Hello lovelies, hope you had a good week. I had a productive one and i am so happy the weekend is here. what are your plans? Anything exciting happening? Share with me if you wish.
Okay, Let’s get to business!
The book ‘Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions’ undoubtedly came at the most relevant and strategic time when equality of genders is an active global movement with millions of organizations, countries and people charting the course to end the long practice of injustice and inequality against women. Women for as long as life and time have been considered as subordinate and inferior to men.
In this book, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave out simple and yet remarkable pointers and suggestions to her dear friend on how to raise her daughter to as a feminist: one who understands that she too as a woman deserves to be treated as an equal human to her male counterparts and actively lives as such; welcoming behaviors to that end and strongly refusing any treatment to the contrary. For the purpose of achieving this seemingly herculean task considering the gross saturation of strong patriarchal mentalities and customs in our present society, Chimamanda introduces two tools which she calls ‘Feminist Tools’.
Having thought deeply about these tools which were simply just given, I have decided to acquaint you with the thoughts that flooded my mind as I read that particular part of this special little book.
TOOL 1: I MATTER EQUALLY. NOT ‘AS LONG AS’, NOT ‘IF ONLY’ BUT EQUALLY:
One beautiful morning, I had an altercation with my caretaker where he threatened to beat me up and went on to completely embarrass me. He was shouting at the top of his voice, insisting that I will not go outside the gate after I was dressed and ready to start my day.
I must say that I was shaken by how one person can be so uncouth and then by the possibility of him actually following through with his threats (I couldn’t possibly fight this raging barbarian, he would enjoy using me to showcase his lack of home training.) I am a gentle person and I detest forms of violence no matter how seemingly benign or minute. I couldn’t join him in his incoherent rants so I kept quiet and tried to figure out how to SAFELY put him in his place since he obviously cannot be reasoned with.
My female neighbors came out, hanging on their rails, speculating and joining in the drama from the safety of their balconies . Some male neighbors came downstairs to talk sense into him, angrily raising their voices to drown his (apparently the raising voices and shouting like savages is a thing). Needless to say, he cowered at the many angry men and kept mute. In the end, I carried on about my day and didn’t have to do anything.
Several hours later when everything else had died down, I engaged in a conversation about the incident with my colleague who lives in the same compound like me. She said, “How can he address you in that manner? What if you were someone’s wife?”
What if I was someone’s wife? Oh, poor me, I have not said the almighty ‘I DO’ to the super gender so it is perhaps unreasonable for me to expect to be treated with respect and considered a person with rights just like everyone else. It can’t be imagined and might be ridiculous that I, as tiny statured as nature made me would be able to fight my battles myself (and I wouldn’t even have to fight any battles if people just respected each other.) The suggestion that if I had been married, the situation may not have occurred and he would have had something else coming for him from the man who would have fought for me was completely humiliating. I hated that she suggested that the absence of a husband meant that I was somehow unprivileged and handicapped. My husband was supposed to be my glory, for his sake, I deserved to be respected.
I understand that those words came from a genuine place of concern and she was trying to show her support the best way she knows but that was not how I interpreted it.
How awfully wrong is everything about this thought pattern?
I matter equally. Married, unmarried, separated, divorced; I matter equally.
Well, how about the shocking and mind-blowing and totally unfathomable reason; I am a human being!
You and I matter equally by virtue of our existence as humans and are entitled to every right and privilege that attaches to humans. You and I deserve to be treated as such with the full rights and respects that are due humans. This should not be subject to any situation or occurrence whatsoever, they are inalienable and should not be rendered as unimportant because some of us have vaginas between our legs.
You deserve to be talked to, not talked at. You deserve to be objectively considered for that job or promotion.
Just like every other human with a penis between their legs, I and every other woman with our vagina, matter, equally.
This must stay in our subconscious as we interact with people and go about our lives. Women should expect to be given just as much attention and respect and it is not okay when anyone refuses to do so because of our gender.
TOOL 2: CAN YOU REVERSE X AND GET THE SAME RESULTS?
Here, we are given an example with the reaction to a cheating spouse when the genders are reversed. A man will likely kick out a cheating wife while a woman would likely stay back.
What is a feminist reaction to certain situations?
Chimamanda explains that contrary to having a stiff and rigid notion to certain events, it is important to understand context. If the roles were reversed, would the same result be obtainable? If I were a man, would I have kept calm and let the caretaker display his foolishness in my presence? If I were a man, would he behave the same? Reactions and events would likely take on a completely opposite outcome if the constants were reversed; however, this is not always the case, so it is important to pay attention.
I however wondered how exactly we can know if the outcome will be the same or be different if Gender is reversed. Is there a formula? I mean, humans are entirely very different and dynamic. How do we know what is possibly obtainable with different people especially since we may not always be dealing with a situation where the person in question is someone we know enough to rightly guess what they would do if the tables were turned.
Is there a pattern?
Is there a general knowledge out there that we should get acquainted with?
How exactly do we tell how the feminist should react seeing that we can never be too sure what the male party would do if the tables were turned.
Again, if X when reversed would forgive or not forgive when cheated on, how can we get to the root of what formed their reactions and decisions? Would it always be about the gender? Isn’t it possible that it is about hurt, betrayal and complete destruction of trust or on the other hand forgiveness, love and willingness to work through it? Could it possibly have little or nothing to do with gender of any of the parties? Could unforgiveness or forgiveness be because of several other factors and not because he is a man or she is a woman?
Of course there are other situations where context and several other factors do not come into play such as situations where a stranger feels the need to get down from a keke (Keke is a word for tricycles in Nigeria used for commercial transportation derived from the Yoruba word for Bicycle) so that a female passenger who is about to board it will sit in the middle and he on the edge close to the entrance (Please, if you understand this practice, enlighten me.)
Once upon a time, i and my humble self was about to board a keke. The second man sitting inside made to come down, I told him there was no need for that and insisted he sits in the middle. The man change am for me sharp sharp. He started raining insults. I remember he called me a ashawo and ogbanje and so many other ‘not very nice’ things. Ah! I was hurt! There was absolutely no way I was entering the keke after that unnecessary drama. I shaa asked the driver to go while I stopped and entered another keke. I don’t like wahala.
I insisted because if the situation was reversed, the outcome would most definitely not have been the same, he would have stayed put.
This is just a little from the pages where she talked about Feminist Tools. There is so much in that little special book and I recommend it to everyone. It is suitable for any age and gender. You can order it from my book plug here or via Instagram and Twitter from username: thebookdealerng.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post. Have you read the book? Share your thoughts in the comments. What do you think about my post? I’ll love to hear from you. Also follow me on my social media handles below.
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