Moderation

As much as the sun is loved and adored,
nobody wants to see it at midnight.
Don’t overdo anything
because you have shone brighter
than they did,
or you can shine brighter
than they can;
allow someone else
whenever it’s their turn.

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What the Hell is “Womyn”?

WomynWhat is that? The truth is, feminism is so broad- there are a thousand kind of feminists- that two feminists may not necessarily fully agree on one thing. 

When you come up with this kind of mess that bluntly says “dissociation from men”, you’re not really addressing the equality aspect of the cause. You’re not saying “I want to be equal to you and have the same opportunities that you have, dear men, because I’m a separate being too”.

Instead, you’re saying “I don’t want to have anything to do with you”. Women and men are separate entities but neither of the two sexes can survive or keep the earth alive without the other; that’s besides the point. The word “woman” isn’t equivalent to “half-man”; that is basically what the cause originally sought to emphasize.

Whether you call women “womyn” or “mynwo” or “wurjdhdggd” isn’t the point. We want to be separate entities that co-exist with men in a society that respects everyone equally, irrespective of their sex. 

“Women” is one word. A “woman” is a “womb-man”. A separate entity; the other kind of man, not a subordinate. When you come up with this kind of sentimental mess, “womyn”, you’re messing everything up. You’re drifting far away from the cause. You’re not saying what you want.

Are “womyn” a better kind of women now or something?

I am Naked & Still Not Asking For It

Naked and Still

If you blame your lack of discipline on your gender, like “I’m a man. I couldn’t control myself”, you are dehumanizing yourself and reinforcing the sick “facts” that the society teaches, that in the sight of an unclad or nearly-unclad woman, it is okay to juggle between being a man and a lower animal because it definitely means she’s asking you to touch her or stick a part of you into her, whether or not she does so verbally. 

The interesting part, while we make a case for the clad and nearly-unclad, is that fully-clothed women get raped too. If you step out without a man at a certain hour of the night in certain parts of any country, with your burka, hijab, or an equivalent, you could still get molested. Girl-children and babies get molested too, raped by their own fathers in the most hideous of instances, so you wonder if it really has anything to do with the amount of clothing that a woman is expected to have on to be entitled to a certain level of respect and dignity as a human being.

A real man isn’t a man who can perform sexual acts when he is asked or permitted to. Any man can get an erection and do all kinds of things. An hour of pornography could get a man who doesn’t even what sex is “up and running”.

A real man is one who decides and disciplines himself not to do any of those things without express permission from the owner of the body or mind. It almost looks patronizing at this point, since a human is supposed to have a decent level of discipline. “I am only human”; you are only so, but being so should come with certain perks, like not being lower-animal-like. Stating so is a form of disrespect to our lower-animal counterparts themselves, since they traditionally engage in a series of acts before mating. Even these animals know how to woo their females or males and receive the equivalent of a “yes”.

The “express permission” should be the kind that could be, without reasonable doubt, held to be genuine before any sitting and before any group of people. A “yes” isn’t even a “yes” if the (wo)man is intoxicated. Even that “yes” cannot be defended to be genuine without reasonable doubt.

Women Versus Women

three-women-painting

“Women Who Look Ahead” by Monica Stewart

Women who put other women down in order to become more appealing to men are the poorest kind of women. They haven’t mastered the art of autonomy, and they believe very strongly that a major part of their purpose for living, if not the main one, and worse still, the only one, is to please men.

It’s not uncommon for women to demean other women. I have seen, with my very own naked eyes, a woman oppressing another woman in an extremely distasteful way. A woman has a blood stain on her skirt and the “men” are laughing, so you laugh too. Men are speaking very indecently about a woman and sharing her privates with one another, and you contribute your own quota. It’s sick.

I had a brief chat with a friend a while ago, and we touched on women who don’t understand what original feminism is, and so they pride themselves on not being feminists/supporters of women’s rights as a quality to be adored by men, as if it makes them more “wife material” and better.

I have seen these types of women on blogs too. Whenever there are reports that a woman was raped, they ask “what was she wearing” questions. They never focus on rape and how it is always entirely the fault of the rapist for their lack of discipline in the sight of breasts and thighs, whether or not they were displayed to the public eye.

Sorry to disappoint you, darling, but your desire to very readily please men and see things as they would in all cases doesn’t make you any more attractive than you are as a woman. Since your focus is on pleasing men at all costs, I’ll give you this tip: Actual men, in my experience, tend to prefer women who know what they want, who have a decent degree of autonomy/independence, and who will respectfully question the indecencies that they suffer in the patriarchal societies that we live in, in the quest for the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. They find it impressive, sometimes even sexy, when a woman has a mind of her own.

I said “actual men” earlier, men among males, to avoid confusion.

Class Injury

Black Girl

“Girl in the Window” | Prudence Heward

It’s almost hypocritical for me to write about the struggles of the working class- I try as much as possible not to say “lower” because of the negative connotations that are often associated with the word. I’m a citizen of two countries; I’m in the university, and I’m okay, health-wise. I am a little girl’s dream come true- me, I’m the little girl. I did not state that I “was” the little girl for a reason; our little, inner selves never just disappear, even when our bodies change.

My parents were in the lower-middle class, status-wise, when I was growing; they were both lecturers. In reality, although we had an “okay” house and at least one functioning car, and my brothers and I went to good schools, we were still members of the working class. I used to daydream a lot more than I do now- there were a good number of excursions and items that I wished I could afford. Don’t get me started on the inferiority complex that I suffered from too. I wore my mum’s hand-me-down’s majorly.

I did phone-call business for my mum (20 naira per min.) and sold recharge cards under an MTN umbrella with two chairs. I sold pure-water and “minerals” (pop)- I hawked for a day around my house and never did it again; I preferred to sit. Then we got a small kiosk and I began to sell more stuff till my dad completed his building of proper shops. Men would pull my growing breasts back then, when I wasn’t looking. It made me angry and resentful- I was like 11 or 12- but I learnt the art of sucking things up very quickly.
I used olo– grinding stone- to grind peppers, fetched water, used wood or coal to cook whenever we ran out of kerosene, and all. My life wasn’t the hardest. People who lived close to me were not very wealthy either- “a face-me-I-face-you” apartment building, one ile-alamo– clay house… it wasn’t the fanciest neighbourhood. Thinking back to how people used to stare at me in envy like I was some princess, we (my family and I) really were local champions.

The Janitor

“The Janitor Who Paints” by Palmer Haden

We don’t celebrate the working class enough, hence, the urgency that people place on being wealthy. You’re nobody in the society except you are rich or can pretend to be. It has gotten worse with the advent of the social media- there is this desperate, adoration-seeking urge that people have to display a level of wealth/influence.

Class injury sits with you in different ways: One way is that you feel uneasy in upper-class settings when you become a member of the middle-upper or upper class. You miss the joys, the struggles and the pain that came with being in the working class, and you feel like something is missing in your life, or you don’t deserve to be where you are, or you feel guilty/bad because some people are not enjoying life as much as you are.

Another way that it manifests is that you try to get away from the people you used to be like as much as people, even members of your own family- you don’t want to be reminded that you used to be poor. You don’t want to remember the struggles, the hurt, and the societal “shame” that you used to experience. I see people like that a lot on social media. “I’m not poor, and I don’t sit with the poor” type thing.

I’m still a member of the working class; I came into the country that I currently live in some winter ago, with a few clothes and some books, and there has been no drastic, overnight, lottery-winning change in my life.

Class shapes every aspect of our lives, and those of our descendants, and I find it quite interesting; our society and inequality are pari passu, and we’ve been taught that it’s okay. Even if you are not part of the 1%, don’t be at the bottom among the 99%.

In conclusion, the point of this whole epistle is- while you struggle and hope for better days, you should be proud of yourself and your class. You are not a failure if you are not rich, and you’re not inferior either. It’s easier said than done, but be grateful for what you have, and find joy in the little things.

Stand tall and proud wherever you go; don’t put yourself down for anyone, and don’t let anyone put you down. Acquire new skills, develop yourself, and be innovative, not necessarily because you thirst to be one of the 1%, but because you want to build yourself and contribute your quota to your society. A line from Badlands goes like this- “poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king is never satisfied…” 

Religion and Class

img23

We were talking about intersectionality in my class today, and we looked at social locations (like as race/ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, class, sexuality, geography, age, disability/ability, level of education, occupation, migration status and religion) and how they shape the way a person interacts with the world and the way the world interacts with that person.

The reason why many white people go “what the hell are you talking about?” when you tell them that they have white privilege is that they may be disadvantaged in many other ways at the same time. If an able-bodied, straight dark-skinned African woman with a PhD tells a white, differently-abled, lesbian who only has a high school diploma and is working in a factory that she has “privilege”, she might take offence, like “what privilege?” There’s a good chance that the white woman would not be followed around a store or racially profiled by the police, PhD or not. There’s also a good chance that the black woman would be able to attend certain meetings and functions at the University of Toronto that the white woman may never get invitation letters for. 

11-Faces-3-African-Art-Oil-on-Canvas_Udubrae-Art-Galleries_AfriMod

The fact remains that a person could be privileged and oppressed at the same time- privileged in some areas and disadvantaged in some- based on the several different social locations that they fall into. I didn’t choose to be black and you didn’t choose to be white. It would be very wrong to guilt trip you based on your race, and if I say that H&M is terrible when it comes to hiring, I’d expect you to understand where I’m coming from.

What stood out to me, however, was religion. My mind drifted off and I had to try to bring myself back to the setting because I focused on it intensely- religion.

If you do not practise Christianity or Islam in Nigeria, you could very well be looked down upon in different social settings, and that is a fact. If it is not Christianity or Islam, it is demonic, and it must be cast and bound. One could wear a hijab or wear a necklace with a cross pendant in most parts of Nigeria without any problem, but as soon as they come out with an opele ifa or wear their ide to main settings, there would be a problem.

With the “you and your generation will go to hell” threats and all sorts of harassment and fuckery, you almost have to hide in a way. I see it now, that religion is very related, not just to culture, but to class, hierarchies and discrimination.