The traditional woman, technology and toxic masculinity

Vanessa Calys-Tagoe August 10, 2022
South Africa's National Women's Day 2019. Photo: Public Services International

In today’s world, the word “submissive” attributed to women is often taken with reservations by the modern woman. Women empowerment has been duly embedded in the minds of many women and they understand that they must not kowtow to men simply because society expects them to do so. 

In the past, submissive women would take whatever men told them hook, line and sinker. They sought permission, adhered to instructions and simply were not their own persons. 

One would think that such times are behind us and that the millions of women empowerment movements all around the world would have taken effect on all women, but sadly that is not the story. 

The Traditional woman

In Ghana, a highly religious country, women are expected to be submissive to their husbands. Hearken to their wants and needs, care for the home and give the husband all he wants and needs with no questions asked. 

There is some appreciative number of women who per education do not kowtow to the whims and caprices of a man, they know and understand their power and there are others who despite education still believe that wives should be under the protection of their husbands and submit to male leadership. 

Unfortunately for this 31-year-old woman (name unknown), the same cannot be said. Her husband, Robert Arhin, constantly berated her over her use of the social media platform, WhatsApp, and her receipt of constant phone calls. He told her he did not approve of her use of it. He wanted her to delete WhatsApp. 

Per her accounts, Arhin would receive calls on her behalf and warn callers not to call her again whether male or female. 

On August 3, her husband, a mason, paid her a visit at work at around 1 pm and they had a pleasant conversation. He left and came back around 8:30 pm, helped her pack up her wares and went home together. 

While they were preparing for bed, Arhin hit on the subject of WhatsApp again asking his wife to delete it or else he would kill himself. She offered her phone to him to hold on to till he felt secure enough and then slept. 

Sadly, when the clock struck 12, she felt an object hit her head and consequently, her husband brought out a knife and began cutting and butchering her up. She has lost three fingers on her left hand all because an insecure man would not accept that his wife had no ill intentions towards him and loves just him. 

Thinking about it, many questions come to mind. Did she never have the chance to sit under women empowerment mentoring sessions? A neighbor had to come to her aid upon hearing the screams. 

Meanwhile, she recounts that her husband’s jealousy had been a consistent factor in their marriage. Why did it have to come this far?

Regrettably, there are many women like her; women who hold so much power, but due to a lack of proper education and economic constraints, they are forced to condone such acts by their husbands. 

Statistics show that 33-37% of women are domestically abused in Ghana, but this percentage is from 2016. Six years later, this number is sure to have doubled. 

Many women like her, like the traditional setup of marriage. The one that preaches of the men being the head of the family therefore what they say must go, no questions asked. Women will sit in such marriages, be abused and keep quiet. 

If there is one thing religion and tradition have in common when it comes to marriage, it’s a woman’s submissiveness. Submissiveness does not mean endurance and all women irrespective of different societies must understand that. 

Women are human beings too; did the man not use a phone too? His wife did not complain. She was not worried about the phone calls he received, but she was willing to give up her phone entirely to keep the peace. 


This woman’s use of social media tells me she is a bit technology inclined. She probably read news on social media; picked up some two cents from public figures. Unabashedly, she was happy with her use of technology but was happy to relinquish it for the sake of her husband who threatened suicide. 

Many women use technology as an escape from danger. Whether it’s sharing live locations, pictures, videos, voice recordings; the point is when danger is sensed, the phone becomes the medium through which the SOS message is sent. 

That tool was used against her by her husband. Something that could have saved a situation in the future was used as a weapon and she could not hold her own. 

Toxic Masculinity

While masculinity differs from culture to culture, there are dominant characteristics society expects from men and in Ghana and I daresay Africa even more, globally; men like to be in control. They like to control women and order them about. While some cultures are flexible and have bought into equality, others are predominantly control freaks and want their women at their beck and call. 

Arhin had his wife working so maybe that’s a plus for him, but he wanted her to be cut off from the rest of the world. No interactions with persons who are not him. He went out of his way to get them to stop calling her, why? He wanted to still exert control. 

She had the liberty of earning her own money, but that was where he drew the line. How could she not have deleted WhatsApp when he said so? That was his instruction and her subtle way of declining by offering him her phone was disrespectful so she was hurt in retaliation. 

I have nothing against masculinity as it differs from society to society, but when it’s poisoned and forced down the throat of women, it is heartbreaking. 

To every woman out there, your essence is not hinged on a man. There is nothing wrong with being submissive if that is who you are, but your safety is important. Once the red flags start showing, flee! This woman managed to get out alive without three fingers, but what if she died? 

You are the one who gives out power to be exerted over you, don’t sell yourself short. Be traditional if that’s what pleases you, but your safety must come first. 

And yes, men are abused too, but this one is for my women out there, watch out for the red flags before it’s too late. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 10, 2022


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