Neo-feminism in Nigeria is taking a rather strange dimension. Young girls and ladies seem to be using this old form of political and social struggle to communicate their innermost feelings in ways that feel irrational to a lot of men.
While the country struggles in a time of recession, and much of the citizenry getting the short end of the stick, we sought to find out what exactly is the argument for the womenfolk who have taken on this weird approach to having their voices heard.
Early African feminism away from general Western feminism, strived for the African woman’s right to actively engage in society, be empowered socially and economically and to defend herself against the strong patriarchal system of the times, all within the conduits of her strong African cultural heritage.
As Naomi Nkealah puts it “African feminism strives to create a new, liberal, productive and self-reliant African woman within the heterogeneous cultures of Africa”
African feminist struggles highlighted the need for the African woman to be alive to her God-given strength and abilities.
It argued that the modern African woman is equally smart, strong and capable of doing just as much as men if given the same opportunities, and would not continue to remain repressed under a system that dictates what she should and should not be, how she should act or conduct herself in society.
These early struggles sought to create new opportunities for a new generation of African women.
The Nigerian feminist charter adhered to the same manifesto and was the high point of African feminism. Some notable pre-and-post colonial Nigerian feminists included Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti (1900 – 1978), Lady Kofoworola Aina Ademola (1913 – 2002), Charlotte Olajumoke Obasa, Oyinkan Abayomi to name a few.
Upon close examination from a few interactions made with close friends and associates, young women appear to be taking a more offensive approach when it comes to issues of the heart – relationships, sex and dating.
These once sacred institutions are coming under fire and the womenfolk seem to be wielding at any and everything in sight and leaving the men at their mercy.
We got talking with a Behavioral Psychologist at the Lagos State University Teaching hospital (LUTH), Mr Eugene Ituah, who was of the opinion that the idea of feminism in the modern age has been subjugated by women who have become overly sensitive and feel disenfranchised by men.
He cited that despite gender-gap and a being in a patriarchal society, women are still used as a weapon of choice for women who fly the feminist flag, he insisted that society presently is by far less patriarchal than it was some 40 to 60 years ago.
So what is the issue, we inquired? In his words, “popular culture and TV has a lot to play in women’ grievance towards men….
“For a long time, entertainment and media have misrepresented sex and relationships in a poor light…..
“We have become too exposed to western culture through the media such as film and music that celebrate promiscuity, one-night stands and having multiple sex-partners.
“Even music today portrays women in a bad light………So it is hardly ever the issue that women are not given equal opportunities but a moral decline in society”
Mayor who works at one of the leading telecommunications companies in Lagos and a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University was on the arm with a very immaculate illustration.
“When I was in school, things were a lot easier than they are now. I was in school between 2006 and 2010, and women weren’t this way back in the day.”
Mayor begins. “I remember then, you were either just having sex with a girl, casually dating her, or you were in a serious relationship with her that you hoped could lead to marriage.”
Kelechi who works in the same company and is close friends with Mayor also had some interesting jabs to throw at the issue as well.
“Me too, I don’t really understand what is going on with chics these days, I mean, things started going wrong when you needed to spend wads of cash before you could get down with a girl. Toasting no dey work again…..
“I know how much I spent during my IT in 2013, just for knacks o, some of them sef will eat your money and not want to do anything.”
Kelechi added, “at least before, if a girl liked you, she just liked you, and you guys had sex based on that natural attraction, sometimes you guys dated.
“But what you see these days is a coup against the street code…….shrouded in conspiracy, blackmail and dictatorship by ladies.
“Women now have constant emotional and monetary demands, or they are always trying the con their way out of a strictly sex-zone into a dating zone, or trying to get out of the dating/relationship zone and coarse themselves into getting married…….it’s just maddening.”
– Sex in Exchange For Shawarma –
As the topic goes, our journey took us to the University of Lagos campus, where we did more findings from a couple of students we interviewed.
“It’s guys’ fault” says one of two friends we accosted. Amarachi, a 300 level student of Sociology.
“All they want is sex. Once they take you out, they next thing they want to get in your pants, it’s crazy!
“That was how one chatted me up some time ago, and asked me to hang out with him, just because he bought me shawarma, he tried tricking me to come to his house, then I told him I couldn’t and I had to read for a test.
“He chatted me later in the evening saying why would I go out with him and then refuse to have sex.
“I kindly asked him to send his account number so I could forward back his money, which he didn’t do anyways.
“I mean its really offensive what guys do, how can you just meet a lady, and the next thing, you want to sleep with her?!”
– All Men Are Dogs –
Cynthia her friend chipped in by adding that “all men are dogs…”
“….yeaah, guys are dogs by nature, they are also cheats and liars, and cannot stay with one girl, it’s not just in their nature.”
As we continued our fact-finding across the campus, we met Funmi, a final year student of Mass communication, a charming young lady in her early twenties.
We asked her what she thought about girls being too demanding. “yes, why won’t we be? Are guys not too demanding of sex too, so they should not point accusing fingers, because they are equally guilty.
“We all know what they want, so why won’t we give it to the highest bidder?”
– Girls Wahala Too Much –
We tried to switch the conversation a little bit by asking the guys. We ran into Tayo, a 400 level Mechanical Engineering student, who went completely bonker with his response. “Ah girls! Their wahala is too much!
“Buy this, buy that…….the annoying thing, even when you are dating, it is even worse, because you even spend more than if it were just a simple hook-up, so what is the point.”
When asked what he thought was the reason for it, “well, it’s yahoo money that spoilt them, sometimes I don’t blame girls.
“It is our fellow guys that spoilt girls with yahoo money, so every guy has become a potential maga.
“My guys that have girlfriends will always complain about how their girlfriends will call them almost six to ten times a day.
“So, asides money, you still spend time and emotional energy. That’s why I decided to stay single o,” Tayo added.
– Everyone Trying to Game Eachother –
We concluded our findings with a sounding response from a friend of Tayo’s, who walked up to us while we were corresponding.
Teslim is also a 400 level student of the same department. “Oga, there is hunger in the land and no one is happy, everyone is trying to game everyone.
“It is not even a gender thing, guys will naturally always want to hook up with as many girls as he can, whether or not he has a girlfriend, and the same thing with girls, they will go for the next guy that has some status and money whether or not she has a boyfriend, simple!. ”
Teslim added by saying “Go on socials these days, what you here is ‘men are scum,’ ‘men are this and that.’
“Everyone is disloyal, so why do girls always try to hold us ransome to it, and lay blame on us. ……..
“Girls these days are just paranoid and attention-seeking narcissistic parasites, I’m sorry to say, but it’s always all about them them them!, they have no interest in you”
– Who Is To Blame? –
As we left the University of Lagos campus, Lanre News correspondence pondered on the issue on our way back to our station, it was clear from all gathered that trust and bond have been broken and from all indication, it appears that lady folk are feeling increasingly insecure and demarginalized.
They are lashing out by any means even if they hardly meet any form of sound rationality.
This is because they know no other means by which to do it.
Is there a way around this problem? It’s hard to say if there could be one clear way out of it since a lot of foundations of mutual understanding have been toppled.
One thing is clear though, pointing fingers might not be the best approach because we lack the scope to lay blame on any party for the problem.
For the most part, people (male and female alike) need to start addressing the issue from a personal perspective, in and of itself.
The solution starts with the individual, for what is truer and sincere in all of us is what is most demanding at these times.
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