Franklin Cudjoe is founding President and CEO of IMANI Center for Policy and Education. IMANI’s mission is to “subject any government policy that is likely to have systematic implications for development” to scrutiny and analysis and then actively engage in public advocacy to publicize the results. It’s a noble cause that is spearheaded by a man who also happens to be a closeted pervert.
That’s a mischaracterization. Franklin Cudjoe is an overt pervert.
Social media is a magnificent tool. It has the power to resurrect dreams and careers from dust, or reduce either to cinders. Social media is a double-edged sword. It gives people a false sense of security – the virtual anonymity that so many people assume that they can hide behind, while emboldening others who think that they can use their titles, degrees, government positions, verified accounts or the number of followers they have on their pages as clout; as a shield. Clearly Franklin Cudjoe – and his buddy, Evron Hughes– falls in the latter group. It was on Evron’s Facebook page that a sordid drama unfolded and confirmed this suspicion that many have long held.
Franklin Cudjoe (and the sort of men that function in similar frat ‘boys-boys’ cliques he belongs to) frequently makes repulsive comments about women publicly. Some are mild, and others downright revolting. Here is his latest offering.
Overused. And. Smelly.
I’m not going to keep you long, because the crass behavior exhibited here is rife among men of society’s upper strata and is certainly nothing new. It’s something we’re all familiar with and next week another man will say something equally stupid. He may even eclipse the foolishness of this statement. Once upon a time, however, this obtuse and gross behavior (and the conversations that accompanied it) was sequestered to smoking rooms, pool halls or toilet stalls in the back of greasy bars. Men in positions of power have long found comfort in targeting women’s bodies for ridicule, either for sport, spite or as sheer reflex. Every week we are presented with yet another example of men confidently vocalizing their warped perceptions about female genitalia and how where and how frequently it is engaged in sex. These delusions are shouted as fact, and when the targets of those utterances rightly express their outrage and point to these utterances as evidence of their unconscious bias, a Franklin Cudjoe will invariably attempt to placate them by asserting that these crude comments were made in jest.
“Lighten up! It was just a joke!”
This bull stopped being funny a long time ago.
What I find irritating is that Franklin Cudjoe and his ilk refuse to grasp that gravity of their sins and how their attitudes and words have far reaching effects and consequences. One day you’re joking about how a ladies’ faction of a political organization is populated by “overused and smelly” women (a clear reference to the condition of their vaginas), and then the next you’re making a case for putting attractive women with stellar academic track records through additional screening during the hiring process because the credentials of a beautiful lady are “suspect”. This is the advice that Kofi Amoabeng, the founder of UT Holdings unashamedly admitted giving his underlings during a recent interview. He intimates is that good-looking women use sex appeal and/or sex to get better grades (grades presumably given by men) and therefore can’t be as good in their job as their certificate/marks would indicate. Now, “without warning”, that joke…that perception…is now policy.
My ire is further enflamed when you consider that these men see other men – poor men, uneducated men, NDC footsoldiers – as the problem. The other guy is the threat and obstacle to female success in Ghana, not them! But you know what? When the truth always comes out in the wash, and the same fellows who were bellowing about the release of the Montie 3 – a group of men who notoriously threatened to rape a Supreme Court judge – have the unmitigated gall to pass disgusting comments about women every day. Just because those comments are not on the radio and rather made on the presumed safety of your personal Facebook page doesn’t make them any less insidious or appalling.
A handful of people have had their say about what Evron Hughes and Franklin Cudjoe, two men who have jockeyed for political relevance using the reality that is the abysmal state of Ghana’s socio-political landscape to further that end, in lengthy published pieces online. Their offence is all the more repulsive because they have voluntarily and intentionally placed themselves in positions to judge the misdeeds of their political adversaries… and to profit from it. These are supposed to be men of some sort of elevated moral standard, men you expect to demonstrate a level of couth and consideration because of the sort of advocacy they profess to be all about. But what does it say when one guy posts an image of two women at an about-face posture asks another to “quantify” what he’s looking at? Are these women’s bodies tomatoes or other commodities to be sold on the stock exchange? How is this behavior any different from the pimp selling women on an e-auction block, a horrible reality that countless women and girls who are trafficked for sex endure every day?
And furthermore to have that query met with the response: Overused and smelly.
This is where I get raw with you guys, and feel free to check out here if you need to.
A woman whose body is being traded for the sexual gratification of men can expect to have 1-3 penetrative encounters a day in order to make her quota. That’s on the “reasonable” end of the spectrum. A 12-year-old girl who was recently rescued from the trade in Atlanta said that her pimp (her mother’s boyfriend) would force her to have 5-6 encounters (oral sodomy, vaginal and/or anal penetrative sex) A DAY. Those were acts that were against her will. She was a “whore” by every social scientific definition of the word. Currency passed hands for the use of her body. Hundreds of thousands of girls and women face this trauma globally.
So to make a “joke” about the presumed overuse of a woman’s private parts is in fact to call her a whore. The query about quantifying it is to ask how much you (Evron) think she’s worth.
When you’re a whore, you don’t usually get to take long leisurely showers between clients. Clients like Franklin Cudjoe, who are intimate with the odor that accompanies frequent sexual encounters and less frequent encounters with soap and water.
The after shocks from having sex do not always end with a “glow” for women. Sometimes sex results in bruising, pain and yes, discharge.
“Sex trafficking victims are particularly susceptible to sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, syphilis, urinary tract infections, and pubic lice. Human immunodeficiency virus/ AIDS infection is known to be prevalent. They may experience pelvic pain, vaginal/anal tearing, rectal trauma, and/or urinary difficulties as a result of commercial sex work. Sex trafficking victims are often physically abused and tortured.” – Source, NCBI
You think that sort of trauma isn’t going to produce a smell?
In Ghana, today, in 2016, there are villages populated by women with fistula, shunned because they emit an odor so foul that they are driven from their homes in shame because they don’t have access to decent obstetrical care. Yeast infections aside, if a woman’s vagina is “smelly”, it’s usually because it has come into contact with some ridiculous bloke’s penis.
That Franklin Cudjoe could look at a picture of two faceless women and immediately determine what sexual and hygienic habits they employ speaks volumes about him. It speaks volumes about what sort of men Ghanaian society is propping up. Those who come to his aid and claim that we should all “move on” are the fuel that keeps this forest fire burning. Look at this (non)apology:
Feminists and anthropologists have been telling us about how racism and sexism are cut from the same cloth…how they are opposite sides of the same coin. Franklin Cudjoe’s quip about having NPP women as friends is as stomach turning as George Zimmerman pointing to his work with one Black kid he big brothered in 4H as evidence of his ally ship with the Black community.
That this would happen on the waning days of Women’s Month shows how far we have to go with a nation. In the mind of our most elite men, every woman is a hoe. Is that what it all boils down to? Lydia Forson is a hoe because she has an opinion. Yvonne Nelson is a hoe because she led Dumsor Must Stop. Sandra Ankobiah is sho nuff a hoe, because she’s always on vacation. How are women supposed to feel safe, included and have their cerebral contributions taken seriously in spheres run by chauvinists like Cudjoe and Amoabeng and Agyapong, and Dela Coffie, and Ampaw and, and, and…
To quote your uncle, are we safe?