Being heard

30 July 2019 | Columns

Justicia Shipena

One of the greatest challenges I have faced with writing a column has been taking a specific posture in each one. It seems fundamental that a piece writing in the opinion section of a newspaper contains an opinion, but that is harder to achieve than expected.

I have sought to balance being relatable and assertive in my writing, and in doing so, I have realised that this struggle to be firm in my stance, without alienating others, is a common struggle among all feminists and columnists.

In a society that etherises the feminine, treating it as something inherently different or alien, to be an advocate for it means we must find our own voices and believe that they deserve to be heard.

‘Being heard’ is a concept I learned from a good friend of mine. She used to answer all her text messages with ‘heard’ rather than ‘yeah’ or ‘OK’. When I asked her why, she said, “Heard is the new ‘word’.”

Never mind that she was reading with her eyes and not listening with her ears. When we write something, we are saying it; we should likewise be ‘hearing’ when we read.

Being heard has always been an interesting phrase to me, because it is not the same as ‘being listened to’.

Within this juxtaposition, ‘heard’ suggests power on the part of the hearers. Though they may hear all the noise surrounding them, they choose what they listen to and judge what to agree with, as is their right.

While hearing may not be the same as listening or agreeing, we nonetheless acknowledge the importance of what is being said, learn things we didn’t know before and expose ourselves to different ideas about how to make the world a better place. Then we respond. Feminism uses these conversations to amplify the voices of women and validate their experiences.

But quieter voices expressing new ideas and different perspectives can be drowned out over time by remarks like “you belong in the kitchen” or more targeted attacks like: “Why don’t you write about something less trivial?”

Neither feminists nor journalists can afford to worry about what people think of them outside of their immediate circles or let critics detract from their right to be heard. I consider myself lucky to be writing for such an encouraging and supportive network of people.

When I set out to write this column, I hoped I would have a chance to teach my readers and learn from them, and I can honestly say that I’ve done more of the latter than I anticipated.

It is often said writing provides a bubble of safety for its students - be it physical, spiritual, emotional or intellectual.

I’ll agree that it is a better environment than many others for an accidental feminist to find her footing and take a stance, but it has by no means protected me from criticism, be it from Twitter trolls or anyone else.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. At least I know I’m being heard.

I called this column ‘The accidental feminist’, because it was always intended to be aspirational in tone. I am accidental no longer, but I am still evolving in uncertain ways. Despite that uncertainty, I can now picture the feminist I intend to become. And I know that to be her, I must be heard.

Similar News


Who hurt you, Mr President?

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Columns

Our president seems angry. This has come to the fore more often than not during his town hall meetings, where his remarks have betrayed a...

More exposure for new artists

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Columns

I am not advocating for a generational divide in music, but I do feel like new and emerging artists do not get sufficient airtime on...

Your dreams deserve a chance!

5 days ago - 13 August 2019 | Columns

Ester KamatiMany individuals, the youth in particular, live their lives in a box and never get to explore. In this regard, exploration does not mean...

The importance of employee relations in a formal establishment

1 week ago - 09 August 2019 | Columns

Happy AmadhilaEmployee relations is a field used to be known as industrial relations. As a field of study it is the study of the laws,...

Have the right team

1 week ago - 09 August 2019 | Columns

Times have changed, unlike in the past when a lot of artists wanted to sign to record labels, new artists now prefer being independent. There...

Breast milk power!

1 week ago - 06 August 2019 | Columns

Almost two years after Namibian Sun reported on a plan by two medical professionals to establish the country's first breast milk bank, the initiative finally...

Proximity to power

2 weeks ago - 02 August 2019 | Columns

This week's sentencing of former education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, who was ordered by Judge Christie Liebenberg to pay a fine of N$50 000 or face...

It's not meant to be easy

2 weeks ago - 02 August 2019 | Columns

[Laughs] I remember a time when I received a text message around 03:00 that casually said 'yo what's up bro'. The reason for my laughter...

National interest, not 'brotherly pleas'

2 weeks ago - 01 August 2019 | Columns

There is no doubt that China has become an essential development partner to our country. Recent investments in the mining sector have cemented this critical...

Fuel to the fire

2 weeks ago - 30 July 2019 | Columns

The level of pregnancies among teenage girls in Namibian schools can no longer be ignored by both educators and parents. It is particularly concerning when...

Latest News

Best July in four years

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – July’s food inflation data contain sweet and sour, but mostly sweet ingredients: The overall figure of 3.7% is the mildest so far...

The underexplored gold mine of...

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Aurelia DavidPublic relations (PR) is a function of many facets and PR practitioners are expected to evolve along with the different technologies that they require...

Leading IT innovation

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Mariselle Stofberg Vincent Weyulu is a picture of determination. At 26 years old has proven that age is just a number when you are determined...

Geingob blitzes Baumgartsbrunn

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Government

The Christmas Eve-like excitement of the Baumgartsbrunn community was abruptly cut short yesterday when President Geingob spent minutes with them. The purpose of this...

Facebook post leads to N$100...

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Justice

A public Facebook post criticising the professional conduct of a Mariental doctor is at the centre of a N$100 000 defamation suit filed at the...

New plot saga at Omuthiya

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Government

Omuthiya deputy mayor Hisikiel Nanyeni, who previously served as the town's mayor, is being accused of allocating himself a residential plot at Extension Five in...

Africa Briefs

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Economics

South Africa yesterday announced visa waivers for four countries in a bid to boost tourism amid an economic crisis and falling visitor numbers.Visitors from Qatar,...

An agent fighting against financial...

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Over the last few decades financial crime has increasingly become a concern to financial institutions. It has become widely recognised that the prevalence of economically...

Engineering sparks Kahima

2 days ago - 16 August 2019 | Business

Elizabeth JosephSarah Kahima’s choice of pursuing a degree in electrical engineering has a lot to do with what sparked an interest In her while she...

Load More