Why do some people get really mad when I say I am not a feminist? Why must I be one? Please do not pretend you have fought for any right I have today. Save for angry rants, I am not even sure the modern day self-proclaimed Nigerian Feminist has achieved anything tangible. In my opinion, trending a hashtag reported by CNN and Huffpost changes little. Correct me if you think I am wrong.
Mind you, it is easier and very cool to flash the T-shirt with the words Feminist emblazoned on a ready-to- heave at everybody chest. It is not cool not to be a Feminist. So, I am not trying to be popular by refusing this label. I simply honestly am not one.
My mother was a housewife, my father practically paid ALL the bills. But my mother was in no way oppressed or lazy. She was not a helpless cowering woman under a no nonsense lord. My mother owned all of us. See, you could not get a dime from my dad if she stood in your way. And if she was on your side, then everything was going to be alright. We all belonged to her, including my dad. And we were mostly happy about that.
I have never felt disadvantaged because I am a woman. I have worked in six places and was never paid less than the men. Come to think of it, except for two places, there were more women employed than men in the places I worked. Yes, I have been asked to wash plates and serve men at work functions (and of course I resented it) but at the same time, when it was time to lift heavy stuff no one ever called me. When we go for field trips I quite enjoy that the women get seating preference, so we choose the most comfortable cars with working ACs. I have had my share of the toasters that try to pick you up and when you ignore them, they scream out obscenities at you. “Ashawo” etc. I usually understand that low self-esteem and rejection is a difficult combination to deal with so I pray for such men and thank God for my intimidating and frustratingly fine self and walk away.
In my house, my husband takes care of most of the bills because he earns more. He does not do house chores and sometimes I am mad at him but mostly not… I do not want to know how good his cooking is (sensitive stomach things).
Am I saying that because I like my life and have not felt oppressed other women are not oppressed? Absolutely not. But a one-sided narrative does not represent all. Also, choices exist, especially if you are not born in the part of Nigeria that marry off really young girls.
The modern Nigerian girl has choices. If the men are monsters, please, you do not have to marry them. If you must marry, then choose wisely and if you discover you have made a mistake, walk away.
Loads of my friends earn more than their husbands. Nigerian women are doing incredibly well. They mostly choose to remain shackled to prove whatever moot point to a society they care too much about pleasing. You see a petty trader who is doing very well for herself married to a no-good drunk and still staying in the situation. I have had loads of female bosses well versed in office politics and climbing high fast. If you ever disrespected them, you would be toast. Fiery women, smart women, educated women, hardworking women.
For the little girls being married off before they are women, I am truly not sure if our collective rage can change that. Maybe having more women with political power will make some difference.
I even mostly blame our mothers for the ‘Penis trumps Vagina’ mentality of men. The sense of entitlement a phallus bequeaths them. My brothers were exempted from house chores and you expect them to agree to do the dishes when you marry them? #onalongting.
Our mothers were the ones mostly shouting “When you grow up and marry…” to us. They sold this thing to us and if we must change things, rants probably will make the ‘rantor’ feel better but making a tangible difference, I am not sure.
I have two boys and I will not spare them. I will teach them to value and see women as deserving of equal respect with men. But biko, I am still not a feminist. The label is tiresome and now just plain boring. I am not on some aimless march baring my fangs at men. YES, I SAID IT AIMLESS. The day you Feminists try to make things in Nigeria interesting by fielding and fully backing women vying for top political posts in this country, I will consider feminism. Till then, spare me the spittle.
Remi of the KOWA party would have earned significant votes if only just the women supported her. We were all busy shouting GEJ and Buhari and now we are complaining that we are not taken seriously. Do we take ourselves seriously? Leave the men out of it. It pays them, why would they change the system?
Stop screaming and put together a coherent movement. Haven’t you learnt anything from the gays? Bashing will get you a cursory glance but lobbying in the corridors that matter COHERENTLY will see results.
Feel free to come at me. I AM STILL NOT A FEMINIST!
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