Some issues prevailing under the bleeding climate of the African atmosphere should be discussed with strong sense of judgement and absolute defences.
As certain as it must be portrayed, people of the black continent are interestingly capable of taking issues of primal or subtle origin to a defaulting extreme. However, feminism is not one of such matters; for it has already drifted to an extreme in some quarters.
My decrepit neighbour greeted my door first thing on a foggy Saturday morning with a screaming knock. I stumbled out of bed, frowning in distaste. I swung my wooden door open and the feeble man dashed inside, clung to my brown pillow and pressed his naked back against my plastered wall.
“Please shut that door”, he pleaded.
In the haste of a sneeze, I had latched the creaking wooden door and positioned myself upon my rickety bed to listen to my sobbing neighbor.
“what is it that is after you?”. I wasn’t prepared for the outburst that greeted my ears.
“The sum total”, as the old mathematics teacher that rides a bicycle to Umuda community secondary school every morning will always put was that his masculine wife that bore him four sons and two daughters fed him with KO punches that very morning for forgetting to do the laundry while she was at work.
I hate to drift from the narrative at hand, however it is pertinent to understand what this brittle topic really means to amount to effective handling by the Nigerian liberalists.
The context of feminism in Nigeria has drifted from its initial alignment to a situation much oppressing than necessary. Our western liberal counterparts have corroded this issue and we as Africans or rather Nigerians have failed to understand its grave implications. Of course, it is absolute injurious and unsuitable of a human being to look down upon another due to the basis of gender. Every feminine person owns a right to be heard, voted, respected and unrestricted.
Moreover, it is relevant that we address a spade as a spade and not a hoe. The Nigerian culture from the very threshold has respected and adored the divine sacredness of the feminine gender. This respect well spreads across the diverse nationalities, ethnic groups, tribes and languages that make up this heterogeneous entity called Nigeria.
Take for instance the female warlord of the ancient Hausa empire Amina Mohamud born in 1533 and died in 1610. She was the legendary warrior queen of old city state Zazzu who led her people and the state to its greatest expansion ever and attained great prosperity for her people whilst attracting respect from Zazzu’s neighbors.
Also in the climes of the west of the Yorubas existed mighty women of substance and enviable standing. The Oromopoto which was a title for a female Alaafin of Oyo and the Iyalode which was also a respectable title that a female chieftain merited as regards her visible accomplishments was attained freely by brave and industrious women that defiled subjugation.
The Igbo people of eastern Nigerian also paid amazing respect to their Ada who coordinated the family and was at most times considered sacred. Her words never fell to the ground for she was considered wiser than all. The goddess of the land called “Ani” was a god considered female and was accorded great respect within some parts in Igbo land.
However, to be truthful feminism spreads further than the endowment of titles and positions into well, how the society views a woman. The collapse of maleficent male domination in almost all spheres of feminine breeding is a prerequisite for effective feminine emancipation. Of course, the effects of feminism in our dear country spreads fluttering wings as women have decided to take the bull by its horns to offer their great uniqueness in exchange for their pride of place in the society, frequently described as a “man’s world” …
Since the start of the 19th century, women’s struggle against gender based violence has taken a path that must be heeded and it is being headed currently. The rise of brave and prosperous Nigerian women such as our very own Okonjo Iweala, Chimamnda Ngozi Adichie and Abosede George-Ogan to mention only but an insignificant fraction, are changing the narrative and lending a voice back to the women of the society.
From the foregoing, it is much apparent that Nigerian feminism is gathering momentum. It is however essential that this truth be consumed. The average Nigerian man is not entirely devoted to stepping on the average Nigerian woman and her rights. Most Nigerian men too are feminists and have contributed greatly to the involvement of women in public opinion and politics. Attention however must be paid to the breeding of both male and female children on the grassroots level. Most traditions in Nigeria have bestowed the young boy child the powers of sexual and psychological male domination, most social practices have also inculcated the privative traits of prevalence over the Nigerian girl child. This ignorant trends of course have recreated fluctuating concerns about the relevance of a female in the scheme of things. Thereby inventing rapists, violent spouses, serial killers and child marriage contractors.
Furthermore, if education, skill acquisition amongnst other factors are made available for the average girl child. It will be foreseeable that the fortunes of the Nigerian girl child will take a spin for good and amend the wrong notions of society about women and feminism. Inasmuch as it would be expected of our women to understand the fragile standing of an average African man who possesses the blind view that nature has him placed upon the crux of gender leadership.
Like my frail neighbor in the story above, feminism might also cut across genders and not be solely perceived as inclined to one gender. The central matter of feminism is that men are dominating in the context of matters that determines how society is run and decision making. It must be known that strengths must be appreciated on both genders and weakness on them as well compliments the strength of both.
In this view and in the light of obvious truths, the Nigerian woman must not bear arms against her partner gender to defend what must be. The real battle does not hook upon a certain gender but on the manner society perceives the functions and essentialities of both genders, this sad façade must be addressed if we must not breed further gender lords, who will be prone to undermining the feminine gender.
If the feminine gender must thrive, she must accept that great responsibility comes when the avenues are opened and must be prepared for a takeover. If she fails, it will forever be assented that nature of course wasn’t wrong, when she handed the reins of domination to one gender. To this, must she seek to prove wrong.
Mbam Chukwuemeka can be reached through email@example.com