What She said: 9 Of The Most-Read Stories In 2020

December 23, 2020

The history of women across the world is unique and similar at once. In most societies, women were (and still are) relegated to kitchen duties, to caring for kids to spaces where their voices couldn’t be heard.

But history has also shown that this hardly stops women from speaking up. Thankfully, things are changing. There’s a huge difference between the experiences of women in the 1950s and in the 2010s. Today, we have more platforms geared towards amplifying the voices of Nigerian women.

2020 alone gave us Feminist Coalition, women at the forefront of protests against sexual assault and SARS. If anything, 2020 showed us our unity in diversity. We might be from different tribes and backgrounds, but a lot of our experiences dissect.

What She Said, a Zikoko series that was launched to highlight some of these experiences, has documented a wide range of experiences from women of all backgrounds. In today’s What She Said, we explore some of the biggest stories in the series and why they are widely read. You want to read till the end.

9. What She Said: I Was ‘Married’ To A Police Officer For 7 Years, Here’s My Story

I was under the impression that I was coming to further my studies. I had heard stories about people leaving home to come to Lagos to get jobs or further their education, so I was hopeful, as well as scared. I didn’t think of marriage at all.

In October 14, 2020, we published this story as part of our documentation of the End SARS movement. In this story, we had one major quest: if police officers and SARS oppress Nigerian citizens especially the young people who they are supposed to protect, what are they like in their homes and to their families? The woman in this story shares her own far from pleasant experience.

8. What She Said: Why I Said No To His Public Proposal

When women are proposed to in public, there’s usually an unfair amount of pressure on them to say “yes”. Generally speaking, there’s an unfair amount of pressure on women to get married. What kind of woman doesn’t get married? What kind of woman says no to a public proposal? Read this story to find out.

7. What She Said: I’m 55 And Feminism Is No Stranger

What She Said

No one gets married at 21 these days, and no one should. When my daughter turned 21, I remember having a conversation with her. I told her to take her time looking for a husband. Marrying a useless man will derail your life in unprecedented ways. So be very picky. It doesn’t matter if you get married at 25, 30 or even 35, the most important thing is that it’s to a very good man.

Most people seem to think all the women in older generations of Nigerian women do not care about feminism. The woman in this story proves that this is not necessarily true.

6. What She Said: I’m Married But Moonlighting As A Sugar Mummy In My 30s

What She Said

What comes to mind when you think of a woman in her 30s? What comes to to mind when you think of a sugar mummy? There are a lot of stereotypes around what it means to be these two things, but the woman in this story is defying all of them.

5. What She Said: What It’s Like to Be Divorced Before 30

Getting married to the love of your life is the ultimate ‘happy ever after’. Most especially here, where till death do us part is taken quite literally. Divorce is never the answer, but for this 29 year old woman it was. Published in April, 2019, over 8000 people returned to read it this year. Isn’t that more reason why you should read it?

4. What She Said: I Don’t Regret Leaving My Husband in Nigeria

He’s still well off and living his life. He wanted us to talk about it in the beginning. He wanted me to come back. I told him I’m not a dog, I don’t eat my vomit.

In this story, we meet a 61-year-old woman who left her family behind a few years ago to start a new life in Europe. She talks about why she left, the backlash she received and why she doesn’t regret it.

3. What She Said: I Didn’t Expect To Be A Fourth Wife At 27 But I’m Happy

This is one story that had a lot of readers saying “omo”. For the woman in this week’s What She Said, choosing to marry a 61-year-old man who already had three wives when she was 27, was a much easier decision for her than many people would think. She’s 29 now and walks us through the unique dynamics of her married life, her lack of regrets and life in general.

2. What She Said: 9 Women’s Most Embarrassing Sex Stories

When this story was first published in July 2019, only a little over 1000 people read it. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Nigerians are conservative and pretend not to care about sex. However, with more people talking about their sex lives, over 10k people read it this year. Here’s to more conversations about the sexual lives and health of Nigerian women.

1. What She Said: Becoming A Housewife Was Not The Plan

I hate that no one acknowledges how hard it is. Not even my husband because he comes home to a clean house, clean children and food in the kitchen. The last time I brought up the fact that I needed to go back to school he asked me why I couldn’t find fulfillment in raising my children. I didn’t speak to or cook for him for one month. He had to call my mum to beg me.

Over 33,000 people read this story. Every housewife knows that being a housewife is a full-time job. Whether or not you opt-in for the role, it can be exhausting and overwhelming. But what happens when you don’t opt-in and all you can think of is opting out. Published in May 2020, what pulled a lot of people in this story was the unexpected ending. You definitely want to read it.

Bonus stories:

This year, we also had our very first set of non-anonymous What She Said stories and will try to explore more of this next year. Read a few of them:

Check back every Wednesday by 9am for a new What She Said story.

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