When Feminism is mentioned, I am sure one person, in particular, comes to mind….the Great Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. From a distance I have admired her and happened to listen to some of her TED Talks…the popular ones namely The Danger of a Single Story’ and ‘We Should All Be Feminists‘.
Now, I know in as much as this woman is genuinely loved by many, of course there a lot of others who hate her including women who mostly think her views on feminism are too extreme…and that she is just a sadist or looking for cheap attention…Fair enough.
Over the past few weeks I read three of her books including ‘We Should All Be Feminists‘, ‘The Thing Around Your Neck‘ and ‘Dear Ijeawale or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions‘. I am yet to read her other popular books which include Half of a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus, and Americanah but regarding those I have read so far, my favorite has to be ‘Dear Ijeawale or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions‘. This is because, in my opinion, it summarises everything that has got to do with feminism.
The sad thing is many people including women think to be a feminist means you hate men, hate marriage or just being a rebel to all the laid down rules in our patriarchal society.
In the said book, Chimamanda outlines different scenarios whereby a woman is either subdued or told to do or not to do certain things just because it might scare men away (the notion that marriage is a woman’s ultimate achievement in life baffles me). For instance, she mentions a lady she knows who would not drive her nice car and would not live in her posh house just because it will make her seem unattractive or threaten a man. In her own words, ‘a man that is threatened by my achievements is the kind of man I do not want‘. Apt!
Another instance is…in my local parlance there is a word young girls are normally referred to known as ‘Aketesia‘ which literally means ‘Cover and hide your body for your future husband‘. This is a good thing because it encourages chastity..however, it is not the same for a young man. In fact, it is mostly applauded when a young man has numerous girlfriends but when a girl at a certain age is even seen talking to boys who are probably friends, she is tagged as a whore…In the case where a girl gets pregnant out of wedlock, she is shamed heavily forgetting that she did not have sex with herself, you then wonder, what about the guy she committed fornication with?… Our society is filled with double standards and it is just sickening….and the danger is we are so used to it that when someone (like Chimamanda) decides to rise up against these stereotypes she’s tagged all sorts of names.
Recently, she came under heavy backlash for saying that opening a door for a woman should not be done on the basis of seeing the woman as the weaker sex. The truth is, most people are so used to their ways of thinking and do not even want to assimilate information before giving their own opinions…hell no, some people will not even watch the full video but immediately they see a twisted caption from those bloggers who want traffic on their blogs they join others who are either frustrated or just feel the urge to insult and then do the needful.
The truth is we all live in a misogynistic society and we can only try to spark these conversations but then if the same women being fought for are castigating the same person airing those thoughts that they might probably have but do not have the courage to voice out…then we have a LONG WAY TO GO.
The truth is feminism has always been there…way back…In fact, Chimamanda mentioned that her great-grandmother was a feminist. I think many people have just started becoming vocal about it these days and it is a good start.
When I say I am a feminist (which as far as I am concerned has different types but I will stick to the one that I can easily identify with). I am saying I want to be treated like my male counterparts and not be shamed for the same things they are praised for…I am not saying I want to be like a man because no matter how I try I will always be a woman and a man will always be a man. However, I am saying I should not be shamed for not wanting marriage or being disrespected in a marriage and enduring all forms of abuse in it just because it is assumed I am some type of nonliving thing that has no feelings or I want to please society. If I so desire to have a child with a man and not get married, I should not be dragged to hell and back because I decided to drift from the societal norm of getting married and having babies. I want to be in control of who I have sexual intercourse with and how many. I should not be shamed for satisfying my own sexual desires when the men in question are praised for being MEN because after all, they are MEN. I should be allowed to compete with men in competitions and not be doubted for just being a different gender. In a boardroom filled with men, I should be judged based on my intellectual capacity and what I BRING TO THE TABLE and not based on my gender or whether I am capable of being there or having doubts as to whether I got there through my intellectual ability or ‘sleeping my way through’. When a position is available and I qualify and my male counterpart does not, I should not be cheated out of it with the excuse that it is a man’s world or a woman cannot lead a group of men or whatever but rather be given that opportunity because I earned it and deserve it.
The next time as a man or woman you feel the urge to trash feminism, think of a world whereby yourself, your daughters or the women in your generation will continually be oppressed just because they are labeled as an unfortunate or a weaker sex…as if being a woman is an abomination. Let me chip this in here, I know some people misconstrue what feminism is and misinterpret it to disrespect men or not having any regard for them which is NOT what it is about…
Feminism says YES to Inclusivity and NO to discrimination against women.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Have a blessed week and Stay tuned for more