For My Unborn Daughter -A Peom

For My Unborn Daughter -A Peom

​Your mother found her voice at 28.

Just incase you’re wondering, this poem is to my daughter – at 12 …
Sorry, I changed that to 5, because these kids are much smarter these days.
Your mother found her voice when the world had stopped talking
It was late.
She had swallowed the world too many times, all those times; the only sound that came out of her mouth was the swallowing.
She swallowed everything through a listening pipe, filled her belle with seasons and wars, and war cries and goings and cumming and everything else that made the world go round.
There were days – silence was the only sound you’d hear no matter how loud you tried.

And so, your mother mastered the art of swallowing her screams.
Conceiving everything – even the things that have no place inside a mother.
Your mother was once a world – a world, pregnant with its past… a past so present she could feel her future kick –
In pain, she swallowed her scream…
There were still days when nothing seemed to be coming out of anywhere – no matter the force you try.
The only time something tried to break out, was the world forcing it’s way out of your mothers mouth,
Not knowing whether to come out as a scream or a whisper or even … a song…
That was the day your mother – for the first time, tasted the lisp in her mouth,
Everything she could have said but didn’t say, all those years stood wobbling with buckled knees on her tongue,
Her lisp had grown with age – she could even taste how sour it was.
The salt in her saliva couldn’t save the world in your mothers’ mouth from decaying.
Every night, she dreamt of the oceans, of the dead fishes still floating, because she was taught that salt is the only reason dead things float  in deep sea. 

Your mother sinks in her dreams, unable to scream out and beg the salts to leave the oceans for a second to wrap her up in a heap and wait for her to climb back up before the salt return to where they belong. 

Your mother never came back from that dream. 

Daughter, wherever you find yourself, if you’re ever wondering if you should be somewhere else, don’t be confused with the words on the map except where it says “you are here.” 

Patience Tiencepay Lawal. 

The Bro Code

The Bro Code

In the age-old fashion of aprokoism, we at 9jafeminista make it our job to offer unsolicited advice and help to our brothers and sisters on the internet. And as we have done a two-part article ’12 yards of wife material for Christmas’ (you can find them here – Part I and Part II) we thought it unfair not to provide a list for the Nigerian man seeking to become manlier than he already is.

We Nigerians understand how these things work, a man is a man, a woman is a woman. We know that human beings are NOT beautifully crafted, complex creatures, with varying emotions and needs. Men behave like men, women behave like women, c’est fini!

Boys play football, girls cook!

As soon as a girl is born, even when she’s a suckling child, all she thinks about is marriage. Boys on the other hand don’t like getting married so girls have to do EVERYTHING in their power not only to ‘catch’ a boy, she also has to do EVERYTHING in her power to stay married to that boy, even at the cost of her sanity or her life.

Although we have a lot of evidence that proves the above assumptions false, we still stick to our beliefs because hey, it’s our TRADITION. And as we all know, traditions are not concerned about facts, they are only interested in umm… traditions (that actually makes nil sense, but it is what it is).

Anyway, so there we were on the World Wide Web, doing our usual poke-nosing, and like superman, flying around, looking for some poor victim to rescue from trouble. And then we stumbled on THE LIST! A rather long tending to boring list, admittedly, but it’s the list all the same. That elusive bro-code, the one presented to men so they’ll be able to earn their ‘manhood’, and in the process lose their humanity. We are not claiming this list is the cause of the high rate of domestic violence, assaults and rapes committed against men and is silenced, neither are we saying that the result of this list is the high rate of domestic violence, assaults and rapes committed against women. Because then we’ll be saying that this list only makes us all victims, and we’ll never, ever, say something like that!

What we’ve done is pick out the best and most important points on the list, so we won’t bore you to death(as we nearly were) or give you conniption because of outrage.

  1. Bros don’t use umbrellas: we picked this point first because it is the most relevant and important part of the bro code, because seriously, why would a man who’s a real man use an UMBRELLA? We hope you understand being a man means you’re a machine… Robocop kinda thing. Is it raining and you need to go out urgently please, please, in order to please your next door neighbor, and all the people who don’t have enough trouble in their lives but to watch you, do not use an umbrella. Please let the rain beat you well-well, let it soak your nice clothes and socks. In fact catching pneumonia from walking in the rain is a proof of manliness. On the other hand, with this sun that behaves as if it’s about to melt the flesh off your bones, using an umbrella is a no-no. Let the sun beat you, let it give you a headache, because using an umbrella would lead to the immediate vaporization of your penis, and then what will you become? God forbid bad tin!
  2. A bro does not bitch! – are you depressed? Are you constantly thinking about the fact that you don’t have a job, and you’re still staying with your retired parents, whose benefits have not been paid in months? Are you sick? Broke? Suicidal? Please do NOT tell anyone this, don’t unburden your soul to anybody. Is your wife beating you up? Please don’t complain, just be making jokes and pretending you’re alright because… you’re a bro! Bros don’t bitch! Bros don’t cry! They suffer in silence in order to look good to people who have nothing to offer in the way of support.
  3. Bros before hoes(a hoe is any woman that’s not your wife or member of your family)- this here is an amazing sontin! Gentlemen, it’s official, your female boss is a hoe, all your female lecturers are hoes, your female friends are hoes. Your best friend’s mom is a hoe, so is his grandmother and great-grandmother. The reason why we love this point is that it makes perfect sense! Is your female boss asking you to finish a project but at the same time your ‘bro’ is asking you to send an urgent text message to him? Please look at your boss in the eye and say (preferably in Ebonics) ‘Bros before hoes.’ Flash her the peace sign and watch your promotion in leaps and bounds.
  4. Bros do not make eye contact when in the urinal/if a bro strikes another bro on the crotch, both bros do not acknowledge it/bros do not do full body hugs – these points are the foundation of homophobia, but hey… as we have repeatedly said, this list is the ish. The three points above points at how men are NOT attracted to other men, only men are attracted to other men and they are afraid of being attracted to other men because men are only attracted to other men… oh wait, think we’re getting our wires crossed here…

Watch out for part 2!

Feminism 101 – The Basics 

Feminism 101 – The Basics 

Feminism, women and sometimes men have expressed it through their art, policy-making, and scientific theories. In and of itself, feminism is both personal and public(?), but the basic tenet of women’s rights remains unchanged. So whilst one may not call oneself a feminist, one’s choice(s) may be. As has been said many times before, the feminists that came before us enable us to make the choices that we do.

Feminism has recently become a hot-button topic, thanks to the likes of Chimamanda Adichie, Beyonce and many more. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around as to what feminism is or isn’t.  This article aims to provide a brief overview of Feminism, not an in-depth analysis.

With all that out of the way, let’s start:

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, feminism is:

1:  the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

2:  organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests

The modern-day feminist movement, started in the West during the 1800s, said movement can be divided into three eras. They are the first, second and third wave;

First Wave: This era covers the 1800’s to the mid-1900s, voting and property rights were the main concern of this first wave.

Second Wave: From the mid-1960s to the 1980s -some sources put the end at the early 1990s- a new era of emerged in the feminist movement. A main concern was reproductive rights.

Third Wave: The most recent era started in the late 1980s/early 1990s, intersectionality is an important concern of this era.

During the aforementioned eras, different forms of feminism emerged; some of them are:

Womanism

Third world feminism/Post-colonial feminism

Islamic feminism

Christian feminism

Socialist feminism

Sex-positive feminism

The following are arguably the most relevant to the Nigerian condition:

Womanism: This form of feminism addresses the lack of representation of African-American women in the mainstream American feminist movement.

Post-colonial feminism: Deals with the feminist movement in the “Third-world” i.e. formerly colonized countries, as most feminist discourse is filtered through a Western lens.

All of the above fall under the umbrella of feminism; sometimes they’re in step with one another, at other’s they at cross-purposes. This is to remind one that there’s no one way to be a feminist and we all don’t have to agree on the method(s) to reach our common goal of women’s rights.

At the end of the day, feminism can be personal but it is necessary, get in where you fit in.

-Emike

stop judging our bodies! – Okwei Odili 

stop judging our bodies! – Okwei Odili 

​When Malcolm X told a thick crowd of African Americans that the most abused person in America is the black woman, he didn’t say it under the influence of ogogoro or overfeeding.

He said it because among our people are men like Trick daddy, African American men who hate African American women. Because these men hate themselves. Because these men cannot fight for their mothers and sisters.

According to failed and now fat rapper, Trick daddy, African American women are ‘hoes’ that need to sit up before the Latina and white ‘hoes’ take all their men. 

SAD.

Let us bring it back to Nigeria where many women are bleaching.

I shared an article talking about the pressures on women in Nigeria to emulate fake/un-African beauty standards and it was a Nigerian man here who said, Are the women being forced by men to bleach? Well I’d like to tell you about someone I dated as a young woman, who actually bought me the cream to ‘tone’. I dumped him.

I will also like to refer you to mainstream Nigerian music videos by popular Nigerian males filled with non African women, who look different than us. Each one fairer than the next. Diversity is the spice of life, to me. So I appreciate everybody. But to belittle one over another, especially the queens, I can’t take.

Not everybody has the psychological strength to refuse what is subtly or not subtly drummed into their ears. So yes, because men and women rely on each other, they have the capacity to influence one another. So yes, the bleaching continues.

Africa is the seat of the diamonds and gold, cocoa and rubber, oil and super humans, yet we assist those who hate us, to hate us. How dare we assist them, to un-glamourise us, we who are queens and kings, colorful, even when we are sleeping.

SAD.

Time to stop this. Leave African women alone. Stop asking us about our hair, stop judging our bodies. Our hair, breasts, nose, hips, vagina and all are OURS. We don’t tell you what to do with your body.

And STOP that fucking picture where all we do is carry water or firewood on our heads in 2016. 

Stop comparing us to anybody because we are too damn magical for all your collective idiocies and divisional tactics.

– OKWEI-UGO ODILI.

Bisi’s Wedding Diaries

Bisi’s Wedding Diaries

5 October at 07:50 

As today marks exactly 30 days to my wedding, I will be doing 30 things to be grateful for. Today, I am grateful for #airport. I never thought in my life I would spend so much time at airports, neither did I know that the world will be my oyster. Coming from #Mushin, we were made to know that people like us can only dream. I am happy that like the dream of getting married, airport has given my dream of world domination wings to fly. #gaymarriage#30daysofthankfulness

6 October at 11:57 

Day 2 of 30 days to my wedding of 30 things to be grateful of. On the 6th October 2004, I sat on that sofa with Funmi Iyanda and I came out. She gave me the opportunity in no patronizing nor condescending way to tell my story. On that day I learnt the power of truth and authenticity. I learnt that life is what you make of it. I was a 29years old boy, just graduating from university with a prominent role in ‘Roses and Thorns’ a soap series on Galaxy Television. I lost everything after coming, but I gained today. Life was preparing for a journey beyond my expectations. In 29 days, I will say I do to a man I have come to find solace in his arms. #gaymarriage#30daysofthankfulness #newdawnwithfunmiiyanda #comingout#lgbtcomingout #authenticity #ido

7 October at 08:42 ·

Day 3 of 30 days of thankfulness of 30 days to my wedding. In 2014, around about this time, a friend sent me an email to a link to a fellowship program. I have applied for a couple before then and I have always been rejected. So when he sent me the form, I looked over it and ignored it. It will be another rejection. Two weeks later, my agent called me and said she saw a fellowship that she thinks will be great for me, it was the same fellowship. I told her I am not interested. She pushed me and I told her they will not pick me as I am not good enough. The following week, I was at Funmi Iyanda’s and she told me about the same fellowship and she was like ‘I am also a fellow of similar program with same organisation, I can nominate you’. She made me see why I should at least try.
So I went home and spent the night filling the form. I sent it to my agent who read it and made some corrections and add more information. She was angry that my low self esteem has made me leave out very important information. We sent the form and waited. A big part of me was waiting but the doubting part of me just kept telling me, get in with life. Few months later, I was in Berlin with my agent when the email came. I couldn’t open it. I thought it was rejection, but she did and screamed for job. I have been shortlisted. I was not happy, i felt it was just prolonging my rejection. Few weeks later, I did a Skype interview with the team in DC and few weeks later I received another email. I have been selected.
I became a fellow of @aspeninstitute and #aspennewvoices. It was a journey that changed my life. I started having platforms I never thought of in my life. I started having access to people that will look at me and instantly believe in me and want to help me make that dream come true. Through the fellowship, I was trained by @mothstories and then I did #tedxberlin and I have travelled around the world. I have written a lot of articles and became friends with @caitlynjenner and many more.

It feels so surreal when I think about it. It is this reason that today, on my 3rd day of thanksfulness, I want to thank the team at Aspen New Voices and my fellow fellows for believing in me.

10 October at 10:34 ·  

Day 6 of 30 days to my wedding of 30 things to be grateful for. Today I want to be thankful for my childhood. Many times we concentrate on the now and forgetting the journey it took to get to now. The laughter, the joy, the pains and the tears. My childhood was not perfect and I am happy it was not, but it was a journey I am proud of. I carry my joy and pains on the sleeves but most importantly, my childhood taught me what matters in the world. The essence of compassion, love and empathy. I learnt that sitting on the fence was not a neutral act. That silence is not golden. That boy can not and should not always be boys at the expense of girls. That I can play with dolls, pink dolls, pain my face and catwalk. Yes, sometimes I get beaten for it, but the hard headed boy I was, my passion and not the rejection was my childhood driver. As a loner, growing up in my head and in my world, I hardly make excuse for my action. I was thought to say sorry when wrong and never to say it unless I am sure I am wrong. I spent my childhood being a child and maybe that’s why, as a adult, I am still a child. Get angry like a child, smile like a child, think like a child, eat like one, sleep like one, and perform like one. I am Peter Pan but with the vision of an adult. Dear Ademola, Ojo, Kazeem, Iyanda Alimi, thanks for making the adult that is Adebisi Ademola Alimi. Next month I will marry my husband with the spirit of a child, will laugh with that spirit, enjoy the moment that my childhood has spent 41years preparing for my adulthood. In the presence of my friends, families and loved one, with shine on my face like a proud child, I will look into the eyes of my lover and say; I DO! #equalmarriage #samesexwedding#gaymarriage #ido #childhood #growingup

11 October at 11:55 · 

Day 7 of 30 to my wedding of 30 things to be grateful for. I want to celebrate everyone of you that has refused to turn a blind eye to bullying. Be it sexism, homophobia, racism, fatism, shortism and any other horrible isms out there that makes other look in the mirror and hate themselves. You bravely has given many people the courage to see another. You might not know this, but it is true. Every time to put a bully in their place and hug their victim, you have touched a life with love and compassion. Making life worthy is not in the amount of money you invest in it, but the amount of love. On social media a lot of people think it is their responsibility to invade other people’s space, call them names and tell them out to live their lives. I have been a victim of that. Many times I really would love to log off and delete my profile but gosh! You guys will not only stand up to these insecure people who wants to use other as a source of self confidence, but many of you will send messages and ring me. Today is to you. Thank you.
That is why I am begging you, that come the 20th of this month, join me and @glaad and other millions of people in the world as we say NO! to bullies. Turn your page purple in honour of people who lost their lives because of insecurities of others. You never know, you might just be saving the life of someone, destined to make the world a better place. Once again, to you all! Thank you #spiritday #spiritday2016 #ido #samesexwedding #gaymarriage#equalmarriage

Of presidential gaffes, royal paedophiles and the GEO bill

Of presidential gaffes, royal paedophiles and the GEO bill

Earlier this year the Gender Equality Bill suffered a great setback, not when it was summarily dismissed from the floor of the house at second reading, but when it was reintroduced to the floor after an outcry on social media.

It was reintroduced, you think, so why is 9jafeminista and most, if not all, feminists in Nigeria are calling that a setback?

The truth is that the bill that was reintroduced to the floor of the Senate is a shell of its real self. Every single section, every single word, that would give the Nigerian woman her rights to be human was expunged from the document. Leaving it as a  collection of words no better or stronger than ‘Ministry of Women’s Affairs’ established during the military dictatorship of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.

A distraction, a mere paper that will end up, at best, on the concurrent list.  Alongside other ‘unimportant and frivolous acts’ like the Child Rights Act, yet to be adopted by a ridiculous number of Nigerian States and the Violence Against Person’s Act which is presently only operative in Abuja and Lagos.

About five or six months ago we featured an article written by one of our contributors MaryAnne Kooda, during which she talked about a young girl of 14 Ese Oruru who was kidnapped from her home and forcibly married off to a man from the northern part of the country.  Rumor has it that the girl, who was pregnant during that period has put to bed.

The matter was taken to court, but we’re yet to hear anything about the outcome of a case that appears to be going the way of other similar cases.

A bigger case emerged yesterday. The Emir of Katsina kidnapped and forcibly married a young girl of 14 off to his aide.

A few days ago,  the Nigerian Presidents wife,  Aishatu Buhari, granted an interview to BBC Hausa, where she raised concerns about how her husband is running the country. She stated that she will no longer campaign for her husband.

The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,  President Muhammadu Buhari, who is presently in Germany on some national business said in response to questions concerning his wife’s interview – “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.”

The message that we’re living in a misogynistic country is pounded in on a daily basis by religious leaders, the senate and sundry stray people who feel threatened particularly by growing demands that women’s contributions to the economic growth of Nigeria should be acknowledged and women should be given their rightful status as enshrined in Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended)  and now Nigeria’s number one citizen has put his stamp of approval on the way women are treated with condescension and brutality in Nigeria.

How could any country planning to progress and play catch up with the rest of the world in all spheres continue to treat half of its population with impunity and believe they will continue getting away with it.

And how long will we, as women continue to take this treatment? How long will we keep mute, for how long will we keep starving ourselves so as to be acceptable? When are we taking our power back?

When will enough truly be enough?