In our previous issue we noted that a central objective of the Arif Wond (literary mean ‘cool guy’) community was to understand current conceptions of masculinity (literary means ‘wondinet’) that prevail in the Ethiopian society in order to be able to promote those that are supportive of and discourage others that are inimical to gender equality.

 

The Arif Wond community understands that relationships between men and women are shaped or influenced by beliefs and assumptions and associated values and norms regarding masculinity and femininity (literary means ‘setinet’).  The community also undertands that these beliefs and assumptions are socially constructed.  In other words, they are tacit agreements or consensus among members of a society. The members of Arif Wond also believe that these socially constructed beliefs and assumptions are not immutable.  They rather change in order to serve the changing situations and requirements of humanity. Moreover, the members are convinced that not all aspects of beliefs and assumptions underlying current conceptions of masculinity and femininity may be inimical to the current situations and requirements of human society.

 

It is with this background that the Arif Wond community seeks to promote dialogue in the Ethiopian society – a dialogue that focuses on identifying underlying beliefs and assumptions and the consequent values and norms shaping or influencing the behavior of Ethiopian men, examine them with the light of justice (which, the members believe, is the paramount requirement of humanity today), promote those that are support of and discourage others that are inimical to gender equality. In this connection, the members have been asking (through social media and other mediums) their compatriots to share their respective conceptions/ expectations of a Arif Wond, how they would describe an Arif wond, what his attributes, characters, and qualities may be.   As a continuation of this exercise, the community is also organizing an informal gathering on the subject on February 10, 2018. In our next column, we will share with our readers some of the most recurrent beliefs and assumptions we have been gathering thus far.

 

To find out more about this community, please email us at arifwondgroup@gmail.com and follow our reflections in the monthly What’sOut Addis newsletters.