Did anyone notice how much sex there was in last week’s edition of The Standard?
There is a new word doing the rounds these days and that word; is heish. At first I thought it was slang – it is after all a colloquialism that expresses a wordless moment of internal surrender/outrage/despair.
But apparently it has caught on even in professional communication. I have seen it used by people as part of an explanation for why they haven’t done their work; as in: “Heish boss, I am out of town.” Or by suppliers when describing a problem to a potential client:
“Heish, the situation is bad.” It’s also used socially when people are describing something phenomenal, as in: “Heish, that babe is hot!” I am unreliably informed that it is actually a bastardisation of the Korean word, aish, meaning “oh no!” or, as the urban dictionary put it, “ah cr*p!”
But by far the best and most effective use of this new expression is when it is used as an interjection, all on its own, as in “Heish!” In such instances the exclamation mark is mandatory! Which brings me to the point of this piece; the sex in the The Standard. I wonder whether I was the only person going “Heish!” over that particular edition.
The front page story had me texting friends and colleagues near and far. I wanted us all to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions about media, politics, power and pain. But the biggest question I had was: Who is the custodian of a girl child’s dignity?
The comment on the same story published in a later section of the paper noted that, “it is every decent newspaper’s calling to protect the weak from the powerful” and I wondered how successfully our media does this.
I debated the issues with colleagues via phone and text throughout the day, and when the day ended I was still bereft.
A few pages down the line we then had Home Affairs co-minister Theresa Makone’s exposé on the prevalence of sexual abuse in the police force.
Although we were spared the more graphic details, the minister was quoted referring to “piles and piles of letters with sexual harassment complaints”. Piles and piles, madoda? Heish!
The editor did us proud with his intelligent and amusing piece on November madness which touched on various allegations concerning our Prime Minister’s love/sex life.
I have to admit that I did have a little giggle at Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga’s opinion piece on sex strikes. As she quite righty states, this has become a powerful weapon that citizens can use to bring about social change. It is a form of resistance that has achieved results in countries such as Colombia, Kenya, Liberia and the Phillipines. But would it work in Zimbabwe? Well — there is a question.
A couple of days ago I shared a table with 19 other women over lunch. When I mentioned the issue of sex strikes one woman said: “But wont that be a licence for our men to get it elsewhere?”
Another laughingly wondered whether her man would even notice that she was on strike. And someone suggested that perhaps our women simply had appetites that were too healthy to be deprived!
All in all, I have to admit that none of us spoke about it very seriously as a means of achieving real and lasting change.
But reality seldom bites in daylight hours over a meal shared with friends and comrades. Reality (a little like love actually) tends to come softly and quietly. In the dark hours when there is no one to face but ourselves, reality asks the tough questions. And so when I got home that evening I asked myself why we as Zimbabwean women couldn’t take this idea seriously?
Is there something wrong with the idea, or is it just us?
Are we really so insecure about our relationships that we feel compelled to deliver sex on demand to the men in our lives, for fear of losing them to the competition?
How balanced are the power issues in our relationships if this is the case? And about that competition, are they not also women and should they not also be supporting the cause? Where is the unity among sisters?
As for the ladies with appetites that won’t allow for a sex strike I would say, do it for your country girls, do it for progress, do it for the future. If we can’t control ourselves for such noble causes, then when will we ever control ourselves?
And finally for those whose men won’t notice that there is a strike, all I can say is — heish, sorry for that!