Debunking the African ideology that the woman's place is in the kitchen
If you live in Africa or in Nigeria particularly, you must have been familiar with this controversial topic that argues whether a man should enter the kitchen or not and whose duty it is to cook in the home.
I grew up in a society where people frown at a man entering the kitchen to cook when he has a wife or a woman in the house. Such man would be tagged a weakling while some would go to the extent of saying he is being controlled by his wife.
You would even see people advise him to gain control of his home and take charge all because he decides he wants to cook on some days.
This paints the picture that cooking is seen as an activity or chore left for the weak one and of course, since women are the weaker gender, it has to be solely their role right?
Cooking doesn't in any way make a man lesser of who he is. It is a simple chore that doesn't necessarily have to be tied to a particular gender.
I am a perfect example of an African and a Nigerian that was born and brought up in a Nigerian home. So, you can expect that I have seen it all and know exactly how the African culture and mentality works.
My mum was (still is) the perfect housewife, taking care of us and the home while my dad is the businessman hustling to make ends meet so the family can feed.
Now, I want to take this as an arrangement which is not a bad one. A family is an institution, just like an organisation. And in every organisation, there's got to be duties and roles assigned to people. There has to be a division of labour.
I want to believe that the orderliness that comes with assigning roles is what Africans are trying to achieve when they say women should stick with the kitchen but ain't we forgetting something?
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Ain't we forgetting that an organization even after assigning the roles still has to work as a team? You will have to cover each others asses on some days. Your duties might have to overlap some days. So it is with marriage.
For every marriage, it is meant to be a partnership between the man and the woman. The rule or roles here help keep things working well and improves workflow around the home but it doesn't have to be a rigid one.
We should know that things have changed now. Things have evolved and so does our mentality and outlook towards certain things evolve. Gone are the days when a woman's place is restricted to the kitchen.
Contrary to what President Buhari said about his wife's place being only in the kitchen and "the other room", so many African women have made notable marks in the world out there. The northern part of the country can be seen as the worst of all in regards to how women are upheld in the society.
You must have heard of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Folorunsho Alakija. There is Bongolo Joy Kewenedo, Ilhan Omar, Ndidi Nwuleni, Juliet Ehimuan, Magatte Wade and Lisa Kropman.
These are few (and still counting) notable African women that have made impacts beyond the 'kitchen and the other room'.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Folorunsho Alakija, two notable successful African women
Now, this is not a gender war. This is to say we can do better than thinking a man is a weakling if he enters the kitchen to cook when he's married. Cooking is just a house chore that can be done by anyone and doesn't have to be a big deal.
Both men and women should learn how to cook after all both genders eat.
In most homes nowadays, both the man and the woman work and make financial contributions to the home. Do you think it is fair enough to leave all the house chores for the woman all because of what? Her place is in the kitchen and house chores are her duties?
Okay, I see that as the man being insensitive and selfish. If she goes to work just like you do, she will also come back home tired just as you and it's only fair enough that you help out with some chores around the home.
Women do love it and appreciate when their men cook
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Now, I can already see some men relax and say, "Oh well, this is for men that their wives are working class. My wife is a housewife, and so I don't need to help with anything at home".
Please permit me to tell you that being a housewife is more than a full-time job. If you think it's that easy, maybe you should try switching positions with your wife just for a day let's see how well you handle the house works and taking care of the children.
This is particularly for our African men - it is not a taboo to cook even if you are married! As a matter of fact, most women see that singular act from their men as romantic.
What's more? Children too love having their daddy in the kitchen!
Fixing up meals for your family some days is a way of displaying love and care. Women find it attractive. It is, in fact, a stress reliever for the women. Don't get stuck up with that archaic African ideology.
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