My Type of Feminism: Culture-Sensitive and Culture-Sensible Feminism
My view of feminism is based on the principle of equal rights. My own definition of feminism is simply the equality of sexes, literally, broadly and in the strictest sense, man and woman are equal. However given the patriarchal world we live in and life seemingly designed in a way that a woman completes the family puzzle in most cultures and holds the key to the most intimate need of man and is the agent God has created to bring life into existence, everything is all about the woman. In Africa, it’s a man’s world. Only a few have broken that societal bondage and evolved to liberal thinkers, freeing their minds and pysches and realised that subjugating a woman doesn’t give them any superiority and that a man isn’t even superior to a woman. But here men love to feed their ego. They hate gender equality; empowered by our culture which recognises the man as the head of the family as noted above. Nonetheless, there are aspects of our culture that I really love when it comes to feminism. Like collectivism, the family relationship thing where everyone looks out for one another. But then, we import many practises, ideologies and philosophies from the west and our people twist them into adulterated versions and there we have problems.
For example: many females expect their man to locate them for marriage. But Nigerian feminists twist everything and come up with distorted narratives, they even advocate for girls to be the one to approach the guy and marry the guy maybe because she’s has the financial capability. As crazy as that sounds in our culture, it happens outside our shores. Now, I’m not against such ideas but what I won’t subscribe to is Nigerian feminists now advancing their perspectives such as like, this is the “right thing” and “only way” to liberation of the female gender. We have to take into considerations individual preferences, societal, cultural and family factors. You see, if a woman believes that she should be under a man, abusing her mind to start challenging the husband/partner especially in the case where there are no issues is mischievous and cynical. Now, if a man is overly authoritative and etched in these antiquated cultural ideas, male superiority, chauvinism and misogyny. Then it becomes imperative for the woman to exercise her inalienable right to equality of sexes.
Beyonce was one of the female icons that brought feminism to the mainstream. Chimamanda Adichie brought it home to Nigeria and the two global icons teamed up in Beyonce’s song “Flawless” to advocate feminism. However, Chimamanda has come out to state that her own type of feminism differs from that of Beyonce because the later centers on male domination as the focal point of gender equality. She antagonises Queen Bey in the sense that women should not center the conversation on how their successes leads to and revolves around their man, but how much they can achieve these irrespective of a man. However, she’s not advocating isolation or “men are scum” ideas. First time I listened to “Flawless” and got to know about Adichie’s advocacy for feminism, I actually googled and found that she’s happily married. In our part of the world, feminism is dominated by single ladies often from broken marriages and older ladies that most often than not abuse the mind of young girls that don’t see anything wrong with the patriarchal society we find ourselves.
Our culture follows this sequence for females: go to school, graduate, get married and start a family (takes precedence) and or build a career later. In our society, marriage for females is often the grand goal often times but mostly imposed by their parents irrespective of their choices. However, that isn’t bad in its entirety. A young lady over the age of 25 in our conservative culture society — especially the educated ones — often gets these glances from family members and friends, like, “what are you waiting for”. Every guy that comes around her is mistaken as “the one”. Now this is the society we were born into, while it doesn’t measure up to the liberal and egalitarian mindset of the West, the brand of fiery feminism advocated by majority of Nigerian females is out to oppose completely this entrenched societal norm. That is where we have a problem. We see many females nowadays in their 30s and late 20s that have followed the popular culture now under pressure from family and friends to settle down. Given the harsh economic environment and sterotype by simple minded folks, they become objects of ridicule and are exploited, The story of a young man that fleeced some desperate ladies up to the tune of N11m on Facebook Nigeria goes ahead to buttress the obvious.
I believe that a man and woman, young or old, in a relationship as husband and wife or committed relationship are equal, absolute gender equality. None is superior to the other as human beings. But a man being naturally STRONGER than the woman, mostly emotionally, in a relationship or marriage should be responsible for both; because someone must take responsibility.
This article was inspired by a conversation with a friend.