Tag Archive | feminist

Stop taking relationship advice from men

 

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I wish women would stop taking relationship advice from ‘men’. And by this I mean men who are unqualified. These men are not Counsellors, Psychotherapists’ or Psychologists. They don’t know JACK about you or your partner.  But they are perambulating as relationship experts on social media and even on TV. Some of them are labeling themselves as lifestyle coaches with little qualification to show.  And worst still, a lot of these men have terrible track records of being awful partners to very many women. And you know what? Some women are doing it now too, they are on Facebook live, Instagram live! Talking about how you ought to ‘do’ your man!

Don’t get me wrong we can learn so much from other people, but in my opinion the tell-tale signs of a fraud is when you hear their advice predominantly directed at the woman; cook more, serve him, kneel when you serve him, have sex whenever he wants, pray for him, fast for him, he is your father. Have you ever wondered why these advisers direct their opinions 9and that’s all they are opinions) at women.  Why aren’t many more relationship advisers targeting men with these half baked advise. I’ll tell you why, because it is easier and lazier. Telling women what to do, and how to do it still fits into the traditional norms of many patriarchal society.

I am not a relationship expert either. I am just a married woman concerned about the wrong messaging and the abuse of women under the guise of marriage, and our own complicity as women and as a society in this abuse. All I am saying is that marriage should for the most part be enjoyed, being realistic and mature about its ups and downs too. And as a woman it is  not your sole responsibility to keep the marriage going, it’s a joint effort. You did not stand at the altar alone, you did not marry yourself, and before anyone makes reference to that  Yoruba proverb ‘Obinrin lo un di ile mu’  which translates to ‘it’s the woman’s responsibility to ‘hold’ her home.  We are not listening to that bullshit anymore. It has always and will always take two to make a relationship work and any advise that predominantly shifts the responsibility on the woman is wrong and dangerous.

I have observed that in the best relationships ‘power and responsibility’ doesn’t lie in one place, it shifts. Sometimes the husband is in the driving seat, and sometimes the wife is in the driving seat. I know that this idea of shifting ‘power and responsibility’ goes against the grain of how we as women have been raised especially in Nigeria.  But it’s what I have observed in my own personal interpretation of healthy relationships. In those relationships, the man is the head sometimes, and sometimes the woman is the head. No one sits on the throne forever! And no, healthy couples rarely sit down to carve out when the man will be the head, or when the woman would be the head, it’s probably more organic, falling naturally to where the couple’s strengths lie.  I am always adamant that in the healthiest of relationships a woman cannot always be in that submissive lane, nor can the man always lead. I warn you, if you stay in that submission lane for too long you will become redundant, a doormat.  And if you think you can constantly be the leader, you will morph into a tyrant, and in time lose your captor.

People often challenge me by saying their parents have been married for 50 years and did it the ‘traditional way’ – and some would list barmy things like (no lie I’ve heard all of these):

  • My father didn’t eat yesterday’s stew so whatever my mom was up to she had to cook fresh everyday
  • My father can’t eat pounded yam with lumps so my mum would have to remake it
  • My father didn’t let my mum work
  • My father had affairs but told my mother she was number 1

Often, children from these backgrounds appear to accept that their home traditions is the natural and right order. Never have I heard them question  the physical or emotional damage these imbalances might have had on their mother and even them. In fact they will argue that their mothers were happy, because she always looked happy or rarely voiced her discontent. But  how many mothers burden their children with their deepest unhappiness? And  one cannot judge happiness by the length of a marriage in a society where there is little support for those who leave their marriages, even under cruel and dire conditions; little support from the state, little support from the church, little support from the family). To point to length of marriage alone would be TOO simplistic. Being married for 50 years is not a goal. Being happy, feeling fulfilled and feeling accomplished whilst in the marriage ought to be the goal?.

 

More than ‘I do’ and a Womb

i-do

When I was a younger lady living with my now husband. My dear Aunty came round to give me some advice. She was not happy with my living arrangements. I had expected her to go down the morality of living in sin route, but she didn’t, instead, she asked if I was going to marry this guy. She said ” A man can always dust off his shirt and leave, but what would you do after?” This was the point where I stared at her, I didn’t want to argue because I liked her and still like her very much, but in my mind I was thinking ” I’ll move on too innit”

The problem wasn’t just her question which some may excuse as being ” out of love” but the loaded presumption and sexism in the question. That I, a female, would struggle to put my life in order if my partner decided to leave. You see, there lies the problem, particularly in the Nigerian culture, until we believe and teach our daughter’s that they too have  options and choices; the choice to move on, the option to opt out, until then, we are belittling their existence and even sending dangerous messages for them to settle for much less and not to live fully. We are asking them to stay in abusive  and unhappy homes.

Sadly, my Nigerian culture fetishises marriage more than even love or ironically a happy marriage. The pressure is on young ladies from the age of 25. And after marriage it’s children. and wow betide the woman that seeks to leave an unhappy marriage because she is UNHAPPY. I have heard the laughs. How can she be unhappy, he pays the bills, he takes care of the children .. what is there to be unhappy about.

And when a woman hasn’t had a child or children in a marriage, the misery some  will endure  from external busy bodies! A post for another day. Whether you are married or not, have children or not. You are doing the “sisterhood” a great disservice, a huge dishonour if you proclaim (for you can have your beliefs but keep them to yourself) that our purpose or worth in life is confined to two things; marriage and children – above all. My strong belief is that our uniqueness, value and worth isn’t tied to either marriage or having children. We are unique and valuable simply because we exist. Not because we are married, not because we have children. We must, must, must, drum this into our children both boys and girls.

Beyonce Wife, Mother, Whore?

I’ve seen a lot of hate directed at Beyoncé lately, and to be honest I wasn’t that interested, Beyoncé is pretty and rich enough to fight her own battles. But the venom directed at her after her Grammy performance has left me pondering over what really lies behind the criticism of a 32 year old grown woman choosing to dress how she wants, expressing her sexuality and fantasy.   I am convinced that some of the backlash gives  us an insight into society’s expectation of married women.  We still live in a culture that feels more comfortable in putting women in boxes; a culture that wants to shut its eyes to women’s sexuality especially as we get older, become wives, and mothers. Beyonce’s new song ‘drunk in love’ pisses on that notion. Why can’t Beyoncé talk about surfing on her man’s wood, pouring on it,  surfing on it” Sex is an intrinsic part of who we are and yes married women and mothers like to get down too. Beyoncé is a performer whose authenticity and connection with her fans relies on her keeping her lyrics real and relatable. We all danced and clapped to “Put a ring on it” because we all know assholes who missed out on putting a ring on it.  We all whooped to “to the left, to the left’ because women related to kicking some undeserving guys to the curb”. Her sexuality is as much a part of her as any of those lyrics. and I personally have no issue with her singing about it.

They say Beyoncé is a slut, a whore, a disgrace, and a bad role model for gyrating and dry humping on stage; too raunchy, too debauch.  Apparently this is completely inappropriate for children to see, honestly,  I’m tired of this argument, anyway my own children were in bed, and yes I would have let them watch Beyoncé and Jay Z’s PDA. I would have explained that this is a performance. And that Beyoncé’s attire or lingerie was stage outfit, no different to what Pink swung on ropes in, and more appropriate than Miley Cyrus’s flesh coloured knicker set – and even that I had no problem with.  But it’s not just the outfit bugging people is it? One viewer wrote on Facebook “Aren’t you a mother now!!? Thought you had more class, how trashy.  It is this wife and mother thing that is really winding some people up.

I hear you shout well what about the lyrics!? What about the lurid sexual content. Well my children wouldn’t have understood the lyrics, look, even at 14 when I sang the lyrics to ” I wanna sex you up” by Color Me Bad I didn’t quite appreciate the meaning. And if you are of Nigerian heritage I will refer you to some equally sexual lyrics by the maestro of Afro Juju,  king  Sunny Ade “what do you desire, what do you desire, sweet banana, sweet banana” and that’s one of the tamer ones! I sang these songs, loved the melodies,  but I promise you, at 7 or 8 I had no interest in analysing the lyrics, as we now assume all young people do. And if my children were teenagers why shouldn’t they listen to a woman describing how she gives and takes pleasure.

What about the reference to the domestic violence suffered by Tina Turner’  Jay Z  not only refers to himself as Ike Turner but alludes to one of the most harrowing scene in ‘What’s love got to do with it’ “ Now eat the cake Anna Mae’.  Now I struggled with this one.  It is uncomfortable, but only  when you take the lyrics literary. consider the lyrics in the context of  – a sexual tale of two consenting adults – and  you may see that it simply is a reference to Jay Z’s sexual prowess, the lyrics move from recounting sexual exploits to sharing their fantasies – the Anna Mae reference is possibly a glimpse into their sexual fantasies.  Now you may think this is all too much to put out,  and I get that,  but Beyoncé’s is an artist, her art form requires expression, and yes this may include sexual expression, more than anything else she  is a grown woman ……. Now you know how that  tune ends.