A lot of dust has been raised concerning this topic, so I decided to do a mini research of my own (truth be told, I needed something interesting to write on, so hope y’all like it 🙂 ) plus I got Chimamanda’s view on the subject below…
“Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women” – according to wiki.
I’m giving the general public an open channel to air their views, vote below and be sure of the options before picking sides.
Now here’s what I think;
For those against feminism of any sort, from my stand point are completely oblivious or consciously decided to turn a blind eye to this subject, because to stand against feminism would mean, the woman would have little or no personal say on anything of any sort.
See it from this angle, imagine being a wife, unconsciously evolving your spouse into a self seeking Patriarch, worse still with no employment and nothing more than a primary school education, your prospects are limited to domestic labour with seven children to carter for, you are reduced to a maid in your own home. Why would anyone wish such a horrible fate on themselves? When “feminism” is scorned at, you alternatively embrace a dictatorial patriarchy. Don’t be a woman drenched in this hypocrisy, because you are clinging to the norm!
Every time a woman with at least a Bachelor’s degree declares “I am not a feminist o!” in the vicinity of men, I mumble “eye service”, especially from my part of the world, feminism has an already deteriorated reputation. It has become the new “Osu”. Some Nigerian women love to proudly, claim to anyone who will hear that they are not feminists as if feminism were synonymous to being a genocide, a racial extermination (those two probably mean the same thing) or some other appalling vice.
It is then highly surprising that these same Nigerian women who deny feminism with all their energy have no problem availing themselves to all the benefits that feminism has to offer such as; the freedom to pursue education, to have rights in choosing their paths in life, to make as much money for themselves as they want, and to choose whom they will marry for themselves.
Undisputedly, Nigerian women on the average have bagged more advanced degrees than any other group of black women in West Africa and to an extent, I dare say in Africa. But reverse is the case when feminism is mentioned, these women are somewhat racists to the movement, or are probably just ignorant.
They are therefore stuck in a self created deafening silence, as they openly oppose the subject with their mouths, but their bags of certificates speak volumes of what they obviously but deniably stand for. My guesses are this is a strategy unconsciously borne out of a need to survive in a society that so emphatically insists on valuing women by the degree to which they are attached to a man (don’t get me wrong I’m not saying a woman shouldn’t be loyal or submissive to her husband) but why can’t she be seen in the light of her personal achievements instead?
I have a theory, (some or many of you might disagree with) as far as I’m concerned, it’s as true as the night is dark (you’re welcome to disagree, of course), that the major reason a Nigerian woman would distance herself from feminism is because she wants the typical Nigerian man (of whom 90% of them are actively invested to some degree of upholding thereby preserving and perpetuating patriarchy, because they are evidently threatened by feminism) to fancy her, then she’d have to sacrifice more of herself to get him to love her (which might not be achieved), but let’s face it, what greater sacrifice is more than relinquishing your freedom? It’s just a scenario but extremely sad! Why would a woman begin to see her success connected to a man?
Nigerian women with limited or no education, submitting to patriarchy is every bit pitiful, especially in the rural parts of Northern Nigeria. The home ground of the vast majority of Nigeria’s under educated poor mass, most cases are of little girls married off to old men, a contrast to the more educated parts of Nigeria, the higher up the social ladder you climb, the more subtle and less brutal the submission to patriarchy becomes.
The educated wealthy Nigerian women, in a quest to pay lip service to the society, struggle to balance their quest for masculine attention and the finest things of life end up bottled in miserable relationships.
Women, who back this societal nourished tree, should have told their daughters from birth not to bother with education and to focus on being pretty so some bent old man would marry them and they’d make a soccer and badminton team together.
Clearly, this did not happen as the majority, presently not necessarily from the “wealthy homes” support the furthering of education, having successful careers and of course amassing as much wealth and power as they could possibly manage, so it would spread to the branches.
But then again, encroachments upon the rights of women only make headlines when they happen to wealthy educated Nigerian women, a paradox is of millions of poor Nigerian “nobodies” whose rights are violated every day by some Nigerian man, are those too unimportant to be worth the comment? Truth is, educated, wealthy Nigerian women have no perceived need to think of how their stand on feminism affect the big picture as they are never victims, this brutal dictatorship will only happen to some poor woman in a hut in some God forsaken village in for example Maiduguri, so they as usual, they can’t be bothered !!
Another way I see it, as long as the patriarchy pill isn’t too big to go down, Nigerian women don’t need to acknowledge they are constantly rode upon, all in the name of a societal norm, as feminism to some degree “chases” husbands away and nobody wants to be the unmarried becoming an old maid in her father’s house being suspected of lesbianism at the next school reunion, they’d probably convince themselves, who needs feminism when “I can wear jackets fully speech proof”, as they are constantly reminded “you are just a woman”, which is simply a refined version of oppression.
Drawing the curtains on this subject, our “fortunate” Nigerian women, why don’t you focus on spreading the truth as loudly as possible, so these “presumably” helpless Nigerian women who actively suffer daily oppression from the men in their lives rise up for themselves, as many of you, already enjoying rights and freedoms that Feminism upholds and if you still carry the title “I’m not a feminist”, if you are asked to give up those rights and freedoms, you would all REFUSE!
Well, I’d like to exclaim with no doubt; Dear Nigerian woman, if you pursue your education and course of your heart, have your own bank account, make and spend your own money, buy your own stuff or marry the person of your choice, and live the life you want, then whether you like it or not, YOU ARE A FEMINIST!!!
We should all be feminist – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
your thoughts concerning this subject is very welcome, leave your comments below. 😉