Bring out your dictionaries ladies and gentlemen. The time has come for them to be used.
Inspiration has come again, so I am trying to answer the next segment of the untitled series.
Misogyny, Chauvinism, Feminism and Misandry
So, today at work, I spoke up about sexual harassment I have been receiving at work as well as females getting looked down on by their male counterparts.
Quite coincidentally I saw a post by another blogger. It was about an african female musician who had a massive wardrobe malfunction while performing and she had no undergarment on. The blogger attributed it to the lengths at which “women” will go for fame. He also added, women please respect yourself so that you can be respected.
I’m thinking to myself, why must it be women though? If you look at almost all the streets in Nigeria, there is always a man with his penis out peeing on the road. If you look at almost all the streets in Nigeria, there is always a shirtless man with his boxers just on the ridge of his buttocks. Why doesn’t these count as a disrespectful situation for a man? Or are they trying to say that me as a lady will not get sexually attracted by a man’s firm bum or seeing a beautiful penis and looking away? Hell no. The good Lord gave me eyes to see and as such I will take my time to appreciate any male specimen he has put on this earth without feeling shy.
Personally, except in really distressful situations like long journeys and no convenience, I find it distasteful when I see men peeing on the road, in broad daylight, in a busy city with toilets around. But no one will say anything about it because it is “normal”. It can never be counted as being disrespectful of a man. He can never lose his respect because he has done it.
Think about it this way, if two african adults, male and female decide to go fully nude for the cover of a magazine for example, who is the one they will say is without home training? Who is the one they will say the person has brought disgrace on their children? Who is the one they will say “I am sorry for whoever marries you”?
And there’s this one in movies that I do not get. They will show full nude frontal of a lady and just show the bum of a man. Are you seriously kidding me! I want to see the man in all his glory. So women deserve to be shown naked and men don’t?
That brings me to the end of one of my points; Feminism. A feminist as defined by a woman I look up to, Chimamanda Adichie is “a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes”.
I have just talked about one of the aspects of social. But believe me, they are a lot. Almost innumerable. We all know the major economic (lower wages for women), and the major political (lower official positions for women).
So I came to work and was told I was to serve staff meal. I don’t bother too much about what is beneath my status or what not. I usually just do whatever I am told to do if my spirit accepts it. But believe me when I say it is the most degrading job I have ever done. First of, the staff population are largely uncultured and uncouth. Secondly, you have to clean up after them; wash the dishes, clean the trash, clear the food warmers. So I’m there, strutting away in my shoes and beautiful clothing, carrying a large and heavy pan of food which is supposedly supposed to be a man’s job. But as the guys appointed with me were dragging their feet about it and I had a lot of work to do back at the office, I carried all the heavy pans. No biggie right.
Food service started, I did it, the other guy had still done nothing. I was beginning to fume but I kept quiet waiting for his end game. Food service ended. The dishes were not cleared from the tables majorly from the uncultured staff and the cleared ones were sitting in the sink unwashed. Mr. A still hadn’t lifted a finger. He was just sitting and smiling. I cleared the service table and picked up my things and started walking out. I got called back by the other lady.
Lady: “Alia, where are you going?”
Me: “I am going back to my work, I am done here.”
Lady: “We haven’t finished, we have to wash these plates”
Me: “For what? That is Mr A’s duty”
Lady: “Na man go wash the plates? It is a woman’s job to wash the plates.”
I turned to look and Mr. A was smiling sheepishly like he just won. I just walked out on them. By this time, I had enough rage in me to cause a premature volcanic eruption.
You best believe that Mr. A washed up all the dishes.
It is exactly this attitude of men that makes feminists inadvertently become misandrists.
Remember I said I spoke up about sexual harassment at work today.
After speaking, one of the men said, “well if you don’t want anyone to sexually harass you, wear rags to work, smell and come to work.” Another one said, “welcome to Nigeria”, “toasting is allowed”. Another one said, “every man that is not gay must look at you and appreciate you no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel”. And I am thinking to myself, that kind of “toasting” in the work place. And this is how hating men begins. I’m thinking to myself, this are the people in leadership who should have some sort of sympathy for my case. Because now if not that I have better sense, they have put it in my head that all men are the same.
I have had my fair share of toasters all through my short life. Even when I was still a kid with an excuse of a chest. But let me explain what Nigerian toasting is.
1. In Nigeria, toasting is a slang used in place of wooing a lady.
2. In Nigerian toasting, you’re allowed to hold her hands or any part of her body without permission and accost her at whatever time possible to make sure she agrees.
3. Nigerian toasting involves using lines from wise King Solomon in the bible. (Read Songs of Solomon from any bible version)
4. In Nigerian toasting, you are allowed to be sexually suggestive as you like.
5. At the end of the toasting exercise, if the lady refuses, some men accept it and let it go. Others, go round the neighbourhood and spoil your name due to their crushed ego.
Now I do not support misandry at all. I just believe there should be a balance to everything. Do not go around being an extremist for the sake of feminism, religion and the likes of these.
Now here’s a thread an honest writer friend of mine wrote.
“We grew up in a deeply patriarchal society. We didn’t ask for it, we just saw that patriarchy was the normal way of life.
The men did it, the women enabled it. It was normal.
It was thrown at our faces everywhere.
In primary school, we saw how a boy was given head boy not because he was the most intelligent but because he had a penis.
In our churches, we saw how a male was made the head of choir not because he had the best leadership skills or the best voice, but because he was male.
In our compounds, we saw how men talked down on their wives and abused them consistently.
We noticed how during meetings, a young son is called to represent the family in the absence of the Dad instead of the mother because well, he was male.
In our villages, we saw the depravity women passed through because they were women.
We saw women sacrificed a lot, not because they were supposed to but solely because they were females and hence were expected to let go of personal dreams for others.
And unconsciously we believed that was normal.
It was normal as eating rice and stew every Sunday.
As we grew up, we started to learn and relearn things. We started thinking and realizing that if the only reason as males we were seen better than a woman was because of our genitalia, then maybe we weren’t better than them at all.
The only problem was, these things wouldn’t go away without conscious efforts.
Even though we knew, we still saw ourselves doing stuffs that screamed out inequality.
So we started putting conscious effort into our daily lives into treating people equally despite their gender.
This is a work in progress.
And we will be delusional and unrealistic to think everybody would buy into this.
Some dogs don’t learn new tricks at old age.
Some people are far deep into a patriarchal way of life that they would rather die than see life any differently.
Some are misogynist even without knowing they are.
Go to the parks, go to the slums, go to the villages and see that there is still a long way to go.
But we will get there, at least a majority of people would come to understand that everybody should be treated equally irrespective of gender.
In our society we grew up to see patriarchy as a way of life.
And good thing, we are all relearning.
On the other hand, it’s a very sad sight to see some women take the feminism to unprecedented heights void of any logical reasoning.
It’s like some extremists have hijacked feminism and have taken every thing out of context.
Feminism have caused a high level of paranoia that what comes to your mind first is feminism instead of common sense.
It would be an irony if ten years from now, a lot of men have dropped their misogynistic tendencies only for you to wake up and realise you have become that one thing that you hated – a misandrist.
Wouldn’t it be an irony to come to that point and realise due to your unchecked struggles you have crossed that thin line and ended up hating men.
And maybe then, the wave wouldn’t be feminism again. It would now be menism.
Feminism shouldn’t replace common sense.
Personally whenever I’m out with a female friend, I hold the door for them. It was something I did effortlessly.
At a time I stopped because I felt since we should all be treated equally, then why should I open a door for a lady?
She should open her damn door herself.
Then I realised later that equality shouldn’t replace chivalry. Chivalry shouldn’t be dead because we want to treat everyone equally.
Those little things that put a smile on someone’s face shouldn’t go away.
It’s the same thing a lot of people are struggling with.
There are soemthings that shows your lack of common sense instead of feminism.
Like Aunty Bumni said, how would you say you are married and won’t discuss a business plan with your spouse before venturing into it.
Isn’t that lack of common sense?
Are you people married or are you both roommates?
Or were both of you specially called by God just to populate the earth.
If tomorrow you get married and a situation happens that one spouse needs to stay home for a short while because of the kids and as a lady it has to be you, not because you are a female but because, maybe you earn lesser or your work happens to be much more flexible than your husband’s or the situation at hand makes you the best fit at that point without gender issues coming to play.
Would you rather allow your kids suffer because you are trying to prove a feminist point?
Or would you allow common sense Prevail?
In your homes, would you rather allow a little issue escalate into a mountain of warfare because you are trying to prove a point.
It takes Wisdom to know how to choose your fight.
If you have an understanding with your spouse, you can allow somethings slide for the greater good.
A lot of people are losing common sense because of all this.
Every issue isn’t a call to bring out our arsenals and fight.
Wisdom is profitable to direct.
Don’t become what you are fighting against.
You’ll despise yourself at the end.”
Laa Pulga Prince