Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gender Agenda

[First published in December 2005]

Gender Agenda

Sara and I were still finishing a late breakfast when the front door flew open with a bang, and in strode a long pair of jeans balanced on top of platform shoes, and heaving a holdall that was holding all. Kupela was back from boarding school!
‘Koops!’ we both shouted, ‘You’re back early!’
‘Hah!’ she hooted, surveying the tranquil scene, and then coming to give us each a little condescending kiss, ‘The old folk haven’t moved! That’s the same breakfast I left you eating three months ago!’
‘How was school?’ I asked, ignoring her remark. ‘Did you learn anything this time?’
‘Learnt a lot about the gender agenda,’ she laughed. ‘That’s the advantage of going to a co-ed. It’s all sexual politics at Decay Secondary.’
‘So long as its not sexual athletics,’ said Sara sternly.
‘Don’t you be too sure,’ cackled Kupela. ‘The gymnasium has been converted into a dormitory.’
‘Don’t try to upset your mother,’ I said. ‘Just tell us about the politics.’
‘We had elections for next year’s Head Boy,’ she explained. ‘There were two candidates, and one was a girl!’
‘How can a girl be Head Boy?’ I wondered.
‘Why not,’ snapped Sara. ‘Am I not the Head Boy in this house?’
‘So you are, my dearest,’ I said. ‘Thanks for reminding me.’
‘So,’ Sara continued, ‘which girl stood for Head Boy?’
‘The dreaded Quack Quackwie,’ replied Koops. ‘We were flabbergasted. We’d always thought she was a boy. I mean, she enrolled as a boy, slept in the boys’ dormitory, was very arrogant, and always wore trousers. That’s what we mean by a boy at Decay.’
‘It’s what’s inside the trousers that counts,’ I laughed.
‘According to the school rules,’ Koops giggled, ‘we girls are not supposed to look.’
‘So all these years she’d been sleeping with the boys?’ asked Sara.
‘They didn’t know they’d been sleeping with a girl,’ said Koops.
‘I’m sure I would have noticed if I was sleeping with a girl,’ I said.
‘I’m sure I would have had you arrested,’ said Sara.
‘Then one day,’ continued Koops, ‘come the elections, Quack Quackwie ups and announces that she’s really a girl, and that she’s standing in the election. Then she immediately turned round on us girls and said we all had to vote for her, since she was a girl, and we’d never had a girl to vote for before. And to the boys she said that they’d better vote for her, since she’d always been one of the boys!’
‘So did the girls agree to vote for her?’
‘We were all very angry,’ said Koops. ‘All along Quack Quackwie had claimed to be a boy, and had been very bossy and rude to us girls. As a boy, she had got herself into the maths and physics class, while we girls were all sent to do domestic science and biology.’
‘So did she promise,’ asked Sara, ‘that when she became Head Boy, she’d end this discrimination against girls?’
‘Oh yes, of course,’ sneered Koops. ‘But we remembered how, when she was a boy, she used to laugh at us girls, saying we were too stupid to understand maths and physics! So now it was our turn to sneer at her, telling her that since she knew how to insult like a boy, she’d better stay as a boy!’
‘You should have had her properly examined,’ I said, ‘to find out whether she was really male or female.’
‘We did!’ replied Koops. ‘We took her to the National Gender Office Classification Committee, the NGOCC. After hours of careful examination they declared that Quack Quackwie is biologically female, but psychologically and politically male. Therefore, on balance, she was declared to be a boy.’
‘So she stood as a boy after all?’
‘Yes,’ said Koops. ‘So the boys didn’t vote for her, because they don’t like boys who pretend to be girls. And the girls didn’t vote for her, because they don’t like boys who insult them. So she came bottom of the poll.’
‘So she lost?’
‘No, she won. Because, according to the new Muwelewele Constitution, the candidate with the smallest number of votes is the winner.’
‘He was the previous Head Boy who insisted on standing for re-election, even though he was terribly unpopular. So he declared that unpopular leaders are always better, and changed the election rules accordingly.’
‘So what did the NGOCC say about Quack Quackwie winning?’
‘They immediately re-classified Quack Quackwie as a girl, and held a very expensive dinner dance at the Pa Modzi to celebrate Women’s Empowerment!’
‘How did they explain their sudden changing of Quack Quackwie’s gender classificatioin?’
‘They said they were implementing the SADC principle that more leaders should be women!’
‘And what was Quack Quackwie’s reaction?’
‘She was so pleased to be a girl again that she married the headmaster. Then she announced that, as a dutiful and obedient wife, she was now under the charge and supervision of her husband, so he would be in charge of everything.’
‘So what was the reaction of the students?’
‘That’s why I’m back early,’ said Koops. ‘We burnt the place down.’

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