys were older than me. I didn’t feel that it was this rude like the situation a few minutes ago, but this way of “being called” by men made me feel like I am an sexual object.
Of course, I know, I am a white woman in a an african country. So, I expected to attract attention. But does it have to be in that way? And do I have to accept it?
These situations remind me very well of similar occasions they had happened during my previous stays in Botswana. Back then it happened also that men have called me like that. One guy really upset me because he was driving next to me in his BMW playing loud music and just saying to me: “Get in, I’ll give you a lift”. One could maybe mean that this was a friendly offer, but actually he just wanted to be that cool guy with that cool ride. I didn’t remember what I exactly said to him but I almost crawled into his window shouting at him that I didn’t like the way he talked to me and then passed around his car just following my way. From the corner of my eyes I saw some other men laughing at this guy which – to be honest – gave me a satisfied feeling: I didn’t lost my pride.
But that’s how some of the interactions between men and women happen here in Botswana. Girls and women get called. Once I saw that a guy stopped with his car next to a young women. He called her to come to his car. She walked over. The guy gave her money and pointed to a tuck shop to buy him some treats which she brought him.
But it’s not just like men are calling women. The women allow to be called. I haven’t found out if they’re fine with that. Maybe they just don’t think about it, but maybe they do and if so I ask myself how they feel about that? And does this kind of interaction simply show a hierarchy between the sexes? Do the men behave in this certain manner because they feel superior to the women? Or is it rather a product of existing gender roles? As I said: the women allow being called! And what would happen if they refuse it? Maybe I’ll find out more about that, soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s