The patriarchal system in Nigeria has eaten so deep that even some acclaimed Feminist and Womanist don’t know when they are being patriarchal. That is why they would be advising abused women to “be the bigger person for peace to reign” even when it makes the women sad more depressed and vulnerable. It is why the onus to keep a home is placed on the woman, and even some of these acclaimed feminists would be saying….
“Dear woman you must learn to dress well, cook your vagina, loose weight, raise 100 children yourself with just financial contributions from your husband, try to make your hair every weekend, prepare food he loves, know the time and place to talk about what pains you (they don’t care if the man does his nonsense in the public, you as the woman must not do the same) I can go on and on but we know these things already and we have these aunties on Facebook.
As a female in Nigeria, If you are not fighting off a patriarch brother who wants you to serve him (literally) you’d be fighting off a patriarch father who believes you don’t have a say in what happens to you or how much you are worth (When they sell you off under the guise of traditional marriage and culture yet expect you to fend for them in their old age because male children are not “natural caregivers”)
And if you are lucky to escape patriarchy at the home front, you will face it in the society; that boss who doesn’t believe your engineering degree is the same as that of your male colleague and when you offer to go on a field trip they’d tell you “it is a man’s job” thereby rendering that engineering degree dormant and relating you to desk work even if you know better.
Or that Husband who doesn’t believe you should challenge him even when he is wrong because the society has made it seem okay for men to cheat because “emotions are not usually involved” (lies from the pit of the patriarchal coven). Or it is that landlord who refuses to rent the house to you simply because you are a single woman and they assume you’d bring different men to the house, yet they rent to single guys who have orgies every weekend and who brings in different women who fight each other and break objects, they hail the guy as “player”
You’d face it in some churches for wanting to preach and for wanting to lead prayer when men are seated or wanting to air a grievance. You’d face it in the hospital where you can’t be sick without the doctor wanting to know about your sex life and where they’d run a pregnancy test even after you tell them you are not pregnant or sexually active.
That is why I almost got slapped by a cab driver years ago simply because I called him Boko Haram after he called me Ashawo because I refused to accept dirty 100 naira note as change when I could clearly see he had a better one.
Dear women, it is not easy being female in a country where there is very limited law to protect you, you will have to work extra hard to protect yourself and rise above the system. Therefore, whatever do you do, don’t sell yourself short.
Mabel Olow Sibi Agbenyo is a Nigerian woman