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Do men deserve any praise?

As I hopped onto the taxi this morning, I spotted a man peeing on the side of the road. At that moment, as someone who is anti peeing on the side of anything, toilet seat included, I just swelled up with rage. I was also listening to a breakfast radio show as they spoke about the Soweto crisis. I got angrier. An image of male police officers walking away from a scene of township residents looting a tuck shop supposedly owned by a Somali man was being looted and they had decided “there is nothing we can do”, at least the article would have us believe. Them walking away didn’t do any help to the cause. I then wondered why do we hold men to such a low standard and applaud them for the very basic.

Perhaps I have a bias, as someone who has a feminist leaning, but then again, my feminist idealism has never meant I hate men. Quite the contrary, considering I am a man myself and am born with the case of only being able to be attracted to other men. Be that as it may, I find myself always criticising men for a plethora of things. I wondered why it was natural and normal for a man to just stop on the side of the road and whip out his schlong and relieve himself, yet the same men erupt into beastly maniacs when another man’s spear is part of an artistic piece speaking to the issues faced by greater society. The same spear having been subject to criminal proceedings. I wondered why these spears were so sacred, after all, when that spear has wounded another, it is protected. I keep hearing people say “she wanted it, why was she walking that late?” A defence of the crimes created by these spears. “Teach her what manhood is about. She doesn’t know what she is missing” they say when they violate women who love other women.


A friend of mine, raised by a fierce and strong woman once asked, “why do we applaud fathers for doing what they should be doing by being present fathers and accept that men can up and run away after impregnating women?” The basic answer is that we hold our men to the lowest standard that even the simplest of tasks deserve a reward. “He doesn’t leave the toilet seat up” or “he does the dishes” or even “he cleans up after himself”. All these basic acts, which simply say one has basic home training, when performed by men, could make front-page headlines of a women’s interest magazine. I would hate to say it’s only women who marvel at these acts. I know gay men who also follow in this path when they meet other men who are decent human beings and want to throw a party.

When speaking of crimes perpetrated by black men, the response is that there is a war against black men. They are disenfranchised, unheard and almost unseen. Women are all the rage and they are lashing out. Who bears the brunt when men lash out? Women, children, societies. And these men, keep walking. Why? Because we protect them. We find reasons as to justify their insanity. We call on our government to be lenient on them, we blame the colour of our skin and we never say they are human, imperfect but even their imperfection needs to be called to account.

Perhaps I am angry and battling to voice out my anger properly. Perhaps I am frustrated by so much, as a black man myself. Perhaps I am lashing out and need an outlet. I know all I did was accuse and question but have not given any solid ideas on a resolution. But I think at the least, maybe we should start by raising our standard where men are concerned and holding them to these raised standards. When they fail to meet them, tell them to “man up” and act accordingly. Maybe tough love and “tigers don’t cry” need to resurface. If women are held to such abnormally high standards, by men, surely women (and other men) can return the favour.

Image – Urinals in the toilets of a hotel in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, on March 19, 2012. (AFP)


  • Motlatsi Motseoile is a law graduate, who traded the robe for the mic as a publicist, writer and speaker. He remains interested in issues of equality, transformation, diversity and social inclusion. He is passionate about youth and community development.


  1. Peter Houston Peter Houston 27 January 2015

    both sexes aren’t held to that high a standard, if it was a woman vomiting on the side of the road after a night out would you have thought the same. women get praise for equally silly things, put up a shelf wow thats so hard. the massive brunt of violence that men do is against other men. to say that women are in anyway held to as high a standard of when it comes to being vilified for being violent is ridiculous.

  2. DavyH DavyH 27 January 2015

    At least this makes a change from being hammered for being white and male. Now we’re all in the firing line.
    Motlatsi, not everyone is a moron. Unfortunately though, most people are. Live with it.

  3. Junda Junda 28 January 2015

    public indecency is not black culture or thing, it is just lack of manners and respect for all concerned. that is where life long learning comes in, at times one has to unlearn bad habits and learn new good ones.

  4. Aubrey Moeketsi Aubrey Moeketsi 28 January 2015

    “Do men deserve a praise…” Painting every man with the same brush is very stupid not to mention sexist……generalization is a deases of the mind…..

    You’ve lost already with your biased, sexist title…..

  5. Motlatsi Motseoile Motlatsi Motseoile 28 January 2015

    DavyH, you are funny.. maybe we each have our targets, maybe i am a man hater, as Peter would suggest. I did say that not all men are moron, but this is not to say we should leave the bad apples to parade around.

    Peter, a man peeing on the side of a busy street, in era of penis worshipping and protection cannot be compared to a woman vomiting on the side of the road, a t night where probably 10 other people are doing the same thing. The issue therein is our standards in relation to men’s bad behaviour, often perpetrated to protect or “promote” the penis.. this is what can be described as patriarchal notions. And that is what i am addressing herein, patriarchy.

  6. Motlatsi Motseoile Motlatsi Motseoile 28 January 2015

    Aubrey, and clearly you had no desire to engage with the piece but only to give a bland and unimaginative comment, as it is clear that you didn’t even read the title properly, let alone the entire piece.

  7. Motlatsi Motseoile Motlatsi Motseoile 28 January 2015

    Junda, home training, I guess. On learning new habits, indeed, I am in agreement with you on that. And that is what our new standards could be, as men and women who recognise the problem and wish to see it resolved.

  8. unhedged lib unhedged lib 29 January 2015

    1.As far as urinating in the street, yea, pisses me off as well. Same as people littering, vandalising property etc.
    2.”we hold our men to the lowest standard that even the simplest of tasks deserve a reward” i’m sorry but this applies to women as well. You ever heard a woman say” you don’t appreciate the things i do? I don’t know a single man who hasn’t heard this from a wife,mother, girlfriend, sister. Everyone wants appreciation for effort put into whatever form of relationship, no matter how small. And i’ve come to realise it’s not a bad thing to regularly applaud even the tiniest thing (Thanks for making the bed this morning etc). It seems to encourage more positive effort and behaviour from all parties involved.
    3. Who says there is a war against black men to defend criminal acts perpetrated by men?”We call on our government to be lenient on them” again exactly who is doing this? which groups, organisations, individuals? I’ve yet to see anyone except lawyers retained by these criminals, asking for leniency so who are you referring to?
    The reason these men keep walking after committing horrific crimes is because we have a dysfunctional justice system, reliant on a dysfunctional police service caused by a deeply politicised and unqualified leadership whose main objective is not the protection of its citizens, but the maintenance of political power.
    4. “Women are all the rage and they are lashing out” all the rage in terms of what? I wouldn’t under estimate the socio economic conditions in aggravating the level of violence against women and society in general. When an ill-mannered,ill-tempered, unemployed, hopeless, disempowered individual with no respect for the law, no respect for himself, no respect for society,who fully expects to beat the system and has few options for self improvement, what are we to expect? Everybody has to be called to account, we are all responsible for the situation we find ourselves in.
    5. What are these abnormally high standards that women are held to?
    I’ll agree with your last statement and say we all need to MTFU! We need hold everybody to higher standards especially our leaders, in all spheres of society.We’ve drifted into a dystopia precisely because we continue to be lead by those who are clearly unable to rise up the the challenge of uplifting our society and ensuring egalitarian opportunities.
    We need go further than just being angry and leaving it at that, we must start to act.

  9. Peter Houston Peter Houston 29 January 2015

    or it not penis worship don’t know why you’d think thats a thing in this day and age but a lac of public toilets. The majority of toilets do say that toilets for customers only. its illegal to pee in public so its not exactly worshiped. women do have a better capacity to hold pee in unless they are pregnant so they will always be better at making it to the loo more often. not everything is about hatred or worship, some things are just liked or disliked. not every act is about patriarchy or feminism the vast majority aren’t. I dont think you hate men I think you dislike them and you want to impose your own behavioural standards on their conduct. you attribute rudeness to being a moron but there are plenty of self centered rude geniuses out there many are politicians, CEOs or lecturers. I think most of these type of issues of behavioural standards imposition are usually just a reflection of class bias. when it comes to society class trumps gender and the higher classes always say look at the lower classes they are so moronic. The main reason that people try to do these kind of pandering complements is to encourage not the person doing it but to encourage others to do the same. But when the normal standard for complement is for changing a hairstyle (something the person didn’t actually do themselves other than to think I like that kinda hair and say you do that to my hair) it seems to me that complements over the little things is the norm I think it always has been.

  10. RSA.MommaCyndi RSA.MommaCyndi 29 January 2015

    Do you really think we can’t put up a shelf? I hate to break it to you but we pander to your ego a lot. The vast majority of women are more than able to wield an electric screwdriver and we know the physics involved. We do the ‘maiden in distress’ thing because guys like it. As for puking in the street, it is other women who tut over that. If it is that kind of party, the men there don’t care.

  11. RSA.MommaCyndi RSA.MommaCyndi 29 January 2015

    This is what happens when women buy into the idea of being less. Mothers don’t teach their children what they should. Until every mother learns that her son should be a fully functional adult, this will remain a problem.

  12. TheRealMidnite TheRealMidnite 30 January 2015

    (Sigh)… So many spears, yet not a shield in sight…. I’m no feminist (I think the idea of equality in anything is ludicrous). I’m heterosexual (I like women, unfortunately. A lot). I’m male. And I can’t help but completely agree with you.

  13. zauser1 zauser1 30 January 2015

    I am neither a supporter of feminists, nor am I a male chauvinist, or sexist in any form, I am an equalist! I believe everyone is equal and should be treated as such, including woman, disenfranchised black males and indian girls.

    Clearly no one is able to be completely unprejudiced. However we are hurting ourselves by perpetuating talk like this.

    Should we not be talking about general societal values, or the lack thereof, rather than generalizing about social groups.

  14. Junda Junda 30 January 2015

    in every society public indecency is a shame, if not disgrace indeed. seeing a male peeing in public domain puts a every man in an awkward space. and with regards to different behaviors of married men and their wives responses within households in relation to home chores, we should take into account the different backgrounds where people emerged, hence we must accept that people are different. ideally, the household that is happy, indeed where violence does not feature at living equation, is indeed a good home, i would reckon, even if the father can hardly wash dishes, but provided he can love his wife or the woman in his life, that is good.

  15. Peter Houston Peter Houston 31 January 2015

    I don’t understand how you could interpret what I said to a belief that woman can’t do basic DIY. the maiden in distress thing may used to have been liked by guy but its more and more being associated with childishness.

  16. Bernpm Bernpm 31 January 2015

    @Zauser1: I must agree largely with your comment except for “However we are hurting ourselves by perpetuating talk like this.”.
    I find the comments and discussions -as in this article- by and large comic and amusing.
    Having lived and traveled in different parts of the world, I have seen the expression of certain habits in one country accepted as normal in other countries totally rejected as barbaric or whatever expression of disagreement used.
    Peeing in public….as long as you give me enough time to step out of your way.
    Some situations can be quite amusing. Just smile and go on with your life by making yours and everybody elses life a lot easier. Or just turn your back and move on.

  17. RSA.MommaCyndi RSA.MommaCyndi 2 February 2015

    Well good for modern men! I hope they continue to grow up. I’ve put up shelves, laid bricks, mixed concrete, rewired stoves and done any manner of other things – never has anyone given me praise for being a woman and doing it. The only difference is that I was supposed to look good afterwards.

  18. RustyBedsprings72 RustyBedsprings72 3 February 2015

    And men are not meant to look good after they finish such activities?

  19. RSA.MommaCyndi RSA.MommaCyndi 3 February 2015

    No. They aren’t supposed to look like they just came out of the beauty parlour. The best that women hope for is that they go shower.

  20. RustyBedsprings72 RustyBedsprings72 4 February 2015

    C’mon, women like a hard working man, all those sweaty, rippling muscles that you see in advertising – you know – the “real” man.

    Not sure the sweaty, rippling, female muscles are similarly iconic ;-)

  21. RSA.MommaCyndi RSA.MommaCyndi 5 February 2015

    ;-) that’s my point. We aren’t supposed to look all sweaty and ripply

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