Feminism and ndi ifenemenisi (crazy Feminists)
The Oxford dictionary defines feminism as the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
Keyword being 'equality of the sexes' - the only state that will sate the world feminist movement's desires.
The context of this essay is about feminism in Nigeria and Africa at large. I wish to find answers to what the feminists in Nigeria or Africa wish to achieve. I will hope you keep an open mind while you read.
I also wish to talk about the extreme sides of feminism and how it may affect the societal norms.
I will also discuss what the feminists should channel their energy to.
The phrase 'ndi ifenemenisi' is coined from the Igbo language; it means crazy people and coincidentally sounds like the word 'feminism' when pronounced clearly.
In modern times, the phrase 'ndi ifenemenisi' is used in the context of crazy feminists.
Feminists and the Fight for Equality
I believe in equality of right and equal opportunity. Thinking critically, you will see that even equal opportunity has never resulted in an equal outcome.
For example, 3 girls who grew up in the same home, went to the same school, felt the same fatherly and motherly love would never turn out to be the same (outcome).
The illustration's essence is to pinpoint that everyone has a unique role in society.
The above point is what some feminists have failed to acknowledge. Mainstream feminism is all about making sure that a woman can also do whatever a man can do.
Yes, history has been unfair to women generally, but I believe things have improved.
For instance, women in the USA could not cast their vote until August 18, 1920.
Before 1920 women have always been subjected to intimidation, disrespect and non-recognition and even worse. Still, times have changed, and today there are laws meant to protect women from discrimination in families and workplaces.
For example, no law affects women negatively in Europe and the Western world today, so the question is, what are they fighting for?
The mainstream Feminists are fighting what I will choose to call a 'ghost'. They believe that society is still more of patriarchy and wish to change this.
I chose the term ghost because they could not define a problem that stands against women, proffer solutions to this problem, and then seek ways of tackling this problem.
If the feminists' movement could do this, the government could try to make laws that will affect these changes.
The point is that you can't cry wolf whenever a man makes a misogynistic statement, and you expect society to turn around and censor this man because he made a statement.
To solve the problem in such a scenario, you will have to empower the government to censor free speech; the government will now have to decide what individuals can say and what they cannot say.
So I ask the feminist movement in Nigeria. Do you wish to give the Nigerian or African government such power?
The legal right of women to vote was established nationally in 1920.
Women who face Inequality
Many women currently are facing real-life problems and inequalities in their sphere of life.
Women living in the Northern part of Nigeria ranks high in this list. Women practising Islam in Muslim majority countries also rank high in this tally.
Not minding this, the feminists' movement will choose to fight bogus societal issues instead of finding ways to help women who actually have no right whatsoever.
The above invariably means that women have no right of movement and thus needs a man's permission to do such.
These are real problems that women face today, but some crazy feminists or 'ndi ifenemenisi' will focus on societal errs with no solution.
Not long ago in Nigeria, a Muslim actress from the Northern part of the country uploaded some photos online, and people were quick to bash and criticize her.
Why? Apparently, her cloth did not cover her body properly.
The Nigerian police even probed her. The actress later deleted the photos online.
This is just one case of Injustice faced by one woman who knows what other women are going through daily.
How about the Purdah practice (a practice that requires women to live in seclusion and cover their entire body) in Islam?
Feminists should fight for Islam to be a secular religion that isn't instituted into the country's law - which abolishes Sharia laws.
Feminists should fight for women to observe Islam's tenets based on free-will and not based on fear of punishment by law.
The above are real issues faced by women today, but the feminists have chosen to look the other way to avoid being labelled Islamophobic.
Today some Muslim households in Europe live under the male head's strict supervision, and not many say anything about this women inequality.
Many Muslim women from around the globe face different types of inequality today.
Extreme Views of Feminism
I stated earlier that we all have roles to play in the society, the centre of the world was able to hold because structure, obligation and duties exist.
The father is seen as a protector because his physical makeup permits him to be one.
The mother is seen as a supporter because biologically she poses certain hormones that make this role easier.
This does not mean that these roles aren't interchangeable; it only means that once the primary person is not there to take charge of their roles, things do not always turn out to be normal.
A report has stipulated that fatherless children have more difficulties with social adjustment, are more likely to report problems with friendships, and manifest behaviour problems.
The report also revealed that many develop a swaggering, intimidating persona to disguise their underlying fears, resentments, anxieties and unhappiness.
It has also been reported that most Truancy cases, like school dropouts and crime, have been linked to the absence of a father.
Another study also found out that an absent mother can create distant, angry and sad children; Little by little, and with their souls on fire, they learn that they have to go it alone in the world.
The above reports are studies based on facts. We may not recognize such in Nigeria or Africa because poverty overrides most of the intrinsic issues.
Still, it doesn't negate that men and women have unique roles to play in families and society in general. Things will also work better if they support each other in these roles.
The point of the above is that everyone has a role to play and that when this role is disorganized, society becomes engulfed in chaos.
The basic unit of every community is the family. These units make up a country, and everything an individual learns starts from the family.
Some crazy feminists will tell you that the man is not the head of the family, yet they don't believe that women should contribute financially to the family expenditures.
In the area of sex; some women prefer to engage in BDSM.
BDSM is a term used to describe certain aspects of sex that can be split into these major groups: bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism.
Yet some Crazy feminists maintain that women shouldn't engage in such sexual act because it degrades their sexuality as a woman.
They also believe it stands against Feminism.
The above shows you how crazy some of the ideas espoused by feminists are, Feminism is about women expressing their right and choices freely. Yet, some elements within the feminists' movements stand against BDSM.
Some women within the feminists' movements stand against BDSM.
Men and the Concept of Unconcious Bias
Some feminists have expressed their frustration with gender unconscious bias.
They gave a scenario where a building is on fire with a man and a woman trapped within; some feminists allege that a male helper will always choose to rescue the female victim first before helping the male victim.
Apparently, some feminists disagree with that because the male helper chooses to help the women based on being a 'weaker sex'.
Now is this an argument worth debating?
This is a clear-cut case of fighting a ghost because no problem was identified, even if the problem is men's unconscious view on the other gender, how do you propose we solve the issue of unconscious bias?
The problem with unconscious bias Is you don't even know you have the bias because it is an unconscious entity; in essence, it is a ghost of a ghost.
Concerning Igbo culture, some women believe that they should be allowed to attend kinsmen meetings.
Chimamanda during an interview with EBuka-Obi Uchendu decried her dissatisfaction with the Igbo tradition that allows only men to attend kinsmen meetings.
Chimamanda wishes she could sit with her kinsmen during 'umunna (kinsmen)' meetings.
Others want to perform the rites performed by the men during ritual rites. I can go on and on.
Women also point to some archaic tradition where a woman was forced to drink the water used to wash her dead husband's body to prove her innocence.
I ask women that were forced to do this is, is there any law that forces you to partake in that practice?
What will happen if you say NO? Do you think all women will do the same thing if they were in your shoes?
Then to you reading this, will you allow yourself to go through such a barbaric act?
The above is a case of traditions not backed by legitimate laws of the land.
In Igbo culture, men are the only gender permitted to inherit properties from their Dad. Yet, not long ago, the Nigerian Supreme Court granted a woman the right to inherit his Dad's estate.
The lady was able to take the case to court and won even when the Igbo tradition stood against her right. The court made the decision based on the Constitution.
The Constitution stipulates that nobody should be discriminated based on gender or sex.
What feminists wish to change is the public opinion. Personally, I feel such thinking endangers our freedom of expression and speech.
The feminist movement will have more impact if they could focus on real issues that erode women's rights.
You can't fight a ghost. You will only disrupt society by stating problems that have no known solution. Feminists can also achieve their goal by focusing on the education of the Girl child.
Education recreates our thinking and sheds light on grey areas; Education will help women understand that they do not need to follow some archaic traditions designed to impinge on their right.
It is through education that a woman will know that the constitution of the country protects her rights.
Some women do not know when their right is abridged, and that is why they remain in darkness. If the feminist movement will educate the girl child, then 70% per cent of the problem faced by women is solved.
Women sometimes stifle the fight for gender equality because many women do not know their right, so they choose to view feminism as the enemy.
Educate the girl child, Identify real problems faced by women (not ghosts), and eliminate 'ndi ifenemenisi' (crazy feminists).
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