White Privilege: The existence of poor white people doesn’t erase Racism

Around 2:00am this morning, I was woken up by a WhatsApp message from an ex. What did he want in the middle of the night? Well, it turned out he has just seen a homeless white couple and he wanted me to know racism is a figment of my imagination.

Just saw this drug couple sitting in the street in front the train station with a two years old daughter. It really breaks my heart. Not all children are born equal

Alert – Assumption that all homeless people are drug addicts.

His conclusion –

In Ipswich, skin colour is the least problem

I was like, “White Satan, get thee away from me this ungodly hour!”

I refused to be dragged into that discussion again, especially at such hour. However, the message kept nagging at me, I really wanted to ignore it but thought i should not. So, first thing in the morning, I sent him a few lengthy responses about what the reaction would have been if it was a homeless black couple with their two-year-old daughter sitting outside a train station, and in Ipswich of all places. The reaction would more have been around the line of-

  • “WTF is a black person doing in our white neighbourhood”
  • “Those immigrants are filthy and have bought their poverty to our dear Ipswich”
  • “Go home niggers, we don’t need your type here.”

Unfortunately, I’ve had this type of discussion with him so many times. He thinks because he was a cash strapped German who came to UK about twenty years ago, and had to do some menial jobs to survive, black people cannot blame anything, including their economic circumstances, on racism. In fact, to him it is not racism, it is a class struggle issue. Unfortunately, he is one of those white people who think that racism is a thing of the past and that Classicism is the problem.

I cannot reiterate enough that White people who claim not to see colour while benefiting from systemic racism are part of the problem.

While on a date with a nice, white gentleman who identify as a progressive, I told him his white skin was like winning a lottery. He immediately thought I wanted to be white and that I had internalised self-hate for my black skin! I tried to explain how being a white person can be a lottery you did not even sign up to play, but I doubt he got the point. Also, he wanted me to put a label on his sexual orientation because as a cis, upper middle class white man, he dated a very feminine Asian trans woman. I point blank told him i don’t put label on anyone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. However, I think if as a cis man you date a trans woman, this would not in any way affect your sexual orientation or gender identity. You dated a woman, that is all there is to it. No, it doesn’t make you queer or means you can now identify as LGBTQ, not if you truly believe you dated a woman, anyway.

Well, back to the issue of my ex and his erasure and denial of racism because of the existence of poor white people. My attempts to make him consider that he probably reacted that way because they were homeless white people and not homeless black people only made him angrier than see sense. He responded that it was about the girl, not my egoism. Yeah, my lived experience of racism as an immigrant black woman in a western country is all about my ego. Racism is a figment of my egoist imagination.

I was like okay, if you can’t take my black ass word for it as i am an egoist black woman, maybe you will consider the word of a white person. Then I googled some articles on white privilege and immediately the beloved article, ‘Explaining White Privilege To A Broke White Personby Gina Crosley-Corcoran came up. I thought yeah, I’d share that, but then I thought. “Shit, a white woman wrote it”. I know a white man would stand a better chance of getting to my ex than a white woman, but well, I sent him the article anyway. Unfortunately, all he saw was that it was a Huffington post article, and before he even read it, he responded that Huffington post is conformist propaganda. I told him he probably was confusing it with Daily mail or Fox news.

Anyway, I wanted to share this enlightening article by Gina Crosley-Corcoran with you. The article was her reaction to the acclaimed academic piece by Peggy McIntosh titled- ‘White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’.

Excerpts from Explaining White Privilege To A Broke White Person by Gina Crosley-Corcoran

I, maybe more than most people, can completely understand why broke white folks get pissed when the word “privilege” is thrown around. As a child I was constantly discriminated against because of my poverty, and those wounds still run very deep. But luckily my college education introduced me to a more nuanced concept of privilege: the term “intersectionality.” The concept of intersectionality recognizes that people can be privileged in some ways and definitely not privileged in others. There are many different types of privilege, not just skin-color privilege, that impact the way people can move through the world or are discriminated against. These are all things you are born into, not things you earned, that afford you opportunities that others may not have. For example:

Citizenship: Simply being born in this country affords you certain privileges that non-citizens will never access.

Class: Being born into a financially stable family can help guarantee your health, happiness, safety, education, intelligence, and future opportunities.

Sexual orientation: If you were born straight, every state in this country affords you privileges that non-straight folks have to fight the Supreme Court for.

Sex: If you were born male, you can assume that you can walk through a parking garage without worrying that you’ll be raped and then have to deal with a defense attorney blaming it on what you were wearing.

Ability: If you were born able-bodied, you probably don’t have to plan your life around handicap access, braille, or other special needs.

Gender identity: If you were born cisgender (that is, your gender identity matches the sex you were assigned at birth), you don’t have to worry that using the restroom or locker room will invoke public outrage.

As you can see, belonging to one or more category of privilege, especially being a straight, white, middle-class, able-bodied male, can be like winning a lottery you didn’t even know you were playing. But this is not to imply that any form of privilege is exactly the same as another, or that people lacking in one area of privilege understand what it’s like to be lacking in other areas. Race discrimination is not equal to sex discrimination and so forth.

And listen: Recognizing privilege doesn’t mean suffering guilt or shame for your lot in life. Nobody’s saying that straight, white, middle-class, able-bodied males are all a bunch of assholes who don’t work hard for what they have. Recognizing privilege simply means being aware that some people have to work much harder just to experience the things you take for granted (if they ever can experience them at all).

I know now that I am privileged in many ways. I am privileged as a natural-born white citizen. I am privileged as a cisgender woman. I am privileged as an able-bodied person. I am privileged that my first language is also our national language, and that I was born with an intellect and ambition that pulled me out of the poverty that I was otherwise destined for. I was privileged to be able to marry my way “up” by partnering with a privileged, middle-class, educated male who fully expected me to earn a college degree.

There are a million ways I experience privilege, and some that I certainly don’t. But thankfully, intersectionality allows us to examine these varying dimensions and degrees of discrimination while raising awareness of the results of multiple systems of oppression at work.

Excerpts from –White privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh –

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since
hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there are most likely a phenomenon of while privilege
that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about
racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see on of its
corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.
I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to
recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white
privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can
count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White
privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports,
codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.
Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable.

She further wrote-

I usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck.
Yet some of the conditions I have described here work to systematically overempower certain
groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one’s race or sex.
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure renting or purchasing housing in an area
which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed
or harassed.
5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my
race widely represented.
6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that
people of my color made it what it is.
7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the
existence of their race.
8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a
supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a
hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
10. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work
against the appearance of financial reliability.
11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like
them.
12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people
attribute these choices to the bad morals,the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the
world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior
without being seen as a cultural outsider.
18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person
of my race.
19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t
been singled out because of my race.
20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and
children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in,
rather than isolated, out-of-place, out numbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job
suspect that I got it because of race.
23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in
or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
25. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or
situation whether it has racial overtones.
26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match
my skin.

I would encourage reading the two articles in full if you have not, and if you have, it is refreshing to read them again.

Also, don’t be like my Ex.

 

Serena Williams Nude Pregnancy Pictures and the Predictable Reactions.

Serena Williams pregnancy picture on the cover of Vanity Fair is the embodiment of beauty, strength and womanhood. The pics are breathtaking, the story of her courtship with her fiance was well written and quite moving. She is indeed WonderWoman.

I have always loved pregnancy pictures. I find them fascinating. Growing up in Nigeria, I was fascinated with wooden sculptures of pregnant women. They looked so earthy, majestic and divine. I wish I took some pregnancy pictures when I was pregnant with my son, 22 years ago. If mobile phones were a thing then, I sure would have taken pregnancy selfies.

I don’t have any plan to carry another pregnancy or nurse a screaming tot, however if I ever find myself pregnant again, I would document every single day of that pregnancy with a selfie. And yeah, I’d be sharing them on social media. People who are disgusted by naked pregnant women pictures will just have to scroll past my contents or choke on their own hate.

I stumbled on this comment left by my very good friend and fellow Nigerian on Serena’s post, and I must say, I totally understand how she feels.

Some people read the beautiful love story, saw the pregnancy pictures, and all they took away from the story was to feel offended by her beautiful pregnancy pics. When I read that some people used the word “disgusting” to describe Serena Williams’ nude pregnancy pics, I knew instinctively that some of them would be my country people, Nigerians, and yeah, I was right! Hear them-

What is disgusting about a woman’s nude body? This is a country where a woman wearing a bikini to its many beaches is still frowned upon. The people just aren’t comfortable with a woman showing as much skin as possible in a public space. Never mind that it is one of the most corrupt countries, a haven for rapists, and one of the highest consumer of porn, especially gay porn, funny as the legislators recently voted 14 years imprisonment against same sex relationships, and ten years jail term for anyone who advocates for LGBT rights. Hypocrites.

Haters are everywhere on the globe, here are some of them hating on Serena’s pregnancy pics-

The human’s body is a beautiful thing, especially a woman’s body. It is even more so when it is nurturing a human being inside it. I don’t get how that is not fascinating. Yes, some think it should be for the private eyes of the closest families and friends, but it is still the woman’s prerogative to share this wonder with the world if they so wish. You are not being forced to fix your disapproving gaze on these majestic pictures, you don’t have to comment on it to register your disgust, or displeasure at a woman sharing her pregnancy pics.

We get it that you are offended by another woman’s body, but really, it is her body, her choice and good for her if she made lots of money too by sharing those majestic pics. I know I would share mine just for the sheer pleasure of it, but if someone offered me good old cash to do it, I’d say let’s do it!

I am glad that so many people also left positive comments, applauded and thanked Serena Williams for sharing these amazing pregnancy pictures with us. Hear them-

Pregnancy selfies are great, if they are your cup of tea, please go for it with all gusto, don’t let these easily offended by the sight of a woman’s natural body discourage you. If it is not your cup of tea, good, enjoy your pregnancy, however do not go around dissing those who share their pregnancy selfies.

Serena Williams looked majestic in those pics taken by famous photographer, Annie Leibovitz. I am really glad she chose to share such beautiful, intimate pics of her pregnant self with her legion of fans. Here is wishing her safe delivery when the time comes for her baby to make a grand entrance into the world.

 

 

 

Facebook banned me for saying Men Are Trash

Facebook banned me for posting excerpts from my blog post, Men Are Trash, on my Facebook wall, and deleted the posts. Facebook thinks it is hate speech.

Some Facebook and Instagram users have reported similar experience; not surprising as Facebook owns Instagram. I Probably got reported by some random blokes whose very existence confirms that Men are Trash.

I decided to make the blog post into a YouTube video and share on Facebook.  I plan to download it on my Facebook as a video, no doubt it will get me banned again, cos, Men and their fragile ego! #MenAreTrash.

 

Related Links- 

Men Are Trash 

Everyday Sexism: Catcalls and Street Harassment  

Men Are Trash

Yes, men are trash. It is the truth. Men are indeed trash. Now, don’t come at me with your “Not All Men” bullshit. If you are a man and you think you are not trash, just jog on. However, it doesn’t change the fact that men are trash.

By sharing our experiences, women with online dating profiles already know that men are trash as exemplified by the unsolicited dick pics men send us, the explicit messages telling us what they want to stick in our mouths, invitation to sit on their faces and let them eat us before we’ve even exchanged as much as a Hello, and the creepy ways they inform us just how much they want to fill our holes with their imaginary six inch dicks. Yes, men are trash.

However, occupying a special place of men who are trash are men who catcall. Men who catcall are a physical constant reminder that men are trash.    I have written before about the evils of catcalls and street harassment. Many of us have explained so many times why catcalling is degrading, and a form of sexual assault. Do they listen? No, they don’t. They continue to catcall cos they have dicks and that is what they think with, and it gives them a sense of entitlement to a woman’s body and attention.

I am so tired of being tired of men who won’t let a woman have her own space on the streets. No, they got to come up in our faces and demand that we smile for them. Heaven forbids we don’t entertain their demand, as that would be an excuse for them to get up close in our face and demand to know why we aren’t jumping up for joy when they complimented our big boobs, cute ass or nice legs. Yes, men are trash.

I just moved to Chelmsford Essex and love taking walks to enjoy the beauty of the place. After living in London for many years, I thought I would enjoy the fusion of modern and countryside beauty of Chelmsford by taking walks to appreciate all it offers. But hey, the very reason I dreaded taking walks in London keeps rearing its ugly head again in Chelmsford, Essex. Men who catcall.

I am so tired of hiding away or putting on my headphones to blank out the street noise just to avoid the constant harassment from men who think it is OK to tell me to smile, strangers who shout after me, “Nice Ass” and somehow expect me to turn around, smile with gratitude and say,

Thanks, Kind Sir for noticing, I do squats to get my glutes banging.

Really, men are trash.

Just the other day as I was walking home, some white guys, about four of them, started catcalling me. I ignored them and increased my pace to get away. They had obviously been drinking as some of them were holding beer cans. I hurried away from them but they continued leering at me, commenting on my body with a special focus on my ass and legs. Unfortunately, I had to wait for the traffic light to change, they caught up with me and one of them moved very close to me and practically whispered creepy things into my ears. He was all about how he would love to fuck my ass. While I waited for the traffic light to change, I had to endure listening to these trashy men talk about my body as if I was just an object and not a human being. I quickly crossed the road as soon as I could, and moved far to the other side of the road just to get away from them, even though that was a longer route for me.

It is so sad that as a woman, I am often compelled to bear these harassment in silence, and most times we are the ones who must move out of the way of these bullies, even if it means taking the longer route. Indeed, men are trash.

Just today, on my way to the gym, I had a nasty catcall encounter. I had been having a bad day, in fact it has been bad days for weeks now, so I was really looking forward to working out to let out some steam. There was this black dude on a bike coming towards my direction, he stopped near me and disembarked.  As I walked past him, he looked at me and said in a very creep way-

Hmm, helloooo, looking good.

I couldn’t be bothered to respond, so I kept walking. He got furious and shouted-

I would blast your ass.

Typical man trash. I continued to ignore him and quickly crossed to the other side of the road.

However, guess who came chasing after me on his bike? Yeah, the creepy asshole. This dude had the audacity to get on his bike, chase after me and tried to chastise me for not returning his ‘greetings’. To top it all, he said

I am your African brother and you are feeling too big to talk to me.

I think it was at this point that I lost it. All through his catcalling, insults and chastising, I had tried to keep my cool and just kept walking as we were now on the high street with a few people around. However, everyone has a breaking point, and I think that was mine.

How dare this self-entitled, sexist pig of a man invade my space this way? Is it because he has a dick and felt obliged to tell me how he would blast my ass with it? Somehow, I was supposed to be grateful to him for that ‘compliment’?

I stopped walking, faced this asshole, and belted out in my black angry woman voice-

How dare you harass me on the street. How dare you refer to yourself as my African brother when you’ve just shouted at me how you would blast my ass? How dare you to try to mansplain to me that I was rude for not acknowledging your catcalls? Do you speak to your mothers and sisters in that manner? You are nothing but a fucking sexual harasser and a bully.  

By this time, I was visibly angry, and my voice rose with every word I threw at him. I didn’t know how much of that pent-up anger was in me until I let it all splash out on this creepy asshole.

The guy was visibly shocked. The surprise on its face was priceless. He probably didn’t know I had a voice as I had kept silent all through his talking at me. This time I was the one really in his creepy, perverted face, screaming at him and ready to scratch his eyes out.

He was like, “Whoaaaa, what just happened?”.

Yeah, asshole, what happened was that I got tired of you harassing me, telling me how you want to blast my ass and having the effrontery to chase and chastise me for not acknowledging your creepy, sorry ass existence. Men are trash

And to my utmost surprise, this creepy black dude dared to use race in an attempt to make it look like I was the one in the wrong. He actually said, probably, for the benefit of the white people around-

You are African, this is how we do in Africa.

At that point, I felt like dragging him down from his bike and whoop his silly, creepy arse. He surely needed a beating. However, instead of beating him up, I told him if he thinks harassing a woman on the street is an African thing, he must have been raised by baboons. At this point, he knew I was so angry I could get physical with him right on the high street, and not in the way he would love, so he started moving away from me on his bike. When the coward thought he was a safe distance away, he started screaming inanities at me again.

I would blast your ass and you would come begging for more

You are big headed

You hypocrite

I still don’t understand the “You hypocrite” accusation, but to top the list of the silly things he screamed at me, this black African dude looked back at me from his bike and shouted-

Go back to Africa

At this point, I knew for sure he has no functioning brain., the only thing he thinks with must be his dick. He was just another brainless creepy asshole who couldn’t understand why a woman he didn’t know would be angry at him for saying he wants to blast her ass. And well, at least it was the first time a fellow African screamed at me to go back to Africa on the streets of Britain, just because I wouldn’t let him blast my ass. What a dick!

Funny how this happened right on the high street and the mostly white population of Chelmsford, Essex were busy giving us space. I mean, it was like ‘Erm, two angry black people going at each other, one a visibly upset woman, the other a…well, black man, better give them space’. Race relations continue to baffle and amuse me, but as we are talking sexism, and sexism knows no race, I won’t let myself be distracted by the race interaction, for now.

I wish we had a provision for lodging complaints of such street harassment.

At what point exactly should women report catcalling as sexual harassment?

I walk peacefully on the street and group of guys talk loudly about my body, what they’d like to do with my ass, boobs and vagina, yet I am supposed to just shrug it off and walk on?

A man catcalls and screams at me that after he blast my ass, l will come begging for more.Somehow I am expected to ignore this assault and be ‘adult’ about it?

I have had men hoot at me and throw drinks at me from their cars.

I have had men forcefully invade my space, follow me, demand that I smile and insist I acknowledge their greetings.

Do we ever consider the emotional anguish this cause women all day?

At what point am I allowed to defend myself from this type of street sexual harassment?

Am I just supposed to keep walking on and pretend it is not happening?

Am I supposed to ignore the pain and emotional anguish caused me by these words that seek to demean my very existence as a human being?

Am I expected to bear it all because ‘boys will be boys’?

Men are trash.

For all men who are trash, consider this a warning-

I am tired of being tired of your misogyny.

I am tired of being tired of your sexism.

I am tired of being tired of your catcalls.

I am tired of being tired of your self-entitlement.

I am tired of being tired of having to vacate my space to escape your harassment.

I am tired of being tired of patriarchy.

If you come at me with your catcalls, and dare to invade my space with your creepy face, be ready to have that creepy face of yours meet with my fist or my pepper spray.

It is only fair that if you are eager to tell me how you will blast my ass, I should feel no qualm about blasting your face with my pepper spray.

And while you are writhing in pain, I might as well just take down your pants and pepper spray your useless, good for nothing dick. Maybe then, you will begin to understand and experience just a fraction of the pain your constant street harassment cause women like me. Don’t you dare come at me bro because you might not have a dick left by the time I finish with you. Considering that your dick is the one thing you build your existence around, you will be as good as dead without it.

I warn your again, you creepy, perverted catcallers, you better stay away from me. Don’t come at me, cos I might very well give in to the urge to rid the world of your nasty, creepy existence and believe me, no price would be too high to pay for the pleasure of ridding the world of your perverted, creepy asshole, you man trash.  Yes, men are trash and I might just be pushed to the extent that I would take out trash that invade my space.

 Related Links

Everyday Sexism: Catcalls and Street Harassment  

#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- [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

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- [Read more…]

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! [Read more…]

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…]

Losing weight is not an endorsement or indictment of another woman’s body: Stop the Fatphobia!

I posted some recent pictures of myself on my facebook wall with the following caption:IMG-20150202-WA0002

Dividends of working out at the gym.
I can have a sleepover at my mum’s and not bother to take extra clothing, just so i can walk away with some of her new clothes and of course jewellery. Now, she can’t say, “Yemisi, don’t take it, it is not your size!” lol!
Jacket- My sister’s (Now mine)
Red sweater underneath- My mum’s (Now mine)
Brand new Leggings- My mum’s (Now mine)
Hair – All mine, just nicely retouched for me by my mum.
Winning all round!

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Funny enough, a facebook friend who also identifies as an atheist came on the post thread and left a series of comments. These comments exposed an underlying hatred of plus size women, sexism and showed an endorsement of street harassment , cos well, according to him, women are supposed to provide visual orgasms for strangers on the streets, and you should be ashamed if you are not deemed sexy enough by strangers. BTW, he thinks only outsiders can decide if you are sexy or not.

Anyway, I decided to share these exchanges because, you never know just how many people especially those who claim to be rational thinkers, share these vile opinions. [Read more…]