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Opinions of Sunday, 10 March 2019

Columnist: Amarkine Amarteifio

Patriarchy, Power and Photos: The guilt of an innocent image

A few days ago, social media was awash with beautiful images of Ghana’s past head of states and presidents to commemorate our 62th Independence.

On the surface there is nothing inaccurate as these photoshopped images projected facts which all of us either lived through or read about.

But I have a problem. As an artist who knows much about the power of images and how they shape our beliefs and perceptions, I couldn’t help seeing the presence of the absence of women in what has been an all-male narrative of power and politics in our national discourse.

This makes me put this innocent photography symbolically in the category of pornography—one that any gender sensitive person or fair minded psychologist would want to protect the impressionable minds of their children from being exposed to or infected with.

The patriarchal era which normalized and cajoled society into believing that “behind every successful man is a woman” as well as constructing the egos of men to think they have to “take care of their wives and children” also sounds like verbal pornography which we should all save the new generation from hearing and learning.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, maybe this all-male photograph of our past head of states and presidents as well as the many other subliminal “macho” poisons in literature and the arts, serve as reminders to the nature of the task ahead.

Let us all work towards the recovery from the centuries-old patriarchal system that has sought to perpetuate the “housewifization” of African women and their consignment to the domestic spheres of life—a phenomenon that has invariably put an undue burden and pressure of men too.

By Amarkine Amarteifio, Artist. Email: amart1000@yahoo.com