Last week, in an unprecedented display of ignorance, Cheta Nwanze posted a string of thoroughly disturbing tweets about feminism among modern Nigerian women, prompted by his interaction with one such young woman who insisted to him that she would never cook for her husband.
13/ Are you insane?
— Chxta (@Chxta) July 22, 2015
In his tirade, he espoused that women who refuse to cook for the men in their lives should have their sanity questioned, as though female children are born with “cook” stamped on their foreheads, and their destinies pre-programmed to end in the kitchen.
The hypocrisy of his statements lie in the fact that in Nigeria at least, women perform majority of all domestic work in addition to any profession they may pursue outside the home, while men do little if any at all.
The expectation from men like Cheta that Nigerian women should add cooking to the interminable list of tasks they have to juggle, is the height of laziness, and belies a profound and unwarranted sense of entitlement.
Even more incredulous is Cheta’s assertion that there is no genuine need for feminism today as opposed to in the past. That one is male, and therefore not the target of everyday misogyny is no excuse for this level of willful ignorance of the plight of Nigerian women with whom he undoubtedly interacts with every day.
One need not look very far to encounter hideous examples of misogyny, patriarchal behaviour, and discrimination towards women in Nigeria.
I just listened on the radio where a pastor said ‘the dumbest man in the world is still higher than the smartest woman alive’. — Ajibo Ma(h)chine (@GinaFatale) July 28, 2015
Wrote a test in Bible school. I came 1st. Boy who came 2nd was announced winner. Pastor said twas cos I couldn’t be seen to be ahead of men — Arit Okpo (@menoword) July 22, 2015
Yet in spite of the unabated assault on the freedoms and rights of Nigerian women, Cheta declared feminism a hindrance to modern Nigerian women because it dawned on him that liberated women might have better things to do with their time than cater to the needs and wants of men like him.
This is precisely the sort of betrayal from self-proclaimed male allies that Nigerian women have come to expect.
Everytime a liberal/progressive/”down for the cause” man has an issue with “modern”feminism its about what we will no longer do for them.
— Shosh (@bxshola) July 22, 2015
Of course any movement that threatens your pot of Ogbono soup has lost the plot. We’re not surprised Cheta. https://t.co/lh9Yjtsfeu
— Sugabelly (@sugabelly) July 22, 2015
Cheta should know better. It’s a tragedy he doesn’t.
In the midst of these benighted attitudes to women’s rights, you would think Nigerian women would be fed up of all the maltreatment they endure on a daily basis from men to the point of retaliation, but the reality in Nigeria demonstrates how much of a vice grip years of patriarchal indoctrination has on women in this country.
For a nation of people that believe deeply in miracles, our society is mostly blind to the biggest ongoing miracle in Nigeria: that though women suffer all manner of violence, primarily from male relatives, husbands, male strangers, and male colleagues, ranging from acid baths, to beatings, to rape, to sexual abuse, to forceful disinheritance, to being denied education and physical freedom, the level of female on male violence each year is relatively low.
Were women in Nigeria to suddenly rise up, and begin to display equal levels of abuse, violence, and aggression as they receive towards men, they would not only be well justified, it would be long overdue.
This then begs the question: Why aren’t more Nigerian women murdering men? Considering that women in our country stoically endure an unrelenting onslaught of misogyny, gender-based violence, discrimination, and other undue ills purely for the crime of being born female, if modern history is anything to go by, so far, Nigerian women are a decidedly mild mannered lot.
The real miracle in Nigeria that nobody seems to be thankful for, is how and why women in our society haven’t collectively decided that enough is finally enough, and exacted bloody revenge.
Sugabelly is a Nigerian illustrator and blogger, she is the Features Editor at YNaija and also runs SugabellyRocks.com