by Adewale Alabi
During the #EndSARS #EndSWAT protests, women of different ages were a visible force to reckon with. From bold and courageous leadership on the streets to strategic planning and accountability off the streets, the power of femininity was unquestioned and led many to confess their admiration for what women were doing.
The Feminist Coalition, in particular, got a lot of accolades for its work. Its logo in support of the movement eventually became the general symbol of hope for those who participated actively in the protests. It seemed all was well and the feminist coven had actually bewitched Nigerians. Alas, that was not the case.
Barely 24 hours after the Lekki Massacre happened, a tug of war took place on social media that ended up being a tussle between the sexes. The ruckus was caused after @ireaderinokun spoke on the logo she made for the Feminist Coalition, which had become a symbol for the #EndSARS movement.
On another note, it was honestly so heartwarming to see how this logo I designed in less than 30 minutes and under so much pressure became such a powerful symbol in the movement ?
+ it was hilarious that misogynists thought the female symbol in it was “hidden” pic.twitter.com/EHpGUEPyG2
— Ire Aderinokun (@ireaderinokun) October 23, 2020
This post is not about Ire’s tweet but to draw attention to the glaring case of misogyny amongst young Nigerian men who turned the post into a male vs female issue. Why have we not shed unhealthy beliefs taught by our parents? One of the things that were said by many youths during the protest period was ‘We were not like our parents. We would therefore do things differently’. Are we going to cherry-pick what we want to change or do we desire a complete overhaul? Nigerian youths need to understand that doing things differently is not just about electing a new leader. It is about overhauling an entire system which has been built over time on oppressive beliefs; to keep every citizen of the country broken and complacent.
Some of the tools used by the elites in maintaining a broken society often involve tribalism and religious sentiments. However, many have not come to realise that gender inequality and any form of misogyny is also affecting the nation. From the streets down to political offices, women face a lot of challenges that may stop them from reaching their full potential and ultimately hinder the society at large from benefiting from the knowledge they possess. The Feminist Coalition, for example, showed so much accountability and expertise in handling their affairs during the #EndSARS protests which made everyone see that a working system was possible in Nigeria.
Young Nigerians need to learn to let go of structures and norms that hinders the growth of a nation. Misogyny and gender inequality have no place in any modern society and they have to be purposely discarded if Nigeria is to move forward.