I am a product of a society deeply superstitious, biased, and highly condoning and permissive to the MALE, and yes I am a man. Growing up in Southern Nigeria was interesting to say the least, 7 days rainfall, roasted plantain and fish, starch and ‘owo’ soup (made by the gods enjoyed by humanity, thank you very much), and the WOMEN.
The women, strong, insanely industrious (across board), fertile (averaging 2.3 kids/home)…my aunt had 10 kids (yes…I did not stutter…10!), beautiful, and despite all these and many more desirable qualities, the women were largely subdued, treated like after thoughts, abused – physically, emotionally and financially – 2nd class citizens. It’s not news what I just described, many of you, are products of this same society, but here is however my grieviance, my quarrel if you will, the enforcers of this ill treatment and subjugation in our contemporary times are THE WOMEN.
So pardon me, if I describe your mum, grandmum, sister, cousin or aunt… my family isn’t excluded in this either. We live in a time where the world over, women are becoming richer, more powerful, economically and politically, more famous, if you are entertainment buff, and generally much more respected.
We’ve seen the rise of the Women’s Rights movements and even women being in the forefront of religious institutions, so I am perplexed really as to why certain traditions here in my country linger on, that put women in disadvantageous positions, and more so, defended by women of the older generation.
Didn’t they see their own mums suffer the humiliation of rape, widowhood, genital mutilation, physical abuse? Why then are they still supporting a system that harms their daughters? I have female friends who are professionals, doctors, lawyers, engineers, writers, designers etc, who are still bombared by the marriage scourge, whose mums, aunts, and fathers still tell them to make sure their husband ‘doesn’t get angry’ with them for it will bring shame to their family.
Whereas as a male in this society, I grew up expecting every woman to greet me, I’d talk rudely and pardon would be my piece more often than not, because I was ‘a man’. Interestingly enough it was my father, thank heavens for him, thar quickly culled my excesses. He taught me to treat ALL as my equal, but it is sad that many men still have the archaic archetype domineering disposition, and they are backed by women, who tell young promising Nigerian women, you cant do this or that, because you are woman! Let them be, let them make up their minds, it is their body, don’t force them to have kids, they maybe better suited at making an already strained society more manageable.
They are earning more than men these days, let them travel and explore, teach them honour and respect, not subjugation and fear, let them make their mistakes not as women, but as HUMANS. If we want to see proper development in our country, give THESE WOMEN, a level playing field.
For THOSE WOMEN, who can’t seem to shake off the past, stuck in the old ways,(not all things old are bad, not all things new are good), I support a system that is able to balance what is needed and what is known, support the development of your daughters whilst instilling values that are more likely to serve us better, than how well they ‘take care’ of their hungry and very often horny husbands.
I am a man, borne of a very strong Ijaw woman, a woman who is respected and respectful, and like many of her generation (and this present generation) struggled to give her children the best she didn’t have, including the lesson of equal treatment. Let’s give THESE WOMEN those same opportunities