Women in Arts by Sibonokuhle Moyo
Women have always played a pivotal role in establishing, growing and uplifting arts for many years. Though this happened behind the scenes in most case scenarios, their contributions have come in various ways and has been viewed as minor roles but indeed they were significant roles. Women who managed to make it Arts in the fierce man battle field were labelled brave, and most cases, were educated ones such as Barbara C Makhalisa, who became the most resounding woman in written arts. Trust me, they were many like her who lacked mentorship, sponsorship or simple someone who believed in them. One would not know if it was oppression or social structures why it took quite longer especially for young writers to start mushrooming. Fast forward to 2019, women have gradually over the years broken all barriers in Arts. Thou viewed as a male dominated industry, they have penetrated to its core into one of the leading roles in cultural, musical, threater, written and even visual arts. No doubt, the once male dominated industry has been conquered by the feminine touch this century around.
However, it must be noted that it is not easy for females to break into the Arts industries without encountering one of two of many challenges posed to them.
Below I will highlight a few of the major problems I believe women in Arts face when it comes to breaking, initiating, marketing and maintaining their talents and Arts careers.
In the Arts industry, in its wide scope,most promoters, managers, and sponsors are male. Many women face the problem of being manipulated and exploited by some male figures to help their careers to take off. Unbelievable as it is, several women face men who can help them if they returned the ‘favour’ and in most scenario it becomes an intimacy favour. Big ups to all the women who have retained their dignity and rejected these inhuman kind of people in trade for success.
Many women have dreams and probably untapped talents but due to demoralisation and intimidation to venture into Arts, they crawl into a hole and hide their talents. Especially in the cultural music genre, women are ridiculed for wishing to explore that Arts sphere as, for many years, it has become a ‘male thing’ Bravo to a few iconic names that have faced severe demoralisation but have soldered on and went into it guns blazing to prove that being a woman is just a name, anything is possible.
This is more or less the cultural norm of saying women can not lead or be in the forefront of men, yes it applies to certain occassions and circumstances but where arts is involved, let women explore their capabilities to the fullest without anyone dragging them down. Women would be far off reviving any form of Arts if the society gave them maximum support and backup without fishing back to what our forefathers believed in. Yes they still live within us but let’s face it, its the 21st century, women have taken the bull by it’s horns and are not backing up in proving their capabilities through writing, acting, culture and tradition, regalia and even music.
Women, lets no let our guard down, while we at it in this tough industry let’s also observe male roles in certain arts fields we venture into. Let’s not work on antagonising forms with men but let’s challenge each other in a healthy competition that will see our Arts going from one great level to a magnificent one.
I will be focusing mostly on women in arts and how they have made it, challenges, experiences and misconceptions and lessons they have learnt in the journey.
Till next time. Peace!!