By wambui ochieng’
What is the difference between marriage and prostitution? Every girl has always thought it would be so great an honor to get married and those that are not married are looked down upon by society. But what is the real truth? Are those that are unmarried luckier than those that are? Don’t get too ego-involved. Let’s just think together as rational human beings.
One feels a great honor when they become somebody’s wife. Why? Really, why? Many people may have many stories and excuses but the real truth is that there is no damn reason. To me marriage is just like FGM a rite that was founded by our African traditional society. A patriarchal one per say. A woman would get married to a man who felt like he deserved her, he would marry up to even 10 wives and no one could ask a question but a woman was doomed to stay loyal and faithful to a man. The greatest achievement for a woman was to become someone’s wife and someone’s mother. Yay! And up to now that is still the order of things.
These days a woman reaches 25 years old and her mother starts getting worried because this is the norm; to be married. I mean why is it so wrong to get married at 35 and not get children? People would say that is abnormal. Why? Because it is different. You see people brand ‘abnormal’ things they find way above their heads. If you are getting married because you are heading to thirty and your mother’s friends are starting to ask questions, then you went to school for no good reason. Don’t do things because others are doing them. Do them because you have a personal motivation towards them. Remember Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s book ‘I will marry when I want?’
So back to my question. Is there a difference between marriage and prostitution? When I was 8years old I heard a husband and wife quarrel about sex. See we lived in those cramped up places where you hear everything the neighbors say. So the man said (and I translate this from Swahili) ‘’I paid for you, why shouldn’t I have sex when I want?’’ I know many women have been told that by their husbands. And isn’t it a familiar phrase in the brothels? So what is the difference? In both women are bought, the difference being one is bought from the parents while the other from a pimp.
Dowry is to blame for all these. When you go to a supermarket and see a cake with a price tag 40/- and buy it, it becomes yours, yours to eat, yours to claim until you are done with it. Dowry makes a woman a commodity; a thing to be owned once it has been purchased. I prefer those couples who do the come-we-stay thing and then later on after 20years, the man goes back to the family of his wife and throws a big party with lots of food and money to be spent. Now that is appreciation. You realize that you’ve got a good partner in your life and you appreciate her and her family. The other one where you pay before is simply a trade.
You know people disrespect a prostitute because she has many different sexual partners, just like those men that marry many women or marry one and cheat on her for the entire union. You know I think a prostitute has more pride than an abused married woman. A prostitute can have as much sex with as many partners as she wants and get paid for every round. The latter will have sex with one abusive man for the rest of her life. A man that will probably infect her with AIDS or some STI because she was faithful. A prostitute could get those diseases but they will be consequences of her actions.
You might agree. You might disagree. All I know is that there is a lot of truth is what I say and if you close your eyes for a moment and think about these issues you will side with me. Mine is not to bring a rebellion, it is to open your eyes. Think about everything you have done and find an individual justification. Something that you can live with knowing it came from you and if you went back in time you would do it over and over again. I would like to marry someday but marry because I want to. To a man who will pay dowry later on in our lives. I will marry when I want.
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