Yesterday I woke up from a nap and visited Twitter where I saw a hash tag that awoke the beast in me. Well, that’s what I’m calling it. It could just be that I had a lot of say. It was a hash tag that discussed the uncomfortable truth of what it means to be female in Nigeria and all the indignation you will face, just for being female. While the hash tag says female IN Nigeria, you don’t actually have to be in Nigeria to experience this brand of sexism. Being a Nigerian female and dealing with fellow Nigerians is all you need to be.
By no means am I implying that this only happens in Nigeria or among Nigerians, and I don’t even think that Nigeria or Nigerians have it worse, but it is an issue, and it needs to be discussed. Tweeting about it isn’t going to change it, but maybe one person will become more aware of it – and hopefully change. I still don’t call myself a feminist, and it’s not because I have anything against feminism, but because I do not yet fully understand what it means to be one. My BFF in my head, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says that a feminists is anyone who believes in the economic, social, and political advancement of women. I’m paraphrasing here; hope I’m right. It’s something in that arena anyway. By that definition, I would definitely be a feminist.
Back to the hash tag, I was pleased with it, and very passionate about it. It’s issues like this one that I think about when I hear feminism or think about fighting for women. And that’s why it angers and irritates me when women fight for silliness such as the right to not shave their armpit hair and the right to bare nipples on Instagram. This is not what womanhood is about! If baring your nipples and showing armpit hair is what you wake up thinking about, then you need to be “dashed” new and real problems.
Just the other day in church, we were told about a little girl in Africa – Kenya, I think – who was chained to a tree in the wilderness in the hopes that she dies and gets eaten by wild animals. What was her offense, you wonder? Why, she was a girl, of course, and how dare she! Her parents did not want her because who wants a girl? Girls are useless and expensive. They had previously tried to starve her to death, but the nuisance, she refused to die. If not for the man of God, she would have become dinner for a wild beast. I cried my eyes out when they showed a picture of the little girl. She was severely malnourished and one foot was already in the grave, but thank God she made it. I cannot begin to count all the issues that plague women simply because they [we] are women, so yes, I am angry at women who fight for armpit hair.
Anyway, while on Twitter today and ranting about the many things it means to be a Nigerian female in Nigeria, most (if not all) of my tweets got retweeted, but this one below was the people’s favorite. It saddens me that this tweet is reality, not a joke.
But Madam, what did you do for your husband to beat you like this? Why did you provoke him? #BeingFemaleInNigeria
— Vera Ezimora (@verastic) June 30, 2015
In other news, I just might be a feminist. Is there a “How To Know You’re A Feminist” test I can take?
P.S. Of course, in the middle of all this, there were men tweeting and telling us what it actually means to be female in Nigeria. It’s nothing like what we were saying, they said. Because you know, they have been women before.