MenEngage Botswana is a network of NGOs that advocate around a number of key issues where gender directly affects the lives of women and men. The network was formed in September 2014 and is hosted by the office of Men and Boys for Gender Equality (MBGE). MBGE was founded in October 2013 with a vision to nurture a community where women, girls, men and boys are given an equal opportunity and not judged on their sexual orientation but rather on how much they are able to contribute to development as individuals. The organisation seeks to be recognised as a leader in the implementation of gender transformative interventions where both men and boys take action in ending violence against women and children.
Be Mobile cellular phone network irresponsibly perpetuates ‘Blesser’ phenomenon
Our mission at Men and Boys for Gender Equality is to engage men and boys in reducing gender inequalities, preventing HIV, ending gender based violence and promoting the health and wellbeing of women, men and children. Therefore turning a blind eye to the recent promotional messages from the Be Mobile cellular phone network centred around the ‘Blesser’ phenomenon which has recently taken the country by storm is not an option.
This concept has two ends, the Blesser (the provider) and the Blessee (the recipient) the two have a relationship where sex is traded as a commodity in exchange for money and gifts allowing for a lavish lifestyle that one would not have afforded in the absence of this arrangement. It has perpetuated intergenerational relationships, infidelity and has continued to contribute significantly to the spread of HIV and AIDS and the general disintegration of moral values.
“Be your own blesser’ and ‘Bless yo’self’ are how these messages begin, it raises the question, did Be Mobile specifically target only the people who can afford these products? If one cannot bless themselves who do they turn to for this ‘Blessing?’
The use of language has a powerful influence on how people behave and conveys intense subliminal messages. Though audio and visual content are also influential, the familiarity that comes with the use of everyday words steers consumers into identifying well and ultimately wanting to indulge in the product being marketed.
The evolution of mass media communication and its tools has seen emerging platforms for businesses to efficiently market their products and the use of the Short Message System (SMS) has proven to be quite a popular especially in the mobile phone network industry.
However failure to consider the possible adverse effects of the messages being conveyed regardless of the means of communication has been a gravely irresponsible move by an organization as big and influential as Be Mobile.
Therefore Men and Boys for Gender Equality would like to vehemently condemn the endorsement and use of the ‘Blesser’ concept in the messages promoting their products.
Team Leader – MBGE
August 16 2016
For further information contact; (+267) 3957763; Facebook: Men and Boys For Gender Equality; Twitter: @MBGE; Website:www.menandboys.org
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Click here for the full story on the Sonke Gender Justice website.