[The Sexuality Blog] No one is immune to slut shaming, not even the Olori of Ife

The conclusion every woman eventually comes to, the one that changes them from a woman undecided about feminism to one fully invested in feminism, is the realisation that misogyny and patriarchy is not a ‘case-by-case’ affair, it is an insidious, pervasive institution that eventually affects ALL women, no matter how insulated by wealth or privilege they are.

Wealth and privilege are helpful but temporary salves to the fundamental problem of women across the world, the fact that they are not considered as ‘human’ or ‘equal’ to the men. One formerly  privileged woman and her three presently privileged ‘rivals’ are finding this out the very hard way.

In the last month, it has come to light that Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife’s brand new marriage has ended. His wife, the Olori of Ife has moved out and has already begun a new life. Before we continue, it is important to state at this point that Wuraola Ogunwusi, the Olori of Ife is an incredibly privileged woman as far as Nigerian standards are concerned. She is naturally light skinned and conventionally beautiful (two highly coveted traits), comes from an influential family and had a successful personal empire before she was wooed and married by the Ooni of Ife. She is the very standard of conventional, acceptable Nigerian beauty. Yet their marriage has ended, only a year after she was publicly paraded by the Ooni and granted incredible amounts of privilege.

We do not profess to know what conspired between them and led to the marriage premature dissolution, but we do know that since the news first broke, there has been a non-stop stream of slurs and slut shaming directed at the Olori for the very reasons she was praised a year ago. Her light skin, financial independence and conventional beauty have now been used as evidence that she is a ‘runs girl’ and a prostitute who is being kicked out of the palace for infidelity. The Oba’s sisters have also been introduced into the matter and their personal lives used as evidence to brand them as sluts and ‘undesirables’ seeking to destroy their brother’s marriage because they couldn’t keep theirs.

It is quite interesting that Oba Ogunwusi has not been apportioned any blame for the dissolution of his marriage, even though he was married and divorced twice before he ascended the throne and married Olori Wuraola. It is also interesting that the narrative frames both his wife and sisters as ‘Jezebels’ influencing or manipulating him, even though he is the most powerful man in the Yoruba kingdom worldwide.

It never ceases to amaze, the lengths we will go to infantilise men, and absolve them of any blame in their personal lives, but we are always quick to demonise women and use their sexualities against them. Nothing will protect you from slut shaming, no amount of wealth or privilege or education. You are only really one wronged man away from being turned away from your pride of place and ‘disgraced’ like the rest of the ‘jezebels’.

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