The word “Feminism” has become a constant cause for chaos whenever mentioned. I cannot count the number of heated arguments this 8-letter word has raised. The friendships it has destroyed and is still breaking as you read this.
To be very honest, I didn’t notice this word until late last year. I say ‘notice’ because I have come across it a couple of times but it didn’t really mean much to me until I started seeing it constantly on social media. The plenty arguments drew me to search for it. If Chimamanda’s talk did not start a fight, one tweet will raise some dust. I got really interested and just like most things, I started digging deeper into it. I am still digging.
I tried shaking this table weeks ago in a group chat and I got some really surprising and enlightening responses. This post, however, is about the lessons I learned from Chimamanda’s book “We should all be Feminists“.
Disclaimer: You may or may not like this post. My opinion doesn’t have to be adopted, you only need to understand it.
Important Words to Know Concerning Feminism
Whatever you do, do not go on Urban Dictionary to check the meanings to any of these words. You will be misinformed or annoyed. Whichever table you’re sitting on, it will not yield a good result.
I remember seeing people tag Chimamanda Adichie an extremist. Honestly, it was easy for me to join in and conclude that she was leading an army of angry women all over the world but then, I sat down and watched those videos fully, listened to the conversations that preceded her responses and I came to the conclusion that – merely believing what is on Twitter and Instagram will lead me into endless and unproductive fights and mood swings.
You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Your life belongs to you and you alone
Tips from “We should All be Feminists” by Chimamanda Adichie
Can I get an AMEN on this one. HAYYYYY!!! I still cringe when I hear things like “So that’s how you’ll behave in your husband’s house!”. Matter of fact! yes! I intend on behaving like this! It’s like boys are supposed to supervise girls. This mentality has to stop. Raise us to be good judges of our own character. Raise girls to be able to know what is good not what others think is good. We can’t keep helping people wear their shoes. Maybe we want to even walk with bare feet. Nobody asked us. Anger Is Threatening When You’re a WomanI personally have a different view from this. The way I’ve seen it, when a woman is angry, it’s seen as merely a joke. I have seen times when a woman’s anger was taken for granted until she struck. You’ll always hear them say stuff like “Leave am, na woman. Nothing come out”. So my anger is less valid because I’m female? I’m not understanding.
When I read this for the first time, I thought “hmmmm this is a bit negative” and then, I asked myself what the ratio was in the company I used to work with and then what the ratio was in other companies I know. Look around you and truly ask “what the ratio is”. You might say “… but my aunty and her friends are all big shots in their fields”. Well…. ok what’s the ratio? When they go for board meetings in their companies, are they the only women sitting?
As I no be dog or cat wey dem dey own. Right from the moment I thought about the institution of marriage, I never saw it as a means of getting owned. They said UNION not IMPRISONMENT. We don’t need this kind of mentality at all. Men and Women that are choosing to get married, search for a partner that also sees you as a partner. It’s not to be disturbing our ears with “I have found my life partner” meanwhile you people are doing owner and pet.
If you’re happy and true to yourself, you will not need to put someone else down to make yourself feel better. This is truly KEY to many problems in the world. Being truly honest within makes you realize that most things don’t matter.
In a conversation with a family member last week, the topic of a girl getting pregnant was raised and I will never forget what he said – “No be two people do am?”. Whenever sex is involved, girls are looked at differently. Wait! No be two people dey do am? Why does the girl have to be the one to be shamed and her partner has the option of being free to roam. A single mother is ostracized but a single father is seen as a hero. You’ll hear things like “Ahn that man dey really try for im children”. Ello ma! Ello Sir! so is the Single Mother down the road.
If you treat the next person as they are, you won’t have the time to think of how they should be. There is no “supposed” inside this matter. I want to learn Carpentry as a woman. I will learn it. Don’t come at me with that “Women are not supposed to do that” type of talk. I won’t even listen.
It is normal for people to resist change just because it does not favour them at the time. Sadly, the status quo changes every now and again – get used to it. Life is full of changes. If you can choose to buy petrol after they increase the price, you can also choose to see women as equals. You own your mind. It won’t be easy but you’ve got to try.
Someone or a group of people sat down and decided what we call culture today. I’ve never agreed with the “It’s our culture” excuse. Like why? Who came up with this? Your fore-fathers abi. Were they human like you and I? Abi did they have wings to fly? See ehn! let’s calm down and reason these things. Man created culture. Culture did not create man.
Ehen! this point is for everyone! This struggle is for everybody. There is pressure on the men as well. While it seems like the system favours men more, the system doesn’t cut them some slack in certain areas. They were also born into the same system as you and were taught the same things. We should focus on growing together.
My 2-cents on Feminism
To sum it up, there are men out there that have refused to see any good concerning this topic because they have misinterpreted words or have been misinformed. Just like every movement, there will be people fighting wrongly. The point is that women need to be treated equally. We are tired of being treated as “follow-come” humans.
Some people even have it worse than you think. Some girls are not educated or allowed to go to school because their fathers believe it is a waste of their money since they’ll be married off.
Dear Men, look around and be honest with yourself. Do you think women are treated fairly? Please take away that “We do everything for them” thought you have right now. We have worries. We want to be part of major decision-making processes don’t just dump welfare on our head because you think we automatically should know what to do. Think of the individual involved. Don’t assume.
Dear Ladies, some of us want feminism to win and are still holding on to the patriarchal system that favours us. Pick a struggle and be explicit about what you want.
I might not always agree with some methods used to fight partriarchy but, to answer the question, Yes! I’m a feminist. I don’t need to add anything to the front to explain the things I fight for. I am a feminist, period. If you want to know or teach me more, feel free to comment or e-mail me privately.