Feminism has become a household word in recent times and a lot of women pride themselves as Feminists. What is wrong with the 21st century woman? What has gotten into her head? What is it that makes her want to be men’s equal? How dare she? Why would she want to rub shoulders with men in the society? Is she not aware that she belongs to the Kitchen and the other room? Is she ignorant of the fact that men and women can never be equals? Are we not brought up in African tradition and religion to be under the men? Even the Oni of Ife’s wife thinks it is stupid that women want to equal men. Too many questions so let us get talking today.
First off, let us define Feminism so that we have a clear picture of the topic we want to shred. “Feminism is advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.”
The keywords here are bold so you do not miss them. A little history for your consumption: once upon a time, women didn’t vote in the United States neither did they have the right to own properties. In Africa, at some point, women were not sent to school. There was a slogan “women’s education ends in the kitchen”. Then women and men alike stood up and fought for women’s rights so that the Oni of Ife’s wife can go to America, stand up to speak (an opportunity another woman made possible for her) and say she doesn’t believe in gender equality (If only she knew the meaning). Little wonder why we aren’t making progress as a country when we have her type scattered all over the place.
How many people will vote a woman running for president of this country? Everyone will start making demeaning comments like “she should go look after her home, she is irresponsible, this is African and she should behave herself, I can never vote a woman into power, this women have come with their feminism bullshit…” what amazing comments from people living in the jet age. When was it ever in the news that a 13 year old boy (or less) was married out or forced into marriage? When was it ever heard that a man lost his wife and was accused and subjected to all forms of ill treatments? How many times have families come to battle for their daughters properties at her demise (even when she was the breadwinner)? How many times are men the victims of rape and all other forms of violence? How many times have men been ridiculed with sexual tapes? And you still don’t see the need for Feminism and Gender Equality? You really need help. A male child can be out up until midnight but God forbid a female child thinks about it. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India stated in his Independence Day speech of 2015;
“When we hear about the incidents of rape, we hang our heads in shame. People come out with different arguments, someone indulges in psycho analysis, but today from this platform, I want to ask those parents, I want to ask every parent that has a daughter of 10 or 12 years, you are always on the alert, every now and then you keep on asking where are you going, when would you come back, inform immediately you reach. Parents ask their daughters hundreds of questions, but have any parent ever dared to ask their son where he is going, why he is going out, who his friends are. After all, a rapist is also somebody`s son. He also has parents. As parents, have we ever asked our son what he is doing and where he is going? If every parent decides to impose as many restrictions on the sons as have been imposed on our daughters, try to do this with your sons, try to ask such questions of them.”
I am sick and tired of people confusing Feminism or gender equality with gender role exchange and female supremacy. Nobody wants to equal these men in roles. Do you think we women are not aware that we cannot equal them in that manner? They produce about a drum full of testosterone, we produce only about a handful, we bleed every month; they cannot take up that responsibility, we carry and birth children; it is our role as women and these men can never assume that obligation. Men are naturally stronger than women (thanks to testosterone and other silly reasons). You think we are not aware of all these?
We are not expecting our husbands to breastfeed our babies. Neither are we expecting our husbands to wash our underwear because we do theirs, we are not even expecting our husbands to clean the house and do the dishes simply because we have jobs and they don’t. What we need is the slavery of women to come to an end. We need to be appreciated and not undermined simply because our voices aren’t deep and we cannot lift a bag of rice with ease (some women actually can). Do you know how industrious the African woman is? She works her butt off every day to keep her family together. Many women in Africa are breadwinners for reasons of being single parents, being another wife amongst wives, being widowed among many other reasons, yet they are not acknowledged. Women are paid lesser wages than men in so many jobs, society doesn’t empower these women and society sure as hell isn’t fair to her.
All I am trying to say is educate yourself. When next you hear the word Feminism, don’t start having all these shallow ideas in your head. Women would never want to be equal to men. Women want equal rights with men not roles. We refuse to be in the kitchen, other room and living room. We were created to be men’s helper not slaves. Let us help you build the Nigeria of our dreams. We can contribute just as much as the men in every aspect of development. Feminism is simply asking the world to take women seriously and respect their hustle.