Thanks for reading the previous parts of this post. Here is the final part:
Another Disclaimer: My opinions are just that... My opinions. I am not anti-anybody. I say what I see.
So................ here is the final part of my post on some of Nigerian norms I question:
(5) Women should be seen not heard:
Despite all the 'progress' we have made, I still feel that women are not respected in Nigerian culture. Yes, we value our mothers and appreciate our sisters etc etc. But does the society actually respect women? I think - to a large extent - NO !
My opinion is largely shaped by how Nigerian women are generally treated when it comes to marriage. Here are instances relating to marriage that have shaped my view:
(a) Assumptions about Single Women: While we all claim to be more enlightened than previous generations, I feel single women are generally disrespected in some situations and women are generally more respected by Nigerian society if they are married.
For example, a single well dressed lady is generally treated with suspicion - and assumed to be a 'hooker' - if she is unaccompanied in a restaurant or hotel bar. I know some of you will say that they shouldn't be in such places in the first place OR that this doesnt happen nowadays BUT I recall how I was treated suspiciously when I stayed alone in an Abuja hotel. Also, a post on Linda's blog discussed this issue, so this must be common. You can read here............
(b) Propositioning Women Randomly: It does appear most Naija men see all women as fair game' - to be approached and 'chatted up' randomly. Unfortunately, it appears that the richer the man is, the more confident he feels the lady will accept his 'dog-like' approach.
When I was in Nigeria, I was lucky enough to co-own a business and I can say that whenever I started discussing business with a potential male investor or client ; 90% of the time, their first thought was how they could get me into bed. From what I see nowadays, nothing much has changed........
(c) Marriage Pressure: No need to expantiate abi? As soon as a young lady is getting to her late 20s, she is pressured to get married. Even the most 'enlightened' of parents is guilty of this..........They start with subtle hints and then it becomes a full blown chant.........till the poor girl starts seeing 'Marriage' in her sleep, her cornflakes, her plate of rice etc etc. LOL I actually know people who are scared to call home now because of this pressure :((((
(d) The In-laws: Once a woman does get married. She is expected to welcome her in-laws into her home with open arms.................Often with no questions asked, no consultation or consideration for what her own plans might be. It's almost as if as soon as she is married.......... she is expected to become dumb and mute.
I know someone who found it difficult to pass her professional exams because her house was constantly being 'invaded' by her husband's relatives visiting London.
Another lady who is dear to me had to put her foot down and insist on less visitors when she realised that her salary was going on constantly beefing up their monthly feeding budget - as hubby's people were constantly in their home.
Another more traditional friend was playing hostess to her husband's younger siblings in London while her hubby was busy in Nigeria gallivanting with hot babes. The worst thing was her in-laws even knew her hubby's 'main girlfriend' in Nigeria............... *hissssssssss*
(e) Marriage as the Dream-killer: I will say that more often than not, most Nigerian women put their dreams aside after they get marrried.
Why is it that so many Nigerian men state that they like 'ambitious, go-getters' as potential wives. However, after marriage, they are quick to complain that their new bride is 'too ambitious and driven'. The very things that attracted the man to the woman now appear so unappealing.
So if a girl is considering marriage, here are a few questions to consider:
'You want to get a Masters degree?'........
'You want to occupy a senior position in your organisation?'.................
'You want to open your own business?'................
Well, you better discuss this with your potential hubby so your dream doesnt die. However, discussion with hubby is no guarantee these dreams will not be pushed to one side because quite a lot of Nigerian men will encourage your plans - ONLY IF they don't interfere with (a) You producing children; (b) Your husband's own plans and (c) You ensuring the home is run properly.......
(f) The Forbidden 'D' word: The 'D' word I refer to is the 'Divorce' word. More often than not, Nigerian women are made to feel that whatever is wrong with the marriage can be fixed if they pray or obey their husbands. Yes......
- It doesnt matter if he is a womaniser...
- It doesnt matter if he doesnt support the woman.....
- It doesnt matter if he treats her badly..........................................NO, NO, NO....
To wear that honourable badge of 'Mrs X'.....most Nigerian women are often advised 'to pray and humble themselves'. Ha ha, I laugh in Spanish. This kind of advice is what gives a lot of Naija men the balls to misbehave and maltreat women. Humph
(g) The Last Straw:
I am always saddened when I hear instances where widows are maltreated following their husband's death.I still see instances where...
- The wife is often blamed if her hubby dies suddenly
- The wife is expected to take a back seat in the planning of her hubby's funeral
- The hubby's people seize his properties without considering the wife or his children
- The welfare of the wife and children is ignored as soon as their bread winner passes away
- Widows live with the 'stigma' of losing a husband (through no fault of their own)
This is so sad and I cannot even imagine what a widow goes through when she has to bury her husband, take care of children - while dealing with hostile, suspicious inlaws. *sigh*
I must say that despite these irksome customs, we have still seen strong women emerge .....like: Queen Idia, Mama Ransome Kuti, Madam Tinubu, Queen Amina of Zaria etc etc ...........This serves as evidence that Nigerian women can overcome all that is stacked against them. However, it takes a lot of resilience and stubborness. mmmmmm
So, my dear people, I don talk finish. If I talk true, make God bless me....If I talk lie, make I continue to chop better food. Amen (I have finished talking. If I have told the truth, may God bless me, If I have lied, may I continue to eat good food. Amen) LOL
Do tell me what you think about our Nigerian culture - and how it treats its women.
Also, do tell me which customs you DO NOT like or wish would fade away with time
Take care and God bless