Why this African First Lady is publicly slut-shamed and called ‘fat’, ‘ugly’ and a ‘gold-digger’

Nii Ntreh Mar 9, 2021 at 10:00am

March 09, 2021 at 10:00 am | Women

Nii Ntreh

Nii Ntreh | Associate Editor

March 09, 2021 at 10:00 am | Women

Monica Geingos has been the First Lady in Namibia since 2015 during which time she says she has not been spared the worst misogyny. Photo Credit: The Namibian Sun

Monica Geingos would refer to herself as an entrepreneur determined to actualize the potentials of her knowledge and skills, She is also a lawyer in good standing.

But Geingos, maiden name Kalondo, is also the First Lady of Namibia. This means critics and detractors of her husband’s administration believe she is fair game. This notion is further supported by the fact that Geingos has actually assumed roles in the executive of her husband’s government. She was once the chairperson of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council.

Even still, the disparaging remarks that go her way are seasoned with a fundamentally biting flavor of misogyny and reveal the narrow confinement women in her part of the world and even beyond are supposed to live within. Geingos is President Hage Geingob‘s third wife, with the latter being a twice-divorced man.

The attacks Geingos’ faces do not simply have to do with her marriage but rather, with the fact that at 44, she is about 35 years younger than her husband. As a result of this, Geingos’ own personal accomplishments, as well as her individuality, can be collapsed into the identity of the “president’s much younger good-looking wife”.

The critics come for her looks calling her fat and ugly at times; slut-shame her and call her a gold-digger; minimize the fact she was a sought-after lawyer and businesswoman prior to marrying Geingob in 2015; call her a witch, among others. The attacks are gendered and have been ongoing for as long as she has been in that national limelight. And as she took to Facebook to explain on International Women’s Day on March 8, these attacks which are similar to what many other women across the world face will not cease unless they are challenged.

“When I’m not busy being a manipulative, deceitful gold-digger, I’m busy running the country as I have bewitched my old, sugar-daddy husband who is too blind to see through my feminine charms,” Geingos said in a video posted on her official Facebook account.

The caption to her video said Geingos “challenges gendered insults as they humiliate and reduce women into restrictive boxes of societal norms and expectations.”

The First Lady recognizes that what happens to her is a microcosm of a worldwide phenomenon. Social scientists agree that gender-based abuse and violence supervene on harmful preconceptions about women which go unchallenged and become reasons men and other women wield to continue the status quo. In that way, gendered insults are self-perpetuating.

It becomes nearly impossible to undo years of what has been a way of life. But Geingos questioned the rationale of giving up, advising: “Please remember that the only time society is willing to disempower a man is when it is time to blame his wife or girlfriend”.

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