Cellphones dial up patriarchy

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

Cellphones dial up patriarchy

Churches and culture are key forces standing in the way of more equitable power dynamics in romantic relationships between young South Africans. And cellphones reinforce the patriarchy that makes young women vulnerable to violence and coercion, DAVE CHAMBERS reports.

CELLPHONES are a double-edged sword in the hands of young women in informal settlements: one edge gives them greater control over their romantic relationships, while the other reinforces the patriarchy that makes them vulnerable to violence and coercion.

This warning in a paper (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691058.2021.1953609) by South African Medical Research Council (MRC) experts is reinforced by other research (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224499.2022.2129561) which says churches and culture are the forces that sustain inequitable power dynamics in relationships between urban South Africans in their twenties.

The first paper, which focuses on the role cellphones play in romances, says women use the devices to initiate relationships and to check up on their partners. But men use them “as an extension of their repertoire of coercive control over female partners”...

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