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?

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Nigeria’s Only Problem

Old-Oshodi-in-lagos-painting-by-ayeola-ayodeji-awizzy-600x600

“Old Oshodi in Lagos” (600×600)  by Ayeola Ayodeji 

What is Nigeria’s Problem?

When you invite a Nigerian to describe what the country’s problem is, get ready to die of boredom, because they’ll go on for too long, in an attempt to describe things that aren’t close to being problems. “Bad roads, bad classrooms, corrupt governments and greedy officials, bad power supply, bad this and bad that, ba—” It’s okay, my brother. Let’s breathe.

Most of us Nigerians don’t even know what Nigeria’s problem is, and that itself is a problem.

Bad roads, bad classrooms, corrupt governments and officials, bad power supply, and whatnot, are not problems. There are bad roads in Northern Canada, and poorly-built houses and classrooms in Flint, Michigan, and bad power supply in Cameroon, and corrupt governments and officials in Russia, Israel and North Korea. Well, they are everywhere, even in the United States- the “most democratic” of them all. The secret handshake deals that take place between and among public and private interests would take more than a fortnight to analyze.

Procession-Tunde-Famous

“Procession” (20 x 16 x 2 inches) by Tunde Afolayan Famous

Bad facilities and all that are mere consequences of Nigeria’s only problem, or second problem, the first being the one aforementioned- Nigeria doesn’t know what its problem is, and that’s a problem.

Nigeria’s only problem is that we Nigerians have a wrong sense of entitlement, and we can be quite aggressive and close-minded, even to change and development. It is not that we sometimes do not set our priorities right, or something else that you probably anticipated, if you did.

By a “wrong sense of entitlement”, what do I mean?

From the mechanic that is willing to beat you up or yell “ashewooooo!” [prostitute!] at you if you refuse to give him your number, to the policemen and soldiers who expect you to treat them like demigods when your paths cross, and offer your sacrifices in naira notes when applicable, to the local and state government officials who find it okay to steal from the people (after all they’re in charge) instead of getting things done with the resources available, to the pastor who deems huge offerings his right, regardless of the means of survival of the donors, because he is God’s mouthpiece, to Alhaji, who doesn’t really care if his car is packed in your driveway or the sound from his speakers is giving you a migraine- you must be Beelzebub’s girlfriend for not liking noise pollution- to Mummy ‘Dekola who deems your business her business and will die of high blood pressure if you don’t kneel before her properly, to our street men and roadside NURTW tax collectors who do not mind breaking windows and removing doors if they do not get a chance to extort drivers, even when the union dues have already been paid, to the drivers who think it’s okay not to pay their union dues, to Yahoo boys and men who think its okay, and even necessary, to make someone else wallow in depression, for their own survival and well-being- the interesting thing is, the rich almost never fall into their traps; it’s people like their own mothers or other members of the working class who do, to everything and anything else you can think of.

Whew! Yes, it really is that stressful- all of it.

Fulani-ladies-painting-by-ayeola-ayodeji-awizzy

“Fulani Ladies” by Ayeola Ayodeji 

Inadequate infrastructure and corruption and whatnot all stem from the root- the devil itself- having a wrong sense of entitlement. The bloody Nigerian Assembly is a mess for the same reason. Climbing fences. Throwing chairs. A mess.

The interesting this is, a wrong sense of entitlement might develop in someone because someone else has it: “You think it’s your right to block my driveway with your car, and I will show you that I have a right to break your glass.” What does it all result in? A mess.

Unfortunately, a wrong sense of entitlement and the “me first” approach to things is not just a Nigerian problem. It’s the problem of the world. However, in places where it is less dominant in the culture of the society, there have been lots of infrastructural, economic and social success. They are the “better” societies.

Let everyone, that would include me, and you, stop thinking they own or deserve to own the things, or the extra things, that they haven’t worked for and/or simply don’t deserve, and watch the nation, and the world, heal and grow.

It’s okay if my wife doesn’t want to cook today. As the “head of the house”, if the title matters so much to my ego and self-esteem, I should be able to fix something for myself and my family. I am not automatically superior to anyone because I belong to a certain ethnic group. When I use words like “aboki” and “mola” [mallam] or “omo nna” in derogatory ways, I must know that I am wrong. It’s okay if I don’t win someone’s soul to Christ or to Allah; why am I so obsessed with winning it, like a trophy? It’s okay if I don’t get your number; you don’t need to be insulted or disgraced for it. The money in the public purse is not mine, and I don’t deserve more than what my allocated salaries and benefits are.

A reorientation is needed, and I am fully aware that a reorientation is easier said that done, but we can try, at least. We can start from the elementary schools. There should be subjects/courses like Ethics, for instance. I don’t know how algebra has contributed to my existence, in the way that I interact with the world. The schools barely prepare us for the real world; I’ll discuss this some other time.

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These are some of the things that should be considered:

The spirit of volunteerism has to be encouraged among Nigerians, and in the world, to begin with. Also, I don’t know what has happened us-  sympathy and mutual respect melt in online communities and spaces. The wrong sense of entitlement gets worse when you give people Internet privileges.

1. Throw your thrash away properly. It’s not your street, you only live there.

2. Driving is a privilege, not a right. A little patience could save your own life.

3. I don’t deserve every woman and everything because I have a penis. My masculinity is not an egg; it shouldn’t be so fragile.

I’ll leave 4 and 5 and 200 to you to come up with.

Let me know what you think. 

I’m Not Your Little Negro Girl

He wants to be my knight.
I have noticed his random displays of might.
He gazes at me seductively whenever I’m in sight,
but all I can predict is a sorry plight.
How can you be the one that I’d keep warm at night
if you don’t think everyone should be treated right?

The Representation of the Working Class in the Media

Peasant with a Wheelbarrow by Jean Francois Millet

“Peasant with a Wheelbarrow” by Jean Francois Millet

Nollywood movies, to begin with, are now increasingly becoming movies for the rich. Look at the “normal”, sophisticated settings that are used for the produced plays- beautiful sofas, expensive paintings, large compounds, one or more workers, expensive clothes, suggestions/mentions of easy access to foreign countries… I don’t need to keep counting. The actors, who often are members of the working class in essence themselves, tend to promote the upper-class as ideal.

The realities of working-class families are barely ever represented, and when they are, they are presented as comedies- situations to be laughed at or mocked- lots of children, dirty wives and numerous exchange of words. Gatemen or security guards, in Yoruba Nollywood movies, to be specific, are represented as extremely retarded. Even when they suffer gross levels of workplace abuses, the audience is tempted to even insult them more, and laugh- “ha ha ha”.

When these realities don’t appear as a comedy, they are presented as pitiful- a character is presented as either suffering so terribly, experiencing an illness or the death of a loved one, or as being very close to death, and suddenly, by the end of the movie, they would “magically” [usually by some sort of unrealistic luck] become members of the upper class.

"Bouquet' by an unknown artist

Being a member of the working/lower class is seen as extremely pathetic; something to be avoided at all cost. No honest, hard-working member of the working class is ever presented as truly happy. They never enjoy the joys of being with family; they never go to parties as normal people or possess dignity in their labour. They are only made to serve the rich in many plays; their own achievements- no matter how “little” or “basic” they might be to the members of the upper class- are never shown/celebrated, until, of course, they become members of the upper class.

Even when the working-class members of the audience can relate to the produced stories, they often find it really hard to relate to the rich settings and everything else that they are presented with.
No one is taking the bus except they are about to be kidnapped; no one is in the market buying foodstuff; no one is wearing simple clothes… It does terrible things to the subconscious in the long run- feelings of worthlessness, to begin with.

The general media is becoming more race-conscious and class-blind (in the aforementioned way), and it’s sick. It’s quite sick. 

 

The Society’s Guide to Being a Man, 101.

The only way to be a man
is to not be human.
Don’t cry;
be sad, but don’t say why.
Don’t feel;
hurting someone is the best way to heal.
Don’t express yourself when you do feel,
and if you must,
do it with clenched fists.

The only way to be seen as strong
is to insist that you’re never wrong,
and if a woman isn’t under
your absolute control,
you can’t be a man on your own-
you can’t possibly be whole.