Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reverse Basotho Gender Roles

My host mother is a pretty progressive Mosotho woman. She makes my host brother, Tsepiso (pictured here) do laundry, wash dishes, sweep and mop.

   I’ve written before about how strictly gender roles are defined and enforced here in Lesotho.
   But I’ve seen reverse gender roles in my village lately.
   Sweeping is traditionally a woman's or a young girl's role, so I was happy to see one of my students cleaning his family's compound. His granny is in the doorway smiling and possibly saying, "Boy, you better sweep that stoop!"
  The gender bender incident that recently resonated with me the most was the one of the man in my village washing laundry. Aside from my host brother washing his school uniform everyday, I’ve never seen a male performing the task. This one particular man didn’t seem to mind doing it, neither.    Said he was washing his daughter's clothes. He was also very happy to have his picture taken.
   Some of my students passed while we were talking. I told the group of preteens that they can ask ntate (man/father/husband) to help them with chores around the house.
    “He can do laundry,” I told them in Sesotho. “Look at this man."

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