Let’s get a little emotional today shall we? Let’s talk about Patriarchy, the woman’s role in the household and how it affects generations yet unborn. I’ll pick my country and use as a case study.
In Nigeria, as much as we are trying to break out of the chains of Patriarchy and have succeeded a little bit, women are to be seen and not heard in the household. The role is already defined even from birth.. the girl child is told to clean, cook, wash and serve while the man is taught to work hard and earn to take care of the woman.
So it is ingrained deeply in the mind of the woman from an early age that she needs to depend on a man to feed, to clothe and to pay other bills. A Nigerian woman has to kneel to serve the husband on her wedding day, she has to be paid for. She is made to believe over and over that there is no equality anywhere, not in the workplace, not in the home, not anywhere. She is made to believe that men are far more superior and have greater rights. A woman in Nigeria has to walk on eggshells so as not to offend the man, when she offends the husband her stuff gets thrown out and not the other way round. It does not matter wether she is the sole financier of the household, it does not matter if she built the house, opened a business for him and bought him a car. At that point the words he would utter would be “leave my house, go back to your father’s house”
You see certain things happen in the West and it is like magic, they tickle each other, they play, they fight, they make love, they are equal and when there’s a fight, the man gets to do the moving out.
Small argument like this in the west and the woman would say “Sleep on the couch, move out” if the man is in the wrong. If the woman is in the wrong kpakpa it’s still the same thing ni o.. the man will just say “I’m moving out or I’m sleeping on the couch tonight”.
So the woman spreads her legs wide on the comfy bed while the man tries to fit into the couch and if he has long legs he kukuma goes to the ground where he belongs.
In Nigeria you tell a man to go sleep on the couch while you lie on the bed yakata, or you tell him to move out of the house he built with his own money. That night you’ll tell him wether you put money on his head or it was the other way round.
I can actually see the Christian mama of the woman’s church telling her ” Do you know by pushing him to the couch he will look for another woman’s bed to stretch his back in the afternoons before coming home? (Because bed is his problem na, he’ll leave work and hook up with another woman because bed.. hotel has finished) The spiritual mama will complete it with “Oya run to the office now and apologize, don’t you know you have no right over the bed?”
Sha that is if the man really agrees to sleep on the couch, which I doubt. Most very traditional Nigerian men have no sense of humour.. you cannot play with them anyhow o, their idea of romance is a well cooked meal served with palm wine on your knees.
That was how my uncle’s wife in the village walked up to the husband giggling, pushed her fat fleshy buttocks one side, farted in front of him and ran away laughing. Hours later the laughter turned to tears as her ‘load’ was thrown outside.. the man kept shouting ” You want to shrivel me! You want to render me useless, me a titled man!” It took another four days to have elders gather with his wife on her knees all through the reconciliation process. She had to buy a goat for cleansing and collect prayers of forgiveness from the husband and didn’t get up till she was asked to.
Women are made to believe their bodies belong to the husband, the church and the state. They do not own themselves, their men can sleep with as many women as they want and still expect to be welcomed home with open arms while if a woman steps out even once, she is termed promiscuous and seen as damaged goods. When we want to weigh a man’s character in Nigeria we say he has integrity, he is hardworking and compassionate..When we want to talk about a woman’s character we zero in on one topic, her sexual life and how she does not sleep around.
There is more to a woman than her vagina, there is more to us.