You Asked About Feminism, And We Answered

September 12, 2018

For some reason, Nigerians seem to have a huge problem with feminism as a concept. If you throw a stone into a crowd of people odds are it’s going to land on a Nigerian who thinks feminism means ‘hate men’.

So I asked a bunch of people to tell me what questions they had about feminism and tried to give them some answers.

“What’s this feminism thing you people are always talking about sef?”

Look at this, a boy gets an apple, a girl gets an apple. Then the boy gets an orange. And when the girl asks for her own orange, they tell her she only gets an apple, because oranges belong to boys. Feminism is saying that everyone has a right to apples or oranges, male or female. Equal opportunities.

“Why are women trying to equate themselves with men?”

Women hate having to deal with cramps and periods every month, but we aren’t out here trying to become men. All we’re saying is, we want access to the same opportunities as men. So if a man wants to be a Doctor, a woman can also want to be a Doctor. If a man wants to be an Engineer, a woman can also want to be an Engineer.

“Feminists just want women to be superior to men.”

Okay, back to the apples and oranges. Feminists believe women should have access to oranges like men. Not “only women get the oranges.” Feminists are saying, “everyone has a right to oranges, male or female.”

“But it’s not all men who are trying to keep women down.”

We know it’s not all men. What we also know is that it’s enough men for it to be a problem. When you say #NotAllMen, you shift attention from the fact that women are being oppressed. For you, it becomes about just the protection of men, and not the inclusion of women.

“Where’s the proof that women are being marginalized?”

Where do I even start? Is it child marriage that’s prevalent in the North and other regions in Nigeria? Or genital mutilation in the south? Or to the part where women must choose between family roles or gender roles, a burden that’s hardly placed on men? Or is it how Nigeria is ranked the 9th most dangerous place for women in the world? Look around you, who’s most likely to get pressured into a marriage? Or most likely will not be inheriting property because of gender?

“So you mean you won’t cook for your husband?”

Centuries ago–maybe millennia–men tended to play a role of provider and protector. The women naturally took on the role of nurturer and caretaker.

But look around you today, man goes to work, to be able to provide and protect the future of the family. Woman goes to work, to be able to provide and protect the future of the family. Why is still that a survival skill–as basic as cooking–still remains the responsibility of the woman? Why then aren’t women allowed to choose whether they want the role of cook and caretaker? If women want to cook, okay. If they decide they don’t want to, should they be forced to? No. Cooking for oneself, and for others, can be an enjoyable experience but only when it’s done out of one’s own volition.

“Why don’t feminists ever discuss real problems?”

The question is, are you paying attention? If you are, and still don’t see the point, it’s probably because you’re trivializing women’s problems. An example, men don’t have to worry about what to wear, because no one will call them names. They don’t get turned out of places because their sense of style seems to affront the doorman. They don’t get blamed for sexual assault because “your skirt was too short”. So the question is, are you listening, or do you consider problems women have as trivial?

“Why are feminists only fighting for women’s rights, they should also fight for men’s rights.”

Imagine a C.E.O asking his employees to protest that he’s not getting his bonuses. His employees? They’re overworked, underpaid and have no health insurance. That’s exactly how it feels when men ask women to fight for men’s rights. Even so, feminism doesn’t only speak about women’s struggles. It speaks about the tough standards society has set for men, and how they affect women.

“Shebi women want to be equal to men, why aren’t they doing bricklayer work?”

Choice. If a woman decides she wants to be a bricklayer, let her. Besides, if you haven’t seen women do physically demanding jobs, are you paying attention?

“But men are stronger than women.”

Let’s ignore all the other factors and focus on physical strength. Yes, the average man might be physically stronger than the average woman. So, the man can do heavy-lifting. But if the woman chooses to do the same, even if she’s not as strong as the man? Let her make her own choice.

“Nigerian feminists are hypocrites. They want chores to be shared equally but don’t want bills to be shared equally.”

Bills should be shared according to a person’s earning power. Sometimes that means that bills are shared equally. It might even mean that the woman ends up picking up a larger tab. Very often it means that the man picks up the larger tab. The fact is, women tend to earn less than men. It’s also interesting to note that African women have, for the longest time played a silent but significant role in the family unit as breadwinners.

“What about the women against feminism?”

There are a few reasons why. Many women say they want equal opportunities, but don’t like labels. We get that. There are others who don’t understand it. Take FGM, there are women who still insist it’s right. But it’s because they are ignorant of all the dangers that exist in it for women.

Every woman who reads this and doesn’t believe in feminism, think about this. At some point in history, people wanted to stop women from getting education. Some resisted this and thought “everyone, male or female, deserves an education.” The people who resisted it, those are feminists.

“You know what? Feminists just hate men.”

The word you are looking for is misandrists. Although the two terms are often confused, they are completely different. When you hear “all feminists are men-haters”, it’s no different from where false stereotypes. Like “all Calabar people eat dog meat” or “all Warri men are fraudsters”. Or every Nigerian man is a Nigerian Prince.

“Why do feminists hate marriage?”

Marriage is a beautiful thing. What isn’t beautiful is a tradition that considers a woman to be her father’s property. One to handed over to her husband by her father, after a ‘payment’. The significance of this, is that she becomes her husband’s ‘property’ and he wields power over her. Some feminists want to marry, as long as they’re not made to feel like property, because they’re not. Some feminists don’t want to marry, and that should be okay too.

“Feminism is against our culture.”

A couple of decades ago part of our culture in parts of Nigeria was killing twins now it’s not. Mary Slessor tried to stop the killing of twins, But there were people who thought it wasn’t ‘part of their culture’. Culture evolves. We evolve and settle for what’s better. So what’s better, a culture of equal opportunities for everyone, or for one gender?

“God created women to assist and be a companion for men. God said Adam should have dominion over Eve.”

This idea stems from a bible verse that remains misconstrued till this day. The belief is that Adam was given authority to name and dominion over all the animals in Eden. Adam also happened to name Eve which means that he must have had authority over her also. But the Bible goes on to say that both Adam and Eve were given dominion over the animals. Not that Adam was given dominion over both the animals and Eve.

“Women need to be careful not to create an imbalance in the society because it would be at the detriment of their children.”

The irony is that this imbalance already exists. The ‘balance’ you are talking about is exactly what feminists are fighting for. It’s easy to think this balance already exists when you view society from a point of privilege.

“Nigerian ladies only turn to feminism when they fail to find a male partner to love”

LOL.

“Nigeria is not ready for feminism.”

Nigeria might not be ready for feminism, but it needs feminism. It’s the same way people say we’re not ready for proper leadership, even though there’s a dire need for it. “Nigeria isn’t ready for feminism” is synonymous with “Nigeria isn’t ready for progress”. The average person feels about Nigeria’s state what the average woman feels about women. Systemic oppression, regardless of age or social status.

 

In the end, feminism is not about division. It’s about creating a better future, where everyone–male or female–has a seat at the table.

 

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

 

Here’s another Ted talk you should pay attention to;

You'll like this

April 29, 2020

Ladies, see our lives on these streets… Just two months ago, we were the cream of the crop, nails done, hair done, everything did. Getting bi-weekly pedicures,waxes and deep conditioning treatments was such a given, the idea that it would be taken away from us seemed almost laughable, and yet, again: We spoke to 6 […]

Toketemu Ohwovoriole

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

Watch

Now on Zikoko

July 8, 2020

1. You, when someone hits you up with a “we need to talk” text Hay God, I’m in trouble. Did they find out about the stuff I did 5 years ago? 2. Or your boss asks you to see them “Please pray for me. I’m about to get fired.” 3. When someone texts you to […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 1, 2019

Twitter is buzzing right now, bringing a new conversation to the concept of cool vs not-so-cool, especially in relationships. If you’ve been thinking about how much of a red flag you are, why don’t you let this quiz help you decide once and for all?

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out:

November 19, 2019

Regardless of what society has tried to tell us, enjoying sex is not something to be ashamed of. So, in a bid to celebrate our generation’s sexual agency, we’ve created a quiz that will accurately (again, keep your complaints to yourself) infer how many people you’ve spelt with. Try it out:

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

More from Her

July 8, 2020

The subject of this week is a 55-year-old woman who opted for early retirement this year. And is spending most of her time with her husband, children and just stopping to smell the roses. We talked about sex, financial advice, feminism and everything in between. If you got in a time capsule, what’s the first […]

July 1, 2020

How market now? My sister I day o. Market isn’t booming right now but in all things we thank God. How bad is it? Things have even started to pick up now. But you see that March and April, it was a real struggle.  Those were the hardest months I’ve had in many years. Even […]

June 24, 2020

Nigerian men keep claiming they don’t understand Nigerian women, well we have put together a list to supply you enough comprehension now. This is the list of things that will definitely trigger your Nigerian girlfriend so if you’re gunning to get her annoyed, you can try them. 1. One word replies. When you are definitely […]

June 24, 2020

What qualities do you seek in a romantic partner? Good looks, loyalty, openness? And what qualities do you absolutely detest? Lies, dishonesty, disrespect? For the woman in this week’s ‘What She Said’, lies are her biggest relationship deal-breaker. Which is why she can’t seem to understand why she has only dated the biggest liars of […]

June 19, 2020

Periods are like unwanted visitors that we actually want. If you see it, wahala, if you don’t see it double wahala (at least for us single folks). Every woman is a love/hate relationship with her period. Here are 10 dilemmas every Nigerian woman faces during her period; 1. When you can’t find it.  Small play […]

June 18, 2020

Painful period cramps are the worst thing ever. It’s like being singled out to be consistently punished and tortured for an offense you don’t even know about. And you keep filing complaints but HR doesn’t want to hear your side of the story. It’s the real ghetto mehn. Here’s a 9 things women who have […]

June 17, 2020

Half the time when we see women on screen in Nollywood they are either chasing after marriage or fighting off a wicked mother in law while married. It’s like even in on-screen fiction women have been reduced to the demographic of people whose biggest ambition and the ultimate goal should be conjugal bliss. Thus making […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.
February 6, 2020
Who doesn't want to find love? In our bid to help, we paired up a bunch of single Nigerians, sending them on an all-expense paid date, and interviewing them before and after they met.
January 27, 2020
Nigerians Talk is what happened when a motley crew of young Nigerians were put in front of a camera and asked a bunch of apparently random questions about life, love, money and more.
September 24, 2019
A group of Zikoko staff go on a road trip to every mainland country in ECOWAS West Africa

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X