This post may sound angry, that’s cos I actually was angry when i was writing it :). A friend of mine pointed out that this may tend to “isolate” rather than “educate”. Then we figured that this post won’t even be read by the people it’s intended for no matter how nicely written it was…because those people see feminism and mentally shut down. With that having been said… Enjoy!
I’ve always wanted to write a post on feminism, because I get very “passionate” when i’m discussing the topic; especially when whatever man i’m speaking to has decided to remain, in this year of our Lord, painfully ignorant.
Unless you live in some upside down version of our beloved country or are privileged to only interact with your intelligent circle of friends (lucky you), you’d have to agree that concerning social issues and issues affecting anyone else but themselves, or information coming from no one else but other men OR concerning issues raised by women who think like them, most Nigerian men willingly choose to be ignorant and will fight tooth and nail for their right to remain so.
As human beings we tend to rebel against anything that goes against our beliefs-this is where the whole cognitive dissonance thing stems from. Maybe this isn’t an issue in itself (I think it is). The main issue evolves when you actively rebel against learning new information about other people’s experiences that can help you make informed decisions in your thought processes-especially where other people (women in this case) are involved. Before I go on, I should say, people experiencing certain things are in a better position to tell you what they’re going through. So when women are talking about their experiences as women…unless you have a vagina, PLEASE SHUT UP AND JUST LISTEN.
For the sake of those who aren’t quite clear on the topic or those who didn’t pay attention to Chimamanda’s talk, feminism is actually quite simple. Because I’m such a nice loving girl concerned about your awareness levels; I’m going to write down two definitions. The popular, should-be-easy-to-understand-but-for-some strange-reason-isn’t definition and my own “simplified” explanation.
In case you are one of the Nigerian men this post refers to who is looking to change, but whose very nature will prevent him from understanding this simple concept, please repeat these words of affirmation-
“I am intelligent. My mind is open to receiving new beneficial information. I remain open and understanding. My mind is capable of processing information different from my experiences”
Now repeat this as well
“Feminism is not armpit hair and pubic hair, Feminism is not women agreeing to be punched because we are now “equals”, Feminism does not equal “women don’t cook”, Feminism does not threaten my personal worth as a human being(or as a “man”).”
(These affirmations are directly inspired by actual conversations with our dear Nigerian men 🙂 )
Now this is what feminism is
1. Feminism is a belief system that is based on the social, political and economic equality of men and women
2. Feminism is basically women and girls having the right to make choices that affect them as human beings, and believing that the ideal society respects and encourages these choices.
Why is this so difficult to understand?
Of course men are women ARE different, but I’ve never understood difference to mean weakness. If i’m being honest, men are more likely to be physically stronger. But recent discussions about “man-flu” and scientific evidence have shown that internally, men’s immune systems most likely are weaker and handle illnesses differently-not as well as women. Which to me may also be why women’s bodies were nature’s best picks for carrying and nurturing life; and why men mostly die earlier 🙂 . Plus…FEMINISM IS SOCIAL POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY- basic HUMAN RIGHTS. Physical is not included in the definition because there’s no such thing. So obviously on no bloody account are you allowed to punch women in the face because “equality”.
Talking about feminism as the power to choose makes it even easier to understand. For instance it means women can choose to be who they want to be without it taking away from their value as human beings.
This means that a woman can choose to be the president of a country or choose to be a stay at home mom-whichever she pleases. It’s wider than this because society has a big role to play in encouraging women to be who they want to be-such as paying men and women equally for equal jobs in the workspace.
It’s not a competition. Women shouldn’t even have to prove that they deserve to be treated as human beings. From the moment I understood what feminism was, it just didn’t make sense to me that anyone would not agree with what it stood for.
I’ll probably have to stretch this post out and do another one where I discuss common misconceptions by nigerian men about feminism.
As explained in Bad Feminist, no conversation or post about feminism can capture the concept 100%, and sometimes there can be as many definitions as there are feminists but this is me trying. It’s ever evolving and even feminists learn how to be better feminists everyday.

Author: loladeniyi

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