Adaobi Okwy: Why I used to want to be a boy (Y! Superblogger)

It is a tough world for today’s woman even though I have learned to love and appreciate my own womanhood but, it hasn’t saved all the abused and victimized woman all over the world.

Yes, I said that and my shocked girlfriends screamed: A ‘feminist’ like you would dare say that?! How? Why?

Well, to be fair- I did say that but, the operative word is ‘today’s world’.

I grew up wanting to be a boy, not right away though. It all started when my brother told me he didn’t like to play with girls because ‘they gossiped and talked a lot”. Forgive a growing girl – my brother at that time, was my hero and I immediately began to feel and believe that, there was something terribly wrong with girls… about me. It didn’t help that he and his friends wouldn’t play with me because of the same reasons.

To be honest with you, if there was a sex change option at that time, I would have taken it. Well, there wasn’t and to make up for all that, I began to pay more attention to what made the difference – from the trivial to the crazy: girls have to sit with both legs close, they have to stay with mum in the kitchen, they can’t be forgiven if they hangout with boys or even show any sign of promiscuity… girls are all prepped for marriage all their lives – shielded and ‘protected’. This was all part of growing up… but, don’t even begin to assume that they stopped there.

As a grown-up, today, I hear a lot of stuffs like: how can you talk to me like that? (Just because the talker is a woman). I hear a lot of, what does a woman need money for? What’s a woman doing with her money… Her guy would take care of her… I hear a lot of shut up, you can’t do this or do that, you’re a woman. It doesn’t just stop there. It’s even evidenced by her pay. No matter how big or how small an organization is, no matter how good a woman is, she takes home the smaller pay, whenever there’s that gender discrimination (which is often). Ever heard of pregnant women have a hard time getting jobs or of that pregnant women get laid-off from their work places? Yeah, me too.

Can I scare you a bit? Just think of the rate of ritual victims (let’s not go too far) in Nigeria. So many breasts and vaginas are missing but not an equal number of dicks.

So, why wouldn’t I even consider fighting on for womanhood rather than just hoping for more males?

Maybe it doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with the fact that guys are just all over the place gloating over women’s desperation to ‘tie down’ a man because of that unseen but very loud tingling biological clock. Maybe it has everything to do with the fact that, no matter how sad it is for me to acknowledge this up until now, the truth remains that, women would have to fight to their deaths every day to be relevant in today’s world and perhaps, tomorrow’s.

It is a tough world for today’s woman even though I have learned to love and appreciate my own womanhood, that hasn’t saved all the abused and victimized woman all over the world. (Imagine the unending infanticide in India).

I am a tough woman taking it in strides in today’s world, I just don’t wish my struggles on my daughter or any daughter for that matter.


Adaobi Okwy blogs at and tweets from @adaobiokwy.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (4)

  1. I share your perception. I happen to be a feminist too and once upon a time wished i was a boy. My desire to belong to the male clang was born from injustice handed down to the female gender. It's almost as if it were a crime to be a woman or being a woman makes you less of a human. Oooo sometimes how i wish I could kick ass when i go to the market and an uncircumcised(pardon my language)vagabond would dare reach out and call to me 'baby won't you buy from here' and I'm like If i were a guy you wouldn't dare look me in the eyes not to talk of touching me. It's an insensitive world we live in and everyday and second is a fight to be heard and see as a person deserving respect and recognition.

  2. Sad truth…

    1. yep. Rili sad.

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