Official Statement: Pepper Dem Ministries 

So I’m sure you’ve heard all the noise, arguments, debates and you name it flying around on social media about a group of women calling themselves #ThePepperDemMinistries.


Well here’s everything you need to know about them.
This is our official statement on who we are, what we are about, and where we would like to go with the Ministry.
Who are we?

These past two weeks the Ghanaian Facebook sphere was captured by a group of charismatic young women with their male allies who drove/put gender on everybody’s agenda. The #PepperDemMinistries (PDM) is a group of like-minded women on Facebook who were already in the business of probing into the structures operating in the Ghanaian society that somehow leave both genders imbalanced and incompatible to work in unison to advance society. We are called “Pepper Dem Ministries” because we engage with the issues which are mostly uncomfortable and unpopular in our socio-cultural space. Pepper can burn and we raise issues which can make people shift in their seats. Our advocacy focuses mainly on gender.
What has happened in the past two weeks:

PDM took “advantage” of two incidents in the past couple of weeks to reverse narratives and create scenarios which pointed to our gendered biases in order to highlight unfair judgments, mostly, placed on women in society. By this, we also showed how restricting women, ultimately, disadvantaged men and the overall progress of society. The first incident was the fracas between Mr. Paul Adom Otchere and Mr. Manasseh Azure. The second was the leaked video of Madam Afia Schwarzenegger by her “husband” for supposedly “cheating” on him and threatening to pour acid on her.
These two scenarios offered us an opportunity to successfully flip the script and replace “man/men” with “woman/women” and vice versa in our socio-cultural narratives engineered by gender stereotypes. We have skilfully maintained the same tone and logic used in these same instances to either (1) brand women as their own enemies and (2) let sexually unfaithful men off the hook easily and therefore burdening another fallible human (the female) unnecessarily with higher purity standards and as custodians of morality. We set out to be deliberate and raw (say it as it is) in order to give everyone a mirror in their hand to reflect their gendered thinking and a gauge to measure their gendered angles. We recognise that being a good person is not necessarily a cure to sexism and misogyny and both women and men can fall prey to this.
Our purpose:

The purpose of our probing, interrogating, and theorising is to facilitate learning, unlearning and re-learning of the narratives both male and females have been operating by, in order to establish a better approach to our socialization. The issues we technically address are certain ingrained gender norms and how partial it can be against women . Although we highlight the fact that these narratives are more dangerous for women, we do not lose sight of the many subtle ways these narratives affect men too.
The Way Forward:

We have used and will continue to use the affordances of social media, in its very essence to shape and re-shape the mindsets of our generation and the next and we would like to invite you to join hands with us, engage us and freely critique us.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be flipping, theorising and projecting the lived experiences of women and girls in our society to generate conversations around gender bias in our society (ShareHerStory). We will also be inviting men to share with us how patriarchy has hurt them and how gender stereotypes also affect them (HearHisVoice).
Our Successes:

This is only the beginning of our third week and already our official Facebook page is at a 1000 likes in just three days of operation. Thank you for making this happen!

For the past two weeks, #PepperDemMinistries has been trending on and off social media. We’ve got the entire Ghanaian social media scene talking, probing and interrogating gender norms in the society. This, has been ongoing for the past 2 weeks and we are utterly elated!

We see our male allies and we recognise that there are many that are for us than against us.

The backlash around our “approach” and “tone” is ultimate proof that the damage of the narratives are deeper than we had imagined. These truths we speak are uncomfortable and society is having a hard time confronting them.
As we celebrate our successes and continue discussions around these narratives, let’s be reminded that the #Pepper in our name refers to the uncomfortable narratives we are dealing with.
Now that we have your attention, note that we will remain primarily on social media and continue speaking up against these narratives. Catch up on our posts and events at:
Facebook: Pepper Dem Ministries

Twitter: @PDMAfrica

-Efe Franca Plange

Graduate Teaching Instructor (Michigan Technological University)

President (African Students Organization)

Department of Humanities Rep (Graduate Student Government)

Editor (www.sankofareviews.com)b

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