Midwinter Nights
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Midwinter Nights

A Nigerian Woman Should Be Submissive Till the Very End of Her Days

Picture of a Nigerian woman. Image source: Instagram

A few days ago, my husband and I were talking about a former friend of ours. Years ago, this friend didn’t show up for his wife’s 30th birthday party because he didn’t approve of the spending.

On the day, it turned out there wasn’t even a proper party. Just a few friends at a karaoke bar. Some drinks and finger snacks. The husband didn’t come even though he was a few blocks away and friends called several times imploring him to at least come and say hello to us. He knew everyone in attendance because we were all friends.

A couple of weeks after the party, the woman lost her battle with her health challenges. She died, and according to another friend from “a culmination of health problems and an insensitive husband.”

I am guessing she insisted on having that drink with friends, not because she didn’t want to be a submissive Nigerian wife, but because she was a human being. A free person.

This woman wanted to celebrate with friends and loved ones because she had been so ill for a long time; she felt better a few days before her birthday and decided on a whim to celebrate it. But even though she was on her deathbed, the submission was still an issue. ‘ Why didn’t she just submit and do what her husband says?’ many of her female friends whispered later on. Her wishes mattered little compared to making her husband’s pride.

Her husband argued they had upcoming bills to pay, so there would never be a good time. She explained she wanted to host her friends and loved ones.

Her insistence got him upset. He expected a submissive wife to put her needs and wants on the back burner. To obey him without question. To see his plan for the family as the only one they needed. She, I am guessing, was fearing this was the end and wanted to see some of us. In Lagos, it’s difficult to get together with friends and have a drink often.

When I received the invite via WhatsApp, I said to myself, ‘I would not miss this for anything in the world.’ It turned out to be quite an inexpensive and fun-filled evening. We all dressed in 80s style. She was an 80s baby and wanted an 80s themed party.

To date, I still can’t forgive him for not showing up. For not reading the signs on the wall. For not being sensitive to know when your wife was making a dying wish.

But his ego, like most men in my country, only saw her as a disobedient woman who wanted to throw a party because she could afford one.

At the party, she kept casting glances at the door anytime someone comes through the door. I knew she was hoping he would change his mind and surprise her by showing up.

He didn’t show up that night.

He has an army of staunch supporters, mostly men, who maintain that “a submissive woman should have listened to her husband and cancelled the party”.

I am happy I got to see her in what turned out to be the last time most of us saw her in good spirits, smiling and laughing.

Submission

Someone once said, ‘I do not have the propensity to bear pain, neglect, or indifference. I do not want to cause you pain either, and am not a ‘submissive’ wife.’

That submissive wife exists in the fantasies of many. That person with self-esteem low enough to not recognize her worth or pursue any form of happiness. A non-threatening woman. She is a dying species.

A long-suffering, patient figure that is presented to gullible men by some women when they are in the dating phase, or competing for your love with another woman (your wife most likely) or broke and need to show submission to secure your continued benevolence as a man.

No woman was born already submissive. Look at your daughters and nieces do you see submission in them? Society thought us so. Perhaps she is submissive because she has no means of earning money. And she would starve without you. If that is what you, as a man, are looking for, be prepared to be lied to, deceived, and cheated on.

Submission is taking a more sinister form now especially with our increasing economic problems as a country.

In Nigeria, the wage gap between men and women is wide. The UNDP shows that Nigeria’s gender pay gap is one of the highest in the world and females are under-represented in the higher paid positions.

We became submissive because it became necessary to survive in Nigeria. After all, religion says so. Because no one has got your back, not even your family. It’s still a man’s world.

In a survivalist country, it would be foolish to fight with your master.

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