The exclusion of black men in South African gender discourses; rethinking gender, patriarchy and male privilege
Gender discourses have systematically excluded black men to the extent where it becomes difficult to speak or write about them as beings that experience development and poverty in the same space and time as their female counterparts. The article examines some of the discourses on gender within South Africa and brings to the fore how the exclusive focus on women calls for a rethinking of gender, patriarchy and male privilege. While gender is now a widely recognised term and concept, the article argues that the origins of the concept still have to be taken cognisance of as they get applied in specific contexts. It argues that in South Africa the experience of apartheid and colonialism disrupted existent gender relations, rendering both black men and women disempowered beings. The article uses document analysis, the deconstruction tool, and the Marxist and socialist feminism approach to argue that capitalism, colonialism and other social aspects of the country’s development contributed to the shaping of present gender relations. The article recommends that gender discourses in South Africa should build on both black men and women’s historical experiences and identities to avoid furthering the male-female divide.