#WivesNotCooks: RE “SO YOU WON’T COOK?”

I first saw the hashtag #WivesNotCook when a Facebook friend made a response post on it, which she titled “SO YOU WON’T COOK?”. When I read the post, right from the first paragraph, I cringed.  I wanted to ignore it as I have ignored most things Nigerian lately. However, the post has been shared many times on Facebook, mostly by Nigerian men, who are using it as a reference point to chide women who support the hashtag #WivesNotCooks. Many have even used it as a point to bash single women, single mothers, divorced women and blamed all woes imaginable on feminism.

The post and the comments it generated made me realise we really have a long way to go in educating even the educated about the meaning of feminism. I understand that sometimes when we don’t want to engage, we still owe it to posterity to engage on some issues. Hence, why I decided to write this response to dissect the post and point out the problems with it, as it relates to feminism.

14067659_10154421374501873_6548088197135927608_nFirstly, we must understand that anyone can be a feminist and everyone should be a feminist. It’s the decent, humane position to take on gender equalities.

I was so surprised that someone who self-identified as “an unapologetic feminist” starts her argument against the hashtag #wivesNotCooks with these remarks-

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I am an unapologetic feminist but I also know how to differentiate feminism from gender roles.

And reiterated again-

Learn to differentiate gender equality from gender roles.

Feminism is about deconstructing gender roles. Yes, feminism is about fostering the rights of women in the workplace and the society at large. It is about standing up for women’s rights to be who they want to be. The right to education, right to earn same salary as men for the same job. Right to vote. Right to be free from gender discrimination. The right to live with dignity and respect. However, how do we achieve gender equality without breaking down the barriers of socially constructed gender roles and stereotypes?

What is gender role? According to Wiki ,

gender role is a set of societal norms dictating the types of behaviors which are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex or sexuality.

Google translation

noun

plural noun: gender roles

  1. the role or behaviour learned by a person as appropriate to their gender, determined by the prevailing cultural norms.

“women’s traditional gender roles translated easily into caring for the sick, and nursing became a female profession”

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines gender roles as

socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

From these definitions, we can see why challenging gender roles is at the heart of feminism.

No one should be expected to do anything simply because of what lies between their legs, be it a dick or vagina.

Our value and contribution to our homes, workplace or society should not depend on what type of genitalia we have.

Feminism is all about breaking down gender roles. We should not use our own preference of how we run our home or life to determine who is a feminist or not. Your preference is your choice. Your opinion on what women or men should do is just that, an opinion.

Feminism is much more than an opinion; it is an established ideology.

Feminism advocates for gender equalities.  Gender equalities is intricately tied with deconstructing gender roles. To achieve gender equality, we must dismantle gender roles and stereotypes.

Gender stereotypes are products of gender roles.  If we acknowledge that feminism is about advocating for gender equalities, we cannot distance feminism from gender roles. We cannot achieve gender equalities without breaking down gender hegemony, and dismantling gender roles and stereotypes.

We live in a Patriarchy that fosters the belief that men are somehow inherently superior to women, and therefore places men above women. If asked, many men would quickly say that they don’t think this way, but ask them simple questions, such as-

– What makes a good wife?

– What do you think of single mothers?

– Must a woman know how to cook to be a good wife?

– Would you be worried if your wife gave birth to only girls but proud if she gave birth to only boys?

-Do you consider sharing household chores with your wife a necessity or a favour?

-Do you expect to be praised for helping with house chores?

-Do you expect a woman to have sex with you because you took her on an expensive date?

-Do you expect your daughters to learn to cook but don’t expect same of your son?

-How do you really feel about gender roles?

In one breath, they don’t think they are superior to women, but on the other hand, they expect women to fulfil gender roles., even when these gender roles are oppressive to women.

Everyone stands to benefit from deconstructing gender roles, be they women, men, transgender, queer or whatever gender identity they identify as.

Gender roles places expectation on people to do certain things based on what type of genitalia they have. This is so wrong, especially in this day and age.

I am a feminist of the world, in fact, I can defend women equality for the world but when I get home that line is drawn and it is very obvious for any discerning eyes.

NO. Feminism is not a hat you put on for show in public and throw off when no one is looking. When you say you draw the line at home, you are saying that feminism is incompatible with making a good home.

For a woman who identifies as “an unapologetic feminist” to say this, is sad. It basically feeds into such tripe that feminism breaks homes. Feminist can’t have a happy home because eek…Feminism.

Feminism is about empowering women in the workplace, at home, in the larger society and wherever it is they live their life as a woman and a human being.

If you are expected to play the socially constructed role of a woman first before being treated as a human being, be it at work or at home, then you need feminism.

Don’t ever put off your feminist hat because by so doing, what you are saying in that instance is “I ‘d rather be a sub human than be treated as a human because I want to keep my man, home, or in-laws happy’. You can still do these without taking off your feminist hat.

Feminism is not incompatible with expressing your passions for cooking or doing whatever makes you happy for your partner. The difference is, you should not feel forced to do so because you are a woman, but do so because it is what makes you happy. Let it be your choice, not an enforced role.

 

Do what you have to do to keep your marriage flourishing and intact and keep feminism at work place and out of your home because at home it would wreck that home. Men’s egos are too fragile and once bruised it is difficult to couple back.

If your man’s ego is too fragile to endure the fact that you are a feminist outside and inside your home, maybe that ego really needs bruising. Your man should grow up. Or you should wear your big panties and be the feminist you are, not just at work but at home as well.

This misconception that feminism wrecks the home is just so misguided, so false and so damaging to the feminist cause. How a self-identified, unapologetic feminist keeps saying this, beats all reasoning.

Feminism does not wreck home. Repeat after me, Feminism does not wreck home. Say it again and again, until you rid your mind of that misconception planted by the patriarchal, misogynistic society we live in.

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I am submissive to my bros, in fact, it is so bad that some female friends when they first land at my home, they are so surprised that, even after my madness on social media that I still have a home that is adorned and headed by a man and I also allow that man to act his role and at ease too. This is how a good and true feminist should be, even I could say so.

No, No, no. You don’t get to define what a good and true feminist should be based on how you run your home.

If you want to be submissive to your man, it is your choice.  It does not make you less of a feminist.

If you don’t want to be submissive to your man or whatever the gender of your partner, it is your choice. It does not make you more of a feminist.

Feminism is about having the right to choose. Feminism is about exploring your passions without pandering to socially constructed gender roles. Feminism is about having that freedom to not be afraid to be who you are for fear of being judged for deviating from gender roles and stereotypes.

Don’t ever tell another woman this is how a good woman should be. Just don’t ever! That is the most ‘unfeminist’ thing to say to another woman.

Please, ladies, bae, babes, learn how to cook, if not for your man but for yourselves, except you want to form that big girl that eats at the Oriental and Ocean Blues but can’t really sustain that lifestyle when the chips are down.

Why is this advice only directed at woman? Should this not apply to every adult?

It is expensive eating out all the time for everyone, regardless of gender.

Specifically asking women to learn to cook is just reiterating the socially constructed gender role that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.

I am not so keen on cooking but I do cook because it is the economical thing to do. I also believe whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well. So, while I might not go buying cookery books or searching YouTube for food tips, the foods I chose to cook for myself and my son in my home are done to the best of my ability.

When my son left home for University in another town, I packed his bags full of frozen food and soups to last him a few weeks.

However, after his first year in university, my son learned to cook for himself. His reason was that he found out it was expensive to eat out. Even Pizzas every night isn’t cheap and not as satisfying as pounded yam and equisi soup.

He learnt his way around the kitchen, explored the limited options of African raw food materials in a town with supermarkets that mostly cater for its white occupants.

When I travelled with my mum to attend his graduation ceremony (oh, he graduated with a First-Class degree in Law, as a proud single mom, i mention this at the slightest excuse), we wanted to celebrate in a restaurant, and he told us he had made food at home. He made Jollof rice, fried rice, beans and plantain. He also had equisi and vegetable soup ready in case we wanted Eba or pounded yam. And his food was delicious.

Like his father, he knows his way around the kitchen. Like his father, he is not the type that would demand a woman cooks for him. He knows cooking is not a gender thing.

Eating good food and learning to cook it for yourself or your whole family has nothing to do with your gender. Every adult needs to eat good food, therefore every adult regardless of gender, needs to find a way to fulfil that need. It could be by learning to cook, earning enough to eat out or hire a cook. Whatever works well for you. What is wrong is to impose an expectation on anyone simply based on their biological sex.

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You must cook because your man must be fed well or else someone else would be feeding him well for you. Your children must be nurtured with good food because that is your role as a female gender.

No, you don’t owe your man the responsibility to feed him. You are his partner, not his cook. Your biological sex does not automatically make you his assigned cook.

Why is the fear of someone else feeding him the reason for a woman to learn how to cook?

If a man chooses to eat outside, be it food, pussy, or even dicks, no amount of home feeding or fucking would change his mind.

This is another way of blaming women when their partner strays. It is common to hear admonitions masquerading as concerns, such as-

“Oh, he cheated on you, where you not giving him enough attention?”

“Why didn’t you cook his favourite dishes?”

“Why didn’t you satisfy his sexual desires all the time?”

Nope, a cheat is a cheat, be it man or woman. Don’t blame the victim of a cheat. Blame the cheat.

Live your life the way you want to. Do not generalise and condemn the other half of human species because they didn’t live up to your expectation of what a ‘Good African Woman’ should be.

Women are not put on this planet to meet men’s expectations.

The purpose of a woman’s life is not to cook for men.

Women haven’t failed in life because they can’t cook.

And they certainly haven’t failed because they don’t have husbands.

I am a 42-year-old single mother. My son is 22-year-old. He is a Law graduate and a CEO of his own registered app development company in UK.  I have a degree in Law from Nigeria and a Masters degree in Gender, Sexuality and Human rights Law from UK. I have worked as a human rights advocate and trade unionist for 15 years. I have been at the top of my career at national and internationally level and at a point, at the very bottom, when i started afresh in a strange land. And now back in upwards swing of my career again.

Many of those guys who shared the post made went ahead to gleefully call single mothers, like me, losers and misguided feminists. Divorced women who identify as feminists were called names. They blame their single and divorced status on feminism.

As early as I could remember, I have always found the concept of marriage not to be for me, and I made that clear early in life. Nothing has happened to change my mind. Is this down to my Feminism? No, absolutely not. It’s more about how I don’t want the society to define my relationship with a piece of certificate. I can see the allure of marriage in terms of tax savings and legal rights to visit and make life decisions for your partner when they are incapacitated and not able to act. However, I’d rather campaign for a change in the laws to grant same rights to long term couples who have no desire to go through the marriage certificate route, than go get married just to secure these rights. This is not about feminism, it is my personal preference.

I was in a long term live-in relationship with the father of my baby and my last long term live-in relationship was with a same sex person, a woman.  In both relationships, I certainly was not the cook. Did I expect my partners to cook for me? Capital No.

In both relationships, both partner loved cooking. The father of my son, an Urhobo man, loved cooking his local delicacies, the soups tasted divine. Even though I loved eating these delicacies, I wouldn’t even dream of learning to cook these dishes. It has nothing to do with Feminism, it’s just that I do not have any passion for cooking.

The woman I was in a live-in relationship with was a Calabar woman, and oh, did she love cooking? Of course, she did (I can see the stereotype there, apologies Calabar women!). She preferred to be the one making the food. It has nothing to do with gender roles, she was simply the better cook and yeah, she preferred making her Calabar dishes to eating the Yoruba dishes i made with my basic culinary expertise.  Again, this has nothing to do with feminism, it was a matter of prudent choice. I don’t think it is reasonable for an adult who is not incapacitated to wait for their partner to come home to cook for them when hungry just because they expect the woman to be the cook.

Where Feminism comes in the hash tag #WivesNotCooks, is when women are expected or mandated to be cooks. This is an ascribed gender role. Feminism is about breaking down gender barriers and deconstructing gender roles.

A woman can be a wife without being a cook.

A woman can be a cook without being a wife.

A woman can be a wife and be a bad cook.

A Woman can be a good cook and not care to be a wife.

A woman can be a wife and a good cook

When you use the word ‘Cook’ as a noun, and you expect your wife, based on her biological sex, to fulfil that role, you are perpetrating gender stereotype.

Feminism is about getting rid of gender stereotypes. It is about freeing women from the shackles of gender stereotypes. Everyone stands to benefit from deconstructing gender roles.

Women would be free to make their choices and able to reach for the highest pinnacle without social barriers or being judged for the choices they made, be it the decision to be a stay at home mother or the CEO of a global tech company.

Men would be free to explore their more sensitive side without fear of being judged and called the gender slur ‘ ‘pussy’. Free from gender roles and stereotypes. Free to cook for their partners. Free to understand that they don’t have to be ATMs for women as we no longer live in a gatherer/ hunter society.

The only people who stand to lose are people with the power who are reluctant to let go of their Male privilege.

It is no wonder that the many people who were gleefully sharing the post and attacking the hashtag #WivesNotCook were men. They shared it with so much gusto, screaming,“women listen to an experienced feminist. Cook for your husbands.”

When as a feminist, you write a post about feminism and the post is being shared with much approval by men, maybe you really should rethink your position.

People with power aren’t so eager to let go of their power and privilege. Maybe something in your post is enthrenching that power structure rather than challenging or deconstructing it.

It is like when a black person makes a post about racism and white people are the one gleefully sharing that post with the caption, “hey black people, listen to this respected black person on racism

In such instance, you can be sure that the white person has seen something that validates their reactionary position on racism, something that entrenches the hegemony, something that excuses them from looking at their white privilege. They are therefore eager to say “if a black person says this, then you ‘BlackLivesMatter’ fanatics must be wrong. Listen to what my ‘AllLivesMatter’ black friend is saying!”

If men are gleefully sharing what you thought was a feminist post on social media, I’d say, read it again, have a rethink. The post is probably not feminist at all. There are most probably words in it that entrenches gender roles. People with power and privilege are not always excited when their power and privileges are threatened or challenged in anyway. If majority of men are happy and praising you for your ‘matured feminist’ post, you can be fairly sure that it wasn’t a feminist position.

But cooking at home as a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, and whatever else you may want to classify me as, when it comes to that role I take it as mine and very seriously too.

The thing about this is that it is a personal preference. A passion. It has nothing to do with feminism. It should not be an arbiter to decide who is a good feminist or not. It shouldn’t be used as a measurement to decide who is a good wife or not.

Bottom line is, people are different. Women are different. Expecting all women to love cooking and entertaining is so unnatural and unfair. Judging women on their cooking ability or passion for cooking and entertaining is ludicrous and gross in this day and age. Do you, and let others be themselves.

It is no wonder that men jumped on this and use it to declare that women should listen. Of course, they would say so because it entrenches gender role. It is a statement clearly proclaiming that a woman’s role certainly encompasses cooking and entertaining hubby’s friends. It is balderdash.

Is it any wonder that Nigeria’s president proclaimed to the world that his wife’s role is in the kitchen and the ‘other room’?

Men talk about wanting to give women equal rights but say there is a limit to this “equality madness”.

First, who says, equality is yours to give?

Men do not own equality as a matter of right., just as White people or Heterosexuals do not own equality.

Equality is not yours to give out or hold back as you please, just because you are at the top of the hegemony.

As the great Abami Eda, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, sang, “You cant dash me human rights. Human right na my property, So therefore you can’t dash me my property”.

Equality is our joint property.  We all have equal stake in it. This idea that it is for men to give women equality is part of the problem. This is why we still have men saying things like, “My wife must cook for me.

No, your wife is not your cook. The fact that she is married to you does not mean she must do anything. She is still a human being with freewill.

What you should talk about is the expectations you have of each other, not one based on gender roles but one based on mutual discussion, respect and appreciation of each other’s personalities and passions.

Maintaining a home as a couple is a shared responsibility. In this age, the decision of who takes care of certain home responsibilities should not depend on whether you have a dick or a vagina.

Gender roles hold us back, stop being so limited in your thinking, break down that gender wall and let’s embrace a society where people are free to be themselves without the constraints of gender stereotypes.

You are not a decorated trophy but strong, opinionated women that know what you want and that includes being submissive to your men. Sorry babes, we are just wired that way.

No, we are not wired that way. The society, these stereotyped Mills and Boons romance novels, Disney and Hollywood movies based on socially constructed gender roles, made us believe we want to be submissive to a man.

No, we are not all the same. Not every woman wants to worship at the altar of a man’s fragile ego.

Not all women want to  wait hands and foot on their husbands.

Not every woman wants a man as a partner, some women do have same sex partners.

We are no longer in the hunter/gatherer era where men must go hunt and women stayed home to do the cooking. The world is much more advanced than that. We evolved out of that era a long time ago.

Women don’t have to cook to be worthy of being called wife material.

Men don’t have to be ATMs to be husband material.

You don’t have to be loud and argumentative to be a feminist.

You could be as quiet as a mouse and still be a strong feminist.

You could be loud and argumentative and still be a feminist.

You could be a good cook who cooks at home for her family and still be a feminist.

You could be a good cook who does not cook for her family and still be a feminist.

You could be a single mother who cooks for her cchildren and still be a feminist.

You could be a single mother who does not cook and still be a feminist.

You could be a single woman who loves cooking and still be a feminist.

You could be a single woman who hates cooking and still be a feminist.

Your Feminist credentials do not depend on your ability or willingness to cook.

Gender roles are constructed by the society, they are not biological.

Be nurturing, be submissive, be dominant, be whatever you want to be in your relationship, so far it is with mutual consent and no one is put in harm’s way, it is your life, your choice. However, do not seek to impose that choice on others.

Feminism asserts the right of women to choose to be what they want to be, devoid of social constrains, barriers or gender expectations. Feminist is not a bad tag; wear it with pride, at all times.

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Donald Trump’s America: A Win for Sexism, Racism and Misogyny

Today is undoubtedly one of the saddest days of my life, and I am not even American. I might not be American or even live in America, however, I am human and Donald Trump is the very embodiment of everything I stand against.

Every vote for Donald Trump was a vote for Sexism, Racism, Xenophobia, Misogyny, Bullying, Sexual Assault, Bigotry, Tyranny and every other thing appalling.

A win for Donald Trump was a rude awakening that majority of Americans would rather see a very horrible, inept man lead the country than a very capable, humane woman.

A win for Donald Trump is a reminder that so many Americans are not as appalled by sexism, racism, xenophobia, bullying, sexual harassment as any decent person would be.

My heart goes to all American women who in addition to fearing for their reproductive health rights, would have to call this sexist monster, Mr. President

My heart goes to every woman in America who has been a rape victim, sexually assaulted, had their boobs and pussies grabbed without consent, who would have to call this sexual assault apologist and rape enabling man, Mr, President.

My heart goes to the black Americans and immigrants who now have more reasons to fear for their lives in Donald Trump’s America and who would have to call a raging racist, KKK endorsed presidential candidate, Mr. President.

My heart goes to all the minorities in America, my LGBT community, who have every reason to be worried about a possible roll back of the hard-won equality rights.

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At this point I weep for America. I weep for Humanity. I weep for myself as a black woman who has just been rudely reminded again that people who think like Donald Trump are in the majority. They go into hiding but get very emboldened when a raging racist, sexist, xenophobic bully takes the leadership microphone and speak their appalling thoughts out loud for the whole world to hear. It is Brexit again. It empowers the haters.

I am sad because this is a reminder that human beings wear a mask all the time. Who are these people who elected a Donald Trump?  They are your neighbours. Your Facebook friends. The people you meet on the streets. The people you work with. They are people you come in contact with every day. And that is frightening.

Donald Trump is now the elected United State President. What started as a joke, a very bad joke, has become an expensive reality.

I am sad that some people thought it was a case of choosing between two bad people, however it boggles the mind how anyone could put a Hilary Clinton and a Donald Trump in the same category.

For those who refused to vote for Hilary because their no vote stance was a stand against the establishment, well, I hope you can live with yourself knowing everything that Donald trump stands for and how your inaction enabled his ascendancy into the Presidential seat.

I have never really been interested in discussing all the conspiracy theories against Hilary Clinton, because when you scratch beneath the surface, you see these antagonisms for what they were; a fear of a powerful woman.

I have had people deleted and even blocked from my Facebook because I wasn’t interested in being forced to listen and watch how much they were eager to convince me about what a terrible human being Hilary Clinton is.

Many do not understand why a candidacy between a Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should be a clear-cut win for Hilary Clinton. I didn’t think I had to spend so much energy trying to make people understand that Donald Trump is an evil, appalling human being. His words make this assertion self-evidently true.

Every time I had to tell anyone that it shouldn’t be that difficult to choose between a Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, I had this constriction in my chest and tears in my eyes because I didn’t think it was even possible for decent people to openly support Donald Trump. No matter how much you didn’t like Hilary Clinton, enabling a Donald Trump to the White House should never be the answer.

Yes, it is a sad day indeed. I am not American, I do not live in America but I feel for all progressive Americans. I feel your pain. And I send you hugs. The struggle for a land of freedom and liberty continues. We cry today, however our tears and anger would unite us to fight for a better community, a better country, a better society and a better world.

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Miss Anambra’s Sex tape and the hypocrisy of Nigerians

As much as I try not to be so bothered with the ignorance displayed by fellow Nigerians daily, sometimes some things come up that one can’t in good conscience ignore because they are issues too important to ignore. The online assault on Miss Anambra by the homophobic, ignorant, religious extremist Nigerian mob is one of these issues. Now I must put my two cents in.

Since the alleged sex tape of Miss Chidinma Okeke, the winner of the 2015 Most Beautiful Girl in Anambra pageant competition, was leaked, there has been heated debate, fury, condemnation and all sorts of righteous silliness.

The sex tape showed Miss Anambra sexually pleasuring herself with a cucumber in the company of another lady, identified as her friend, Miss Adaobi Nzekwe, who was also a beauty queen,  third runner up of the face of democracy, Anambra, 2014.

The tape was released without the consent of Miss Chidinma Okeke. She initially came out to state that she was not the one in the video and that the sex tape was released as a revenge porn. It was also alleged that she was drugged and the video filmed under duress. If the video was filmed under duress and she was drugged, this must be totally condemned. Forcing women to make porn videos to use as a sort of hold or collateral against them is horrible.

In a message posted on her Facebook page Chidima Okeke wrote-

The moment I made public this intention to speak with journalists, I have been under threats by my blackmailers and traducers.

They are seriously threatening to shoot me at the press conference if I ever open my mouth to say the real truth about the ugly episode.

Ms. Okeke has since been dethroned because of the scandal. It is indeed sad that many have found jubilation in pulling the lady down, calling her Cucumber lady, all because she had ‘Lesbian sex’.

First, with all this nonsense talk about it being a lesbian sex, it is pertinent to state that the gender of the person we have sex with does not necessarily define our sexual orientation. The fact that two women were sexually pleasuring themselves does not make it lesbian sex. What is lesbian sex anyway? These two women could be bise264251_240895435929789_1041013_nxual or heterosexual women exploring their bodies and sexuality. No need to label sex based on the gender of the participants.

I am bisexual, I don’t have bisexual sex. Lesbian sex or heterosexual sex. I have sex.  I make love. I fall in love. Not a bisexual love, lesbian love or heterosexual love, just plain old love. Most people understand love and sexual desires. It isn’t any different because the people concerned are of same gender. Some people are Lesbians, Bisexual, Trans, and they have sexual desires, fall in love. Just get over it already.

Now, to the infamous cucumber. Why the outcry about Cucumber? The way Nigerians were shouting about the use of cucumber as a sex toy, one would think it never crossed their mind that such phallus shaped fruits and objects are often used by women around the world to give themselves sexual pleasure and Nigerian women are no exception. Cucumber, eggplants, candles etc are often used by women for sexual pleasure, especially by young curious women exploring their bodies. There is no harm in that and for goodness sake, it is their body. Their body, their choice.

Chidinma Okeke has now been dubbed the ‘Cucumber Lady’ by Nigerians. Don’t go hating on her and her cucumber just because you know your little willies or that big log you call a dick has never made a woman genuinely moan like the cucumber did. For all you know, your girlfriends or wives are busy using cucumber and other phallus shaped objects behind your back to satisfy the void you have not been able to fill. Maybe that cucumber is what is saving your marriage or relationship.

Instead of being so judgemental, why don’t you go learn a few sex tips? Maybe you could get your woman a nice shaped cucumber or get her a sex toy like a dildo or vibrator and use it together with her? For all you know, it might be the first time you experience your woman genuinely orgasm. What’s there to lose? Certainly, not your manhood, unless you are stuck in that patriarchal, sexist age that thinks only a dick should give a woman pleasure.

The condemnation Nigerians have poured on Miss Anambra since the release of the sex tape is nauseating.  Nigerians scream against the so called ‘Lesbian sex’, calling it “perverted” and “end of times signs”, yet the video has gone viral. It was officially reported as a top trending issue on Google search. That’s how much Nigerians love their ‘Lesbian/gay sex’, even though they want to stone the gays to death.

Considering that in 2014 Nigeria’s government enacted an anti-same sex relationship law which stipulates 14 years’ jail term for anyone who engages in same sex relationship and 10 years for anyone who advocates for LGBT rights, yet Nigeria rank has the third consumer of gay porn in the world. The hypocrisy of it all astounds.

The men who are busy wanking and jerking themselves to the sex video are the same who scream blue murder online, asking for Chidinma’s Okeke’s while envying the cucumber.

What is it about a woman owning her body and pleasuring herself the way she wants to that turns some people into judgemental assholes? For goodness sake, it is her body, not yours.

Revenge porn is horrible, patriarchal and designed to further shame women. It asserts that women have no right to enjoy their bodies, or honour their desires. Revenge porn is vengeful. In this modern day, the only reason revenge porn still holds power to shame women is because we still live in a patriarchal, sexist society where women are taught to be ashamed of their own bodies and sexual desires.

It is sad that some people keep calling the act of two women engaging in sex with each other pervert. Sex is natural. Desires are natural. There is nothing unnatural or perverted about experiencing sexual desires with another consenting adult, regardless of the gender of the parties involved. It is high time we stopped being so hang up about gender. Biological sex is not a restriction to sexual attraction or love.

If the action of others does not cause you any harm, stop interfering in their personal business.

In a country where traditional rulers abduct young girls and forced them into marriage, a country where randy old men are happy to use their religion to justify why they marry children as young as 10 years old, it is the highest level of hypocrisy to call for the heads of two consenting same sex adults for daring to have sex. And Nigerians have been calling for their heads as these nasty, ignorant comments on Facebook shows-

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Those nincompoops need to grow a brain. They need to understand that Homosexuality, Bisexuality or Transexuality is not Un-African or Unnatural. They need to accept that their religion is not the law. The world would be a much better place if they crawled back into their caves and never showed their homophobic, biphobic, transphobic faces in civilised society again. We should learn to Live and Let’s live.

Related link-

Debunking the myths: Is Homosexuality, Bisexuality or Transsexualism Un-African or Unnatural?

 

Just another random guy telling a woman what to do with her body

So, another guy decided to tell me what he wants me to do with my body to please his eyes. Never mind that i hardlyScreen-Shot-2014-10-29-at-11.09.03-AM knew him. Never mind that the few interactions i had with him on social media were about him as an African-American reaching out because he wanted a better understanding on some issues especially as it affects Africa and Africans. Never mind that i treated him with utmost respect, taking time to answer his questions and i thought the respect was mutual. But alas, he was just another man who refused to understand that telling a woman what to do with her body, to please their ‘manly gaze’, is just totally wrong.

Well, he decided to express his displeasure with my weight loss. He sent messages to my Facebook inbox , starting with a disgusted face sticker, cos well, words weren’t enough to express just how disgusted he was that i lost my ‘meaty’ figure!

sidney edited

what u doing to yourself? u used to be a buxom voluptuous woman. u need to get some more meat on dem lovely bones.my eyes cant feast on u anymore.

Yeah, he started is message with a disgusted face sticker. Cos, well, that is just how disgusted he feels about me losing weight. As he stated, his eyes can’t feast on me anymore. Poor chap.

Of course, i didn’t hold back in telling him exactly what i thought he should do with his ‘manly gaze’.

sidney edited 1sidney edited 2

That’s very insulting and I am very disappointed that you have this kind of patriarchal mindset. I thought you were more evolved than this lousy comment.

First, it is my body, not yours.

What i do with my body is my business, not anyone else’s business.

It is very sexist and patriarchal of you to use language that implies my body is for you or any other man to FEAST on. I am not a piece of meat on display for your ‘manly gaze’.

If my existence or looks hurt your eyes, then take your fucking eyes somewhere else, i never asked for you stare, look or feast on me BTW, I didn’t know you have been feasting on me, i am so glad now that there is one less sexist man feasting on me.

Crawl out of that cave you woke up in today that made you think it was ok for you to tell me I should put on some meat on my bones cos you liked feasting your eyes on me when i was “a buxom voluptuous woman”. Gawd, do you even understand how patronising that sounds?

And truly, shed that sexist, patriarchal attitude and stop telling women what to do with their bodies, we do not exist for your pleasure! My body. My choice. My Right.

Did he understand this simple truth? Of course he wouldn’t even think about it cos it’s easier to blame his victim.

sidney edited 3

its not patriarchal, it matriarchal. u insult me with that. i dont think appreciating a woman’s beauty is patriarchal, i don’t think loving women is patriarchal. if i admire your buxom voluptuous beauty, its not patriarchal. if I express my opinion about you, or any part of you, body, mind or spirit, its not patriarchal. not what you are doing has a name but I wont name it because THEN you might accuse me of being patriarchal when in fact it would appear you are more patriarchal than me. You have gone beyond the pale, out of bounds and past your limits in your evaluation and attribution of motive to me.

He just kept trying to pathetically justify his action, even claiming i am the one who is patriarchal. lol

sidney edited 4

and yes, i see NOTHING WRONG in enjoying you as a complete person.

sexist? stop it.

sensuality and beinf sensual and enjoying it is not sexist nor pariarchal.

i respect ur sensitivity, but u are wrong here if u think i am insensitive.

i expressed myself to u as a friend.

it was tongue in cheek

i was obviously mistaken to think that you knew me better.

Somehow in his mind, i was to blame for reading his words rather than reading his mind.  And his pathetic attempt at pacifying me ended up as very patronising. Well, he couldn’t apologise, after all, he still couldn’t see how he was wrong. According to him, he respects my sensitivity, cos well, i was just being “sensitive” about being talked to like a piece of meat, albeit one no longer fit for his consumption and pleasure!

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I don’t care what your motives or intentions were, all i know FOR CERTAIN is that you have no right to tell me what to do with my body.

Keep your opinion of my body to your self.

Don’t tell me or any woman to put on weight or lose weight FOR YOUR BENEFIT or Pleasure

Don’t ever treat or talk to me like I am a piece of meat for you to feast your eyes on. Obviously you still can’t see how your choice of words are very insulting.. Feast on .. as if i am a pie e of meat for your pleasure and consumption. So i should just go make myself more meaty so you can Feast your eyes on me again. as Now, i am sore to your meaty loving eyes. EEEK!!!!

Enjoy whatever goes on in your mind, you cross the line when you abuse whatever facebook friendship i have with you when you tell me what i should do with my body to PLEASE YOU.

I did not solicit for your opinion of my body. Keep your opinions to yourself.

Do you think you are the only man who feel they are entitled to tell me or other women what to do with our body? I get this kind of lousy behaviour every day. It is harassment. Catcalls, random opinion of guys on my body. Guys insisting i smile for them. Guys telling me to lose weight. Guys saying i need to keep my curves and stop losing weight. I am so tired of such assholes. It is my body, you all should just keep your opiniony of my bod to your entitled sexist selves!

Again, NEVER tell a woman what to do with her body. We don’t exist for your sexist gaze or approval. You should read the articles wrote on similar attitude of men telling women what to do with their bodies.

Stop telling black women what to do with their hair or skin!

Everyday Sexism: Catcalls and Street Harassment 

I saw he was still busy typing, no doubt trying to justify his action. At this point, i knew i had to disengage.

Sidney edited 8

I do not wish to spend any more time engaging with you on this. Pls, respect my space. I don’t care to read whatever it is you are typing right now. Just give it a rest. Go think about your comments and read the articles. I don’t want to hear or read anymore attempt of you trying to justify your comment. There is no excuse .

Did he get it? No, but at least he disengaged. However,  he couldn’t resist telling me how i was to blame for not understanding him. Well, at least he did say “ok. bye.”

sidney edited 9

u act like i was giving u a command. I know how u feel about such things. i have read ur commentaries about sexist patriarchal insults and attitudes.

ok. bye.
Well, that was that. This was especially sad because this guy actually considered himself to be amongst the ”good’, 557264_423393704397930_1730387465_n‘decent’, ‘women supporting’ men out there, but his words and mindset speak otherwise. Unfortunately, like many other men, he just wasn’t willing to admit that he consciously or unconsciously still sees and treats women as a piece of meat whose existence is to aesthetically please his ‘manly gaze’.  Men, please, stop doing this.

 

Does taking gym selfies or posting several pics on Facebook translates to Narcissism?

When my dear Facebook friend all the way from America sent me a link in my inbox with the message “London, we have a problem.”, I opened the link with a bit of trepidation and was confronted with a shady headline Study Finds That People Who Post Gym Selfies Have A Psychological Problem “

The article went on to postulate about some dubious research it never linked to. The  article reads

Some people have to let the whole world know that they have been to the gym by means of Facebook posts normally accompanied by a selfie. It turns this could by due to an underlying psychological problem which causes them to become obsessed with taking selfies.

In a study conducted at Brunel University is was discovered that people who constantly brag about fitness tend to show narcissistic traits  – This is a term for the psychological disorder where people gain pleasure from self admiration. This behavior usually results  annoying vein posts such as “sun’s out, guns out” all over your timeline, the intention is to boost their own ego with comments and likes.

 I call bullshit on this. [Read more…]

Baby, You Are Beautiful – Dance Video

Some of us know we are.

Some of us don’t believe we are.

Some of us let society tell us otherwise.

Beauty comes in different colours, shapes and sizes.

Baby, You Are Beautiful.  Snapshot_20160515_252

What makes you beautiful is Not

Because you don’t know you are beautiful,

But because you simply are.

Do you; with or without make-up

Rock you; whatever your body size, shape or ability.

Celebrate your body; even if the society says you shouldn’t.

Flaunt these curves; even if they claim you aren’t beach ready.

Embrace and shower your body with Love.

Cos baby, You are You.

And Baby,

You Are Beautiful.

Background Music by One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

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Online Dating: Serving up Choices and Confusion

Dating in this generation has a whole new meaning. It is all about choice or rather the illusion of choice, leading to confusion, pain, and a life wasted on swiping profiles for the next hit. This Facebook note by a Facebook friend, got me thinking about dating. As a single woman, i must say, i agree totally with his take on it. In this age of online dating, it is all about the illusion of choice and the uncertainty that comes with it. dating

Back when i was a teenager growing up in Nigeria, 20 something years ago, dating was not even a thing. You were either in a relationship with someone or you were not. It was straight to the relationship phase. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy asks girl, “Will you be my girlfriend?”, if girl likes boy, she plays coquettish long enough to not appear desperate, then says yes, and bingo, they are in a relationship. No dating as it is known today, no testing the waters, that was done at the ‘eyeing her/him up’ stage. The courtship stage did not normally involve alone time together. Maybe time with friends and families where you both sussed each other out, until one of you makes the move. [Read more…]

Five Assumptions We Should Avoid Making

I was working out at my gym when two gym regulars decided to strike up a conversation with me.

Gym regular (Male) – You have lost a lot of weight

Gym regular (Female) -Yeah, I told her so too.

Me – Oh, yeah, thanks, the hard work is showing.

Gym regular (Male) – I am sure your husband will be happy

Me – I don’t have a husband. I am single

Gym Regulars – What, you mean you are single? [Read more…]

I Am Beautiful and I know It

It is so cringeworthy when people tell me i am beautiful and I accept it at face value with a nod to my own beauty but as a reward they want me to grovel at their feet or expect I say something self-devaluing like  “Oh no, you are just being nice, I am not all that.” Of course, i am all that and much more too, thanks for the observation!

I woke up this morning to this awesome video by Daysha Edewi titled “What If I Knew I Was Beautiful”. My fb friend had commented on the video on Facebook and tagged me and I went, “OMG, this video is so me!” [Read more…]

Serena Williams: Racism, Sexism and the Champion

Serena Williams gave us another ‪‎Serenaslam. She is unarguably one of the greatest of all times. At 33, when most men and women champions are catching their retirement cheques, Serena Williams is saying ‘You aint seen anything yet!’ Serena Williams is at her best ever and she is here to stay. What an inspirational athlete!

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The Williams sisters not only changed the face of Tennis, they took it to a higher level. In a game where racism still unashamedly rears its ugly head, where sexism and beauty stereotypes mean the best athlete who happens to be black, gets less endorsement deals than the white blonde she has dominated for years, one cannot but admire the determination of the Williams sisters to excel in their game. Their many victories are inspirational and legendary.

We cannot ignore the racism the Williams sisters have faced over the years in a game that is predominantly white and traditionally elitist. [Read more…]

BeingFemaleInNigeria: The viral hashtag, the tweets and my take on it

#BeingFemaleInNigeria is a hashtag that went viral in Nigeria just barely hours after it was first tweeted by members of a small book club. The hashtag started trending in many countries including UK. I would have loved for the hashtag to read ‘BeingaWomanInNigeria’ because the word ‘Female’ has its own social construct problem. However, i am over the moon that this very important conversation, which got the whole nation talking, was started by a very small book club.

The book club members had gathered to read their book of the month, an essay titled ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ by Nigerian award winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. According to a member of the book club, Florence Warmate, the discussion got very interesting and members started sharing their personal experiences of sexism in Nigeria. They decided not to leave it there but start a conversation on social media about what it is like being a woman in Nigeria.

Florence Warmate posted her first tweet on the subject using the agreed hashtag #BeingFemaleInNigeria. Hours later, it was trending on twitter. It was interesting that a small group of women could ignite a national discussion via social media in a matter of hours. Clearly, it was a discussion Nigerian women (and some men too), were dying to have. [Read more…]

Periods: The Shame and Shaming

I am not a fan of the menstrual cycle but i understand it is a natural part of making new human lives and this is great. If there was any intelligent designer, aka God, women wouldn’t need to bleed every month for new human lives to be possible, and this is one reason i can say God is not a woman.

It is sad that the society portrays menstruation as an obscene, dirty thing women should be ashamed of. As a teenager, I was scared and ashamed to go into chemists’ shops to purchase sanitary pads and it did not help that the people behind the counters were usually men. Most times, I found myself going from one shop to the other, praying and hoping there would be a woman behind the counter. If the shame i felt could kill, i would have died at the spot!

Thanks to feminism and the liberation it brings, I now buy my sanitary pads and tampons with pride. Gone are the days I made extra efforts to keep my sanitary pads hidden under the bulk of my shopping, now i make a point of not hiding it under any grocery/shopping. This ‘little’ act feels like liberation from century old shackles. [Read more…]

Calling Out Misogyny or Bullying is Not An Attack; It is a Social Duty!

There is this unfortunate trend in social media where calling out someone for their sexist, misogynist, and/or inhumane remarks is seen more as an invitation for a fight rather than an opportunity to engage in rational discussion. Many, especially women, are discouraged from calling out sexist, misogynist, or stereotype remarks made by friends on social media like Facebook or Twitter, for fear of being tagged as the “type of feminist that gives feminism a bad name”.

There seems to be a renewed effort to tag outspoken,social justice conscious women as aggressive, judgemental, over-sensitive ‘bitches’ who just want to ruin everyone’s fun. It is particularly sad that this type of silencing technique is becoming even more prevalent in the Humanist/Atheist space.

November 17th-24th is  anti-bullying week and I pledged sometime ago not to be a bystander when I witness bullying. Of course, this has somehow earned me a reputation as the “fun ruiner”, especially amongst some of my fb friends.  Whenever i post or comment on such issues, it is at the risk of being referred to as the “type of feminist” they don’t like. Therefore, such discussions tend to irritate some ‘friends’ and many do get aggressively defensive when called out. However, i am sure that those who resort to aggressive behaviour when called out on how they treat others do not deserve the space they occupy on my virtual/real friendship list, simples.

I was shocked when I came across the status update below from a somehow close FB friend who identify as humanist and feminist: [Read more…]

On the street harassment video: Calling out racism should not drown out the sexism in the video.

When I watched the street harassment video titled 10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman, my first thought was, forget 10 hours, that is my experience as a woman 557264_423393704397930_1730387465_nwalking the 10 minutes distance to my gym!

Catcalls and street harassments are daily experiences many women have learned to live with. Many of us have spoken out against this experience many times. However, are we ever taken seriously? No. Instead, trolls invade such posts with excuses like “Not every man”, “I am not your kind of feminist”, “This is why I hate feminists”… blahblahblah

Therefore, I was actually happy just to see a video documenting an actual experience of catcalls and street harassment going viral. In all honesty, I was not looking at the skin colour of the guys in the video, I was more about their words and often I went,  oh, I have heard that or oh that is a popular one. I guess to me, my street harassers have one thing in common, they are men, they say the same shit, they want control, they treat me like objects, and they feel entitled to my body. They are men that feel entitled to my time, who feel they must compliment my body and they get annoyed when I don’t beam at their validation of my beauty. They get angry when I don’t smile when they command me to smile on the street while going about my errands, some even get violent when I don’t reciprocate their unsolicited attention. They do all these regardless of their skin colour. So nope, I was not watching out for skin colour of my everyday street harasser in that video because what binds street harassers together is not their skin colour but their male identity, male privilege or better put, misogyny.

However, I was glad when people started pointing out the racial aspect of the video, especially when the maker of the video was exposed for a similar racist editing he had done in a previous ad video and also a homeless man makeover ad video.  The discussions were good and enlightening.

However, as a woman who is very much affected by this catcalling, street harassment culture, I am worried that in an attempt to call out racism, focus is being taken [Read more…]

Just another sexist and racist encounter at the hospital

After many failed attempts to get an appointment at the surgery, I decided I was not going to endure another restless, sleepless, sweaty, tossing and turning night, so I dragged myself to my local Accident & Emergency/Walk in Center. At the entrance to the hospital is a big sign that reads, “If you have flu, stay at home, and call your GP”.  Well, I have flu-like symptoms and I have spent the last three days trying to get an appointment with my GP to no avail.  Majority of the NHS surgeries now have a rule that one can only book an appointment on the particular day within the hour of 8:00am -9:00am. Anything outside that, one would have to wait until the next day and start the process again. The problem is, as soon as it is 8:00am, the line becomes engaged. Try every minute and you will keep getting the busy tone. It is frustrating.

Anyway, I decided I have not been diagnosed with Flu, I needed treatment, and i am not going to self-diagnose or self-prescribe. Therefore, I walked to the reception room, and requested to see a doctor.

The following discussion ensued- [Read more…]