Monday, February 24, 2014

You are a lady!!!!!!

This topic has been over-flogged on this blog under various titles but till I get a coherent answer I can sink my teeth into, I won't stop raising the issue.

I started driving a couple of months before my sixteenth birthday. So, I was fifteen and some change. At the time, apparently, only young men were allowed to do that but what my sister and I deduced this past weekend was my parents didn't raise a boy child or a girl child, they raised a complete human being so I can make a mean egusi soup and put together my entire dinning table set in one afternoon and not break a sweat. My parents are conservative and traditional but as far as their children were concerned, we were encouraged to try a wide spectrum of things and we do not have traditionally boy chores or girl chores in my house. It gave us an holistic overview of life as complete human beings. So, coming from such a household, imagine my shock when society and people always got in my face to tell me what I could or couldn't do, telling me that because I was a woman, I should concern myself with certain things and refrain from doing other things. People, I just cannot deal.
You cook, you clean, you sex, you birth...that's it!
This past weekend, my sister W, was visiting from Lagos and we went to brunch on Saturday and she started telling me about some goings-on at her workplace. There was a meeting held in the company, I suppose it was a meeting of contemporaries, there was only one female present at the meeting, the others were guys. One of the guys, in attempting to commence the meeting told the lady to take notes. Upon enquiry as to why she should be the one to take the notes, she was informed that she was the only woman in the meeting. Tedious and disgusting story short, she refused to take the notes and I applaud her. So basically, in a meeting of peers where most often than not, the women are better qualified than the men, the men still feel the need to 'bring them down a peg or two' by essentially assigning the most mundane of tasks to the women. Why is that? 

You hear different variations of the same story and you just wonder why these pea brained men think they can step up to you in the manner and fashion that they do. Once at work, my colleague was celebrating his birthday. He came and plopped down a cake in front of me and was making all sorts of eye gestures indicating that I should cut and share the cake. What about ovaries tells people that I must know how to symmetrically divvy up confectioneries? When I voiced my enquiry, you all know his dumb-ass answer was "but you are woman na. Na una dey sabi how to do all these things". I didn't arrive from heaven with a manual saying: cooks, cleans, bakes, knows how to cut cake, take notes, will put up and shut up. Just as you were, I was programmed to know the things I know and think the way I think. There aren't a lot of things that are inherently female. I would say the things that are biologically female are having boobs, getting your period and being able to get pregnant. Other things are chalked down to societal pre-conditionings. So I am sorry gentlemen, if I don't match up to your feminine expectations.

Let me give you the habit argument I had the other day. MB and I were having a conversation about something and he informed me that he had never smoked weed before. I responded that I hadn't either. At that point, you would expect the conversation to move along, right? MB looked at me and said "ehn, you are a woman na." so the implication was he was supposed to get a pat on the back by being a guy that didn't succumb to peer pressure. In this day and age, guys and girls have similar peer pressure. We all run in co-ed circles, so some pressure is not reserved for guys and another set for girls.  I have friends; male and female, that till this day partake of the ganja. If we are getting pats on the back for being stoic in resisting peer pressure then we should all get it. Period. Some habits, bad or good, are not the sole purview of one gender. It is ridiculous that people would think this way. 

 And it is not just people, but young, upwardly mobile people. Every time we take a step forward, we seem to take a hundred steps back and you find that no amount of education can remove the veil of ignorance that some retarded parents have instilled in their children. Because, like it or not, men actually think they are better than and superior to women.They think we are some secondary gender. I have noticed that even in men you are paying to carry out tasks for you; your mechanics, drivers, mechanics etc. They believe they are a superior gender who should not have to be subjected to taking instructions from a mere woman. If people don't just pick up theories and ideologies on the road, some force must have been there to steer them towards reaching this unenlightened conclusion. So that's the role our parents play. I absolutely deplore households where you see the male children sitting around and having a chin-wag and the female children are huffing and puffing under the strain of housework. These are the fools that grow up, get into the work force and tell their colleagues (often times more qualified) to take notes. 

 People like that hate women like me and find us frustrating. They insist that we are  argumentative, difficult and stubborn. I am not argumentative, difficult or stubborn. I am an autonomous, self-governing adult. I don't need you to think for me. I want to know why we are doing what we do and not employing another tactic. If you can support your position with coherent justifications, I am not averse to doing things your way. But you won't say let's leap into the fire and I would simply respond ok. Not gonna happen. I actually at some point, started believing that I was stubborn but W and I swapped stories and she, like me, has had several encounters with guys of this ilk. A particularly fascinating one was when a guys accused her of being so stubborn that she would always argue even if what she was being told to do was for her own good.  W, being the daughter of the soil that she is, responded cheerily "I actually take instructions very well, but they must be backed by a cogent rationale". This is the same recycled and dumb argument men use when they are unable to strong arm you into doing what they want you to do and are defeated by your logic: "you are too stubborn"  "you just don't like being told what to do" or the classic "you act like a guy".

Guys that think like this believe women like me are not playing our position but I tell them there is no such thing. Our roles are more fluid these days. Gone are the days where the man was the he-man; head of the household and sole provider. His woman had to put up and shut up or kick rocks. The guys in this generation kill me with that mess. You want me to be a co-provider but to still put up and shut up, accede to your every whim and caprices and just ask how high when you ask me to jump? Sorry...but where they do that at??? It stems from them thinking as women, we have set and defined roles. But I don't believe we ever did. Women of old just didn't know better and when you know better, you do better. These days, we all work 9-12 hour days, we went to school and got degrees, we are all contributing members of society. Trying to pigeon hole us and put us under your thumb, to still keep us in the 40s is a whole crock of excrement. That is why I am cheesed off by this dumb-ass Lagos State law on women's dressing. Men have a way of always wanting to control women and maintaining a patriarchal society at all cost. 
This must be where Lagos is headed. And so it begins...

 Unfortunately, some women allow it. But I wasn't raised and conditioned like one of those women so it is imperative you deal with me on my own merit and not on your preconceived notion of how a woman should respond to you.

 I may be a female/lady/woman, but that's just my gender. It is not my thinking, my logic, my smarts or my habits. 
I leave you with this...but it is not for motivation or lip service. This is a fact!

Have a great week people.


  1. *Claps*. I don't even know where to start with experiences of sexism! Unfortuanately, it is really bad in Nigeria!! And like you said, when you speak against it, you are termed as being aggressive, argumentative and the chief of all - not submissive.. Father please help us!

  2. Oya wa gba hug. You nailed it properly. It's actually sad to find women with this ideal as well. O sumi.

  3. YOU BETTER SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER!!!!! lol....And I totally agree with the focus on households and raising children in a more egalitarian fashion. By the time you get to the workplace it's too late to recondition all these misguided people (men and women, because we all know plenty of women who see no problem with these societal constraints). What bugs me most is that I don't think there should be any predefined characteristics of any gender...we should be able to choose who we want to be and how we should behave. Women can be outspoken or timid and everything in between, and the same goes for men.

    I'd actually like to get your take on "Biblical justifications" of the subordination of women (quotations added because I don't actually believe there is one). I think that when I talk to my Christian female friends about these kinds of topics they fall back on this Eve-was-taken-from-Adam's-rib/Men are the spiritual head of their household (knowing darn well half the men we know wouldn't be going to church unless their wives made them) rationale and, of course because the bible says it, it's a done deal. I don't know if you (or any of your other readers) have had any issues reconciling your beliefs on women's autonomy with any religious text but I'd like to hear about it if you have. LOVED the post ;-)

  4. hahahahahahahhaa....*cues P square* "She don come back again, with a "bran" new style....."
    Se I already said you should let us have a family reunion since I am sure that our parents are related..somewhat. All the men in my house can cook..very well. I cant think of a task that my mum has made gender-specific in the house.
    As a I grow older, I am learning to let the men in my life take the lead on certain things...maybe the societal conditioning is getting to me, or maybe I am beginning to get lazy about certain things.
    I dont know
    I'm making more sense in my head than I can write. But hi-5 to you and your sis jare

  5. Go Cherry! This makes so much sense. Funny enough my friend and I were talking about submission today which is quite similar to this and I said there is a thin line between being submissive and being stupid. I think that goes too with being a woman, there is a thin line between being a woman and being weak. Guys naturally see girls as weak as you just said but it's up to us to show that we are women quite alright but we are strong and equal being just as men are. I am not a subordinate/second class citizen to you - we are the equally the same without including all the feminine features. However, soMe women obviously assume the role of I am weak so the guy is the boss - say what?! You must be high.
    So yeah it's the 21st century and being a lady does not mean being weak/subordinate.
    No offence to guys but girls are equally the same as y'all.

    Wow- this comment is an essay :-)


  6. I could not agree with you more. Especially when you said "I would say the things that are biologically female are having boobs, getting your period and being able to get pregnant. Other things are chalked down to societal pre-conditionings"
    THANK YOU. even that "women are naturally nurturers" bit is just false. No one is "naturally" anything! We are all products of conditioning that starts from the minute we're born!. All na conditioning. Whether we want to admit it or not. And conditioning doesn't just stop at gender roles. It even extends to who we like and who we are drawn to.

  7. 1+The One: I have since stopped listening to those comments. I tend to write them off because I believe they are the submissions of a weak and infantile mind. You WILL deal with me as I present myself to you or not at all. That's my stand point.

    Toinlicious: That is the saddest thing cos these sexist men did not crawl out from under a rock. They were nurtured by someone who encouraged and fostered the idea of male dominance. But it is even evident in society at large where women with female children are ridiculed so when they manage to produce one male child, he is pampered so much and practically encouraged to walk over his female siblings. Mothers spend more time grooming the children so mainly, some mothers are to blame for this menace

    Femostic: I really am perplexed by people thinking that cos I am a woman ALL I want out of life is to be a wife and mother. While I want that, it is not the only thing I want and when you express these views, the most militant, foaming at the mouth, rabid oppressors are fellow women. I don't get it. Society write out these scripts for us because it suits it purpose and we act it out brilliantly. When you don't toe the line, you are either a lesbian, a man-hater, a misguided feminist or a jealous woman who has no man. I just want to be a person. Is that too much to ask? I am so in love with your proposed topic and it is already simmering in my post list.

    HoneyDame: I propose Ilase beach for our family reunion. Lol. The way I was raised has stood me in good stead for many years so I don't fault it at all and I'm sure the same goes for you and yours. It really is a matter of choice. Like I said, I'm comfortable with doing things a man's way if it is the most sensible way. I hope I am not coming across as a harridan. Lol. It is just, I don't believe I should be relegated to certain roles simply because I am a woman, same way I don't think men should be confined to certain roles simply because they are men.

    Lady Ngo: Thanks hun

    Missy Tee: Feel free to write an epistle any time. I love you for it. It seems the submissive argument sef is taken wholly out of context these days. As far as I am concerned it is not meant to be a tool for oppression and relegation to the background. Society and a lot of women just permit men to use it that way. I have never felt like a weaker sex and I don't let anyone tell me I am weak because I have girl parts. Like I said, girls that want to be dealt with like that have made their choice. I'm not mad at them but their choices do not bind me. Approach me on the merit of my person. I don't believe I am the weaker sex, please respect that. Shikena.

    NaijaWife: And that is God's honest truth. We are the products of what society has made us. I don't believe women are naturally nurturers either. See cases of thousands of women who have killed their babies. Society would tell you they have mental problems...and rightly so...they are not mentally nurturers. I am a product of my upbringing and so is everyone else.

    Thank you all for your scintillating contributions.

  8. Wow sweetheart. You are just speaking my mind. The spirit is flowing in you love. Das all I'ma say. Cos if I start ehn ! my comment will be longer than your post. But thank you for this. I'm hoping to see a male reader's comments though

  9. That's why I love people like my father. They don't see men or women as any different, but people like that are rare sha.

    Anyway, I don't see anything wrong with what MB said. Even though few ladies smoke weed, the truth is that men are more likely to smoke weed than women.

  10. This attitude is the basis for a lot of the rot in Nigerian society, but then I'm totally not surprised that women continue to experience this because everyone thinks Feminism is this evil, evil thing, whereas it's basically 'I am a human being, I'm not any less than you because I'm a woman, and I deserve to be treated equally'.

    I honestly blame Nigerian women who instead of standing up for themselves and their fellow women, contribute to the problem by playing into these stupid roles where women exist to serve men and their needs.

    I'm glad you have the good sense to not be one of them.

  11. flawless execution of mandate...chop knuckle!


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