Editorial: 12 Yards of Wife Material for Christmas (II)

Editorial: 12 Yards of Wife Material for Christmas (II)
  1. Must not be too bookish: …by the time you’re done with schooling, you’re in your early twenties! Already some men consider you overage, the ideal age for marriage, in Nigeria, is between ten and twelve … but … these days some Nigerian men have become more patient, they’d still manage you in your early twenties. The trouble starts when you decide you want a postgraduate degree! Do you know what that certificate is called? It is called a Master’s Degree! You want to marry and you go and be getting something called a MASTERS do you want to be struggling that masculine title with your husband? Well, some sisters now push things further and go for a doctorate! Let’s reason this thing together, first you get a BACHELORS (mannish), then you get a MASTERS (more mannish) then you get a DOCTORATE (most mannish). My sister, your wife material has just disintegrated! The men out there with a list in their pockets, looking for wife would have no problem with all these titles if there was a way of distinguishing all these bookish things and making them more feminine, for example if the Bachelor Degree was called a SPINSTER Degree, the Masters a MISTRESS and the Doctorate a NURSERATE … our advice? Never ever disclose your age to anybody, even if you have to go to Oluwole to get a fake birth certificate and secondly, do not be ambitious, even if you have all these degrees you have to pretend you have never crossed the gates of a school before, do not think … do not breathe! Just be A WIFE MATERIAL… Dass all!
  2. Must be great in bed: Being great in bed is an art that must be mastered by all women who are keen to be wife materials (don’t worry a masters in bedmatics is alright). You have to be great in bed without being slutty or sexy (we’ve already defined being slutty in the first installment as enjoying sex). So you have to master all those porn star moves without enjoying them. All your moves are to be learnt in order to please the lord and master. The gymnastics are not for you, you must somehow learn all these things without having to practice (remember the ‘body count’ wahala), you need to get it by divine inspiration, because wife materials neither watch, nor read porn. You have to be great in bed without being great in bed so that your husband will not suspect you of cheating on him.
  3. Must be Forgiving: Have you ever seen a poem written in honour of a woman who did not forgive her man before? No,
    Original Art by Kehinde Awofeso
    Original Art by Kehinde Awofeso

    seriously, how many songs have you listened to sung by a man in honour of a woman who kicked out his drunken, cheating, wife-beating ass? How many times have you seen a man, all dressed up in his best suit, taking his ex out for dinner to thank her for ending her relationship with him? When you’re out and about, exchanging gossips with your friends, how many times have you heard somebody praise a woman who said ‘rather than give myself heartache/regular black eyes/ drag home a perpetual drunk, I’d stick with being alone’. You’ll note that most poets write for their mothers who ‘suffered’ to raise them, the operative word here is suffer. You’ll be a gem only if you had to sell firewood by the roadside to send your children to school, no child has ever written a poem for a single parent who has enough money to pay school fees, or enough left over to give her children the good life, only the suffering wife and mother gets all the eulogies. Therefore, for your wife material to be complete, you must, of necessity be forgiving and ready to suffer. You must always have an ‘I’ve forgiven you’ placard hidden somewhere about your person in case you need to forgive your man, at any point. Your man lied to you about his income? Forgive him. He’s just a man with a fragile ego, and it’s your fault for not noticing that he borrowed those Louboutins, and that the car he used to take you out on all those dates belonged to his older sister. Your man cheats on you regularly? Forgive him. Those ones are the side-chicks, you’re the main chick, you’ve won the lottery of cooking and caring for him, and when you get uncontrollably jealous, fight the side chicks, whip them well-well, cuss them out on Facebook, sub them on Twitter, but always, always forgive your man. After all how else can he prove his manhood except by dashing preek to every pretty girl(or boy) that passes by?

  4. Must be the neck: The neck, is the most important part of the body … well, except that the head is more important. But to be a wife material, you cannot, must not, even consider the possibility of becoming the head … of anything! Why? Because your husband must be the head and you the neck, silly! You know that prayer they say in church, the one about being the ‘head and not the tail’ , the next time you’re in church or in any public space where prayers are (necessarily or unnecessarily) being offered up, just say, ‘I’m the neck and not the head’ at top volume and watch proposals pour in by the bucketful. The neck is the most important part of the body because it tells the head where to turn, except that the head contains the brain which gives the neck the direction it should go. Clear ehn? Leave the thinking to the head, remember you’re there for the cooking, the bearing of children, the satisfaction of celebrating your golden/silver/ diamond wedding anniversary and most importantly for those children to call you blessed. You do want to be that crumpled looking old woman, in that sepia picture, with that slightly sad smile on your face.
  5. Must make sacrifices: Now this is very important for anybody seeking husband. To be wife material, you have to understand that men are ‘inherently selfish’, they can’t help it, it’s their nature, just as it’s in their nature not to cry. Real men shouldn’t be called to make sacrifices so that you don’t turn them into ‘women’. Your man thinks you’re too educated? Drop out of school. Your man thinks you’re dangerously earning more than he is? Resign from your job. You are the one who was made to be nailed to the cross, the sacrificial lamb. You must be ready to give up everything you are to satisfy ‘your man’, even if he’s a lot of other ladies’ man, remember, you are the ‘main chick’.
  6. Must be prayerful: According to non-existent statistics Nigeria is the holiest nation on the face of the earth, everybody is either a Christian or a Muslim, anybody who is not a member of a church or a mosque is a member of the illuminati. Truth. So as a wife material you must be prayerful, there are so many books out there for women (yes you may read religious books but not any other immoral literature) with titles such as Praying Wives, Praying Mothers, Preying Mantis, sorry … Praying Church. You must be ready to lead preyer … sorry … prayers at the drop of a hat, especially when travelling by public transportation, in an office meeting, at book launchings etcetera. The longer and louder you can pray, the longer your wife material becomes. Be the first to volunteer to bring tea for the men whenever there’s an office meeting, even if you’re a manager, always have your writing pad ready whenever you’re to attend important meetings in case the secretary is not around. Make sure you type ‘amen’ under all those weird pictures on Facebook showing mutilated bodies, ‘like’ all posts that have prayers on them and says that anybody that likes the post will get all their prayers answered. Retweet every post by every demented preacher on twitter, especially ones titled ‘Letter to Jeel’.
  7. Must be Certain: You must be absolutely convinced that we are all not equals, that men and women are not first and most importantly human beings, beings who are flawed and perfect at the same time. You must be certain that everybody with a pair of breasts and a vagina is a woman and everybody with a penis is a man. You must not question beliefs, you must not dare entertain the thought that single people can be deliriously happy, or that there are men out there who don’t have this list. You must be absolutely convinced that every person who is not ‘wife material’ will be miserable and only those who do live happily ever after. You must be sure of your generalizations and stereotyping… you must receive your 12yards of wife material this Christmas, by faya by force, IJN (type ‘Amen’ in the comments section to receive this impartation).

 

Editorial: 12 yards of Wife Material for Christmas (I)

Editorial: 12 yards of Wife Material for Christmas (I)

A friend of ours and her twin sister are quite accomplished in their chosen fields, fierce, strong, independent women in their early thirties, living fulfilled lives… but their mother is worried, emm, they are not married and worse still, they are not wife material at all!

IMG_0204
culled from myweddingnigeria.com

One of them read engineering and is a fantastic money manager, she’s already started acquiring properties and she’s  good at fixing things like furniture, fixtures, generators, cars … did we mention generators? And oh, she has this unfortunate propensity for not wearing skirts and gowns, she’d rather wear trousers, because she finds them comfortable and she wears her hair in a low cut, because … it is easier to maintain.

Nope! Not wife material at all!

Her twin sister is her complete opposite, quiet, reserved, loves keeping house and cooking, all soft curves and elegant gowns and dangling earrings. She wears gorgeous make-up and soft scenting perfumes that reminds you of the woman placed on a pedestal by the patriarchy … BUT she told her mother, quite frankly, that having children is not something she owes her, and as far as she’s concerned, if her mother wanted more grandchildren, she might as well go and adopt them.

Nope! Not wife material at all!

Being wife material is quite simple – Nigerian men have had this list since… oh well, since we left our proverbial cave and stopped grunting.

As we at 9jafeminista, want all you Nigerian girls out there to find husband, we are kindly listing twelve of these ‘qualities’ so that you can, well, grab yourself a husband… now!

Here it goes.

Qualities of wife material

  1. Must be soft: Yup, all you butch ladies out there who love jogging, weightlifting, boxing, footballing etceteraetceteraetcetera! Must stop it now! Please I beg of you, stop going around with your bulging muscles, it is quite threatening. Let your stomachs be rounded, your hips flare, let that your bumbum that the good Lord gave you jiggle and wiggle, so that anytime Timaya comes and sing, ‘shake your bum-bum’ your bumbum will actually wiggle and not do that stiff ‘useless bottom shaken by force’ thing. And if you don’t have it, fake it! There are fake bumbums out there ladies, all you need to do is spend a few thousand naira to buy a strap-on … sorry to buy a fake bum. This advise applies to slender ladies with boy-like hips too. Your husband must come this year IJN! Soft can also apply to your brain … you know … as in ‘soft-in-the-head’.
  2. Must be tough: Wife materials are tough, hardworking disciplinarians, able to carry a baby in one arm, a mortar and pestle in the other hand, and the troubles of the world on her head! How you’ll manage to do all these without developing muscles is no concern of the men, just do it! A wife material is Superwoman! You don’t know who she is? Google is your answer. This woman is strong (note: without muscles or moustache or bea-bea) she can cook a meal for a family of five or six (or seven) with five hundred naira, she must know how to stare down peppersellers and butchers (without looking like a man) and deal with her family with a firm hand. The thing is you must not be tough … like a man. Only men can be tough … like a man, women are to be tough … like a … umm … brb
  3. Must know how to cook/clean: Let your inner housemaids out ladies, do not hold it back. Some girls claim they’d
    nigerian-traditional-engagement-ceremony-of-barbie-ken-by-photography-by-obi-10
    audrina1759.wordpress.com

    rather cook than clean while others claim they’d rather clean than cook. To be a wife material, you do not have a choice in this matter. Hold your mops, brooms and ironing board in one hand, and the cooking stove in the other. Luckily for you the federal government of Nigeria has decided to help you out in this by deciding to buy every woman cooking stoves! Yayest! So what are you waiting for? And when we say cooking, we don’t mean those noodles cooking girls o! We are talking REAL food for REAL men. Food like – Pounded Yam (don’t go and cheat by cooking that fake poundo! You need a proper pestle and mortar for this), amala, eba, edika-ikong, starch, okro, fish stew and lots of beef! Your man needs good food to be able to perform his manly duties! Abeg don’t go and hire a housemaid o! The under-aged ones are totally useless and the young ladies will just snatch the husband that you have worked so hard for … this will not be your portion IJN!

  4. Must be sexy: Presently sexy means curvy – big yansh, flat stomach, big breast, perfectly made up face. None of those sloppy skirt wearing thing. If you want to wear jeans do the tight ones that show your hips to an advantage, no dressing like boys. Being sexy in a ‘responsible’ way will get you a husband with the snap of a finger. You must be sexy in a kind of way that is not seductive… classy sexy… sexily unalluring, baring your breasts without baring it, emphasizing your big yansh in a discreet way, you do not want to give the impression that you are being sexy while you are being sexy, you do not want to wear clothes that will ‘tempt’ men all the while ‘tempting’ them. You don’t understand? Neither do we…
  5. Must be ‘not slutty’: A wife material cannot afford to be slutty. Being slutty is the beginning of the tearing of your wife material into pieces. Being slutty means you’re no longer a virgin, it means your ‘body count’ is higher than… umm … one. It means you enjoy sex (oin?). You must be demure, you cannot afford to enjoy sex, asking for an orgasm is the undoing of you. A wife material does not like sex, she is frigid, she allows her man to have sex with her for one reason only – to bear children. As a woman, your totality is your womb, and to guarantee that your womb is in perfect working order so that the Great Black Man with a Huge Dick can impregnate you … your womb must remain unsullied, your ovaries must jump with joy, your monthly period must flow and that is the reason why you must remain a virgin, so that you will not come and be going to spoil your womb. But … the good news sisters, is that if your body count is higher than two, as long as you ‘confess’ your sins to your ‘man’ and reduce your body count, you can still have your 12yards of wife material. Which means, if you have a body count of like say … 10, you can ‘confess’ two, to your man so … you can thank us by sending us a piece of your wedding cake.
  6. Must not be too bookish: The problem with women who read too much is that, they have a big problem. Their problems are quite many. Some of them read so much they go and acquire second and third degrees, the ones that are quite stark raving mad are those who acquire PhD’s … I mean who in the world, planning to have that happily ever after marriage that has eluded so many people – does that? The worse ones are the ones that acquire their PhD’s while still single! Let’s do the maths together. You spend four to five years (from birth) in a nursery school, you spend the next six years in primary school, another six years in secondary school(sixteen whole years wasted already!) Then you go and do a first degree for four plus x years (the Nigerian university system is weird, you spend nothing less than six years plus to read a four year course) and that’s not adding the three years or so you spent resitting JAMB and GCE …(to be continued)

When does one become a woman? – Temitayo Olofinlua

I have been wondering, asking myself a couple of questions these past days. The crux of my wanderings: what makes me a woman? When does one become a woman?

temi3Is it when she is when she is conceived? When the X cells of the woman merges with the X of the man; and voila the new being becomes a blood clot, or something like that, with the potentials of becoming a being? If at that point something happens and she is not grown into full existence; accidental or planned, is she a human being? Is she a female human? Or is it when her Mum or whoever carried to full term gives birth to her? When the doctor looks between her thighs and layers of flaps covering a small hole and not a tiny stick, sees a vagina and not a penis, then declares that it’s a girl?

Then, she begins to grow. At a younger age, unaware of whether she is male or female. She wants to do things that everyone does; to climb the trees, to play the football, and also to tend to her doll. Sometimes, she does not care about the doll. When that happens, does it make her less female? Does it mean she can be for instance more male, a tomboy? This stage of potential, of inertia, of everything just lying there with the possibility to be molded or shrunk like the cursed tree; does it count?

Truly when does a girl become a woman? Is it at puberty, when she notices hair under her arms and on her vagina? When she sees all these changes that make her look more like her mother? When she wakes up and begin to notice that her breasts ache even as they grow? When they become magnetic force that pulls the men’s hands to it, to be groped, even when she does not want? When her butts seems to have an extra layer that shakes left and right, rolls up and down as she walks? Or is it when her panties are now so small that they are strapped between the middle line of the butts, like a catapult? Or when they become the objects of slaps from moving bike men? Or when their eyes follow its movements, left and right? Is it when her own mother says; don’t wear that cloth, don’t you know you are becoming a woman? Unsaid in that statement is the talk that she is a woman and being a woman brings responsibilities, like how your dress, and how it has the power to trigger an erection in a man?

Does she become a woman when the cramps below her belly prepare the way for her monthly flow? Shy drops initially, then daring enough, as sure as the day, as sure as every cycle? That blood that her mother calls menses. That blood that when she noticed it her mother said that “she has now become a woman, and that if any man touches her, she will get pregnant?” That blood that says so many things without speaking a word. That they say is a sign of fertility. That blood that when you see it, you are not so happy but you are happy to see it anyway. It is the guest that you don’t quite feel like seeing yet, you pound yam for it and cook the sweetest of vegetable, then serve ‘it’ in your best plates. That visitor is one that women have for a great part of their lives. My eleven year old cousin anticipating her period asked me: “for how long will it go on?” “For thirty years or more,” I replied. She exclaimed: “thirty what?” In fact, it is a marker for the way her life runs many ways. Pre-menstruation termed as the “non-reproductive” days; the menstrual days are the reproductive days, days when if she perchance has sex with a man, she may get pregnant; and then there is menopause, when she is dry, when the blood stops flowing. You know, I’ve been wondering, is she more womanly in any of these phases?

Wait a moment, I am beginning to think; is it when she starts to wear makeup? When she trades all her tennis shoes andTemitayo1 slippers for high heels? When she makes hair that announces her arrival, making heads turn and men feel a bulge down there? Is that when she becomes a woman? When she makes something tick in them? Does that ticking affirm her womanhood? What is the difference between a lady and a woman? Between a lady and an African woman? Fela Anikulapo Kuti, famous Nigerian singer sings in Pidgin English:

If you call am woman, African woman no go gree, she go say: I be lady. She go say market woman na woman. She go say I be lady. She go say him equal to man. She go say him get power like man. She go say everything she do, him sef fit do. She go wan take cigar before anybody? She go wan make you open door for am. She go want make man wash plate for am for kitchen. She wan salute man, she go sit down for chair. She wan sit down for table before anybody. She wan take piece of meat before anybody. Call am for dance, she go dance lady dance. African woman go dance, she go dance the fire dance. She no him man na master. She go cook for am. She go do everything she says. But lady nor be so. Lady na master?

Is there a difference between a lady and a woman? Fela thinks there is. And it is not a function of age but a question of how the woman behaves, a social definition. A lady according to Fela is the one who does her things her own style, refusing to fit into the stereotypical cage that the society hewn for her. For the lady, the cage does not exist. But the woman, lives according to the societal codes already written for her by the society.

When does a woman become a woman? When she is first pierced by a steel rod called a penis, pain and pleasure so well mixed she cannot tell which she feels? At a time in history, that was a big deal. The woman’s blood or lack of it could cause a small war between two families or a bloody war between two communities. Is that when she becomes a woman? These days, it does not quite matter whether the man who deflowered her ends up as her husband. Does she become a “better” woman when it is her husband who broke the hymen? Better here means, preserved, pure, and other such terms that have to do with purity. Is it when she gets married and becomes a Mrs. Somebody … perhaps. It is at that time that she is the “found” rib that has been missing from birth returned to position, in the man’s rib cage. She trades off her father’s name for a ring and a new name; it does not matter if she does not like the sound, spelling or meaning of the name. Now, she has an appendage attached to her name, a dangling limb hanging from a severed socket. If she does not bear her husband’s name, she is not a complete woman, she is a woman who still holds on to her girlhood, her eyes at the back of her head casting glances at a past that should be forgotten. It is also marriage that makes the society think of her as responsible because she is taking care of a family.

temi2So, tell me when does a woman become a woman? When she gives birth to a child and become Iya Lagbaja*, Mummy Tamedo*; when she becomes the mother of a child and is addressed by the name of her first child? When she starts attending Parents-Teachers’ meetings, when she starts cleaning up after the children or when she starts packing lunch boxes? Does she become a woman when she can attend to the needs of her children and husband at once yet unruffled? Is that when? Responsibility is a key characteristic of women; they are the burden bearers, the ones that carry the troubles of the world on their heads and drag theirs with their hands, that’s for those who remember to take theirs with them. Some others, just get weary with the burden on the head, and drop theirs along the way, is that what makes a woman, her sacrifices? Is womanhood about a life of sacrifices, when she gives up her own existence for her family? When she dies gradually so that she can nurse their dreams to life; becoming a womb for their dreams yet with no space for hers?

In some places, she is not even a woman until she has a boy, a son for her husband, to carry on his name, his legacy. Only then does her leg get fixed enough in her husband’s house, only then does she have any rights to any property. Girls are not children, they believe in such communities, they may be “issues,” with serious issues; they don’t even keep the family line going. In these climes, it’s only the birth of boys that make a woman a woman, that roots her legs in her husband’s family unswayable by whatever winds. Till then, she has one leg in, one leg out and the coming of another woman with a son, can automatically push her away, of her position as wife, and as woman.

When does she become a woman? When she is silent, just seen, not saying a word. When she is bent by the troubles of the world? When she says “thank you” even when she is hurt in her? When turns her ear the other way when her husband moans away with another woman? When she stays in a marriage “till death do us part” even if she is battered to that death? Is it when she gives her body to her husband totally, yielding herself to him, as a log in the hands of a carpenter? Or as the pot in the hands of the potter, being shaped, molded to the taste of the potter?

When does she become a woman? When the muscles around her eyes weaken? When the muscles around her womb lose strength, when the eggs return to where they came from? When her waist loses its shape after many children have passed through? When her voice trembles losing its alluring sound? Is it when her grandchildren gather around her, she–the mother hen, they–the chicks, and listen to stories trapped in a past, stories of a glorious past, that she only passed through but never passed through her? Now, the weight of her gait leans on a stick, her back is bent, bowed as she no longer has the strength to bear any more troubles. Her hairs starts to grey and soon start to drop, strand after strand, leaving a pore empty, never to be refilled. Is that when she is a woman? When all that is left in her eyes are faint glitters that never were?

Does she become a woman when the earth covers her up? When the grave is tagged “Mrs. Lagbaja; 1945-2000”? When her children show their respect for her by throwing up the biggest party in the world? There are numerous adverts in the papers, that she lived a glorious life, her face splashed all over, a smile photo-shopped on the image; there are words that would be missed sorely by a committee of friends. Is it when they say “Sun re o”? When they bid her to sleep well or eat what they eat in heaven, wherever that is? Tell me; is that when?

Or am I just rambling? Is the word “woman” overrated? An antithesis of man? Of everything that he is not, of all that she is? Of all that she can become, or of all that she may never be? Maybe there is more to a woman than the trapping of the word “woman,” that word so affiliated with “man.”

*Lagbaja and Tamedo: are Yoruba words for Anonymous.

Editorial: Why are you nakeding yourself about?

Editorial: Why are you nakeding yourself about?

A four year old boy once said ‘I’m nakeding about the house’ when asked why he did not wear some clothes after he got back from school. He used the word ‘nakeding’ as one would say ‘jumping’ or ‘singing’, something along the lines of ‘I’m nakeding because I’m happy’.

2One of the pleasures I had while growing up, was that of going about naked in my house. During the usually, hellishly hot, dry season, I could be found playing around the neighbourhood in either a pair of shorts or an underpant, rainy season found me and my friends running around buck naked anytime the rain started. The most cloth I ever wore, while growing up, if I remember correctly, was an undergarment we fondly called a ‘shimmy’ and a pair of shorts. Except it was terribly cold, wearing of clothes was not a prerogative.

I remember being told by my grandmother that she never got to wear clothes until she was about sixteen years old, it was one of her neighbours that actually drew my great-grandmother’s attention to the fact that her daughter now had a pair of breasts and needed to cover them up.

I was at the swimming pool the other day with my children, and was pleased to see a young, flat chested girl, of about eight frolicking in the shallow end with her brothers, in only a pair of shorts, the same type her brothers were wearing.

Shame was not a word I associated with the happy little girl, but in the name of protecting our children, it appears we are teaching them how to be ashamed of their bodies.

A couple of weeks ago, in Kenya, a young lady was stripped naked by a mob of men, because her skirt was deemed too short. This led to a protest hashtagged #mydressmychoice, a simple call for the society to stop what Abimbola Adelakun, in her article titled “How to treat a Naked Woman”, called “legislating the sartorial choices of women.”

Although the stripping and protests took place in ‘faraway’ Kenya, stripping women naked for their choice of dressing, is nothing new to Nigeria.

In the old Yaba, before Raji Fashola brought some modicum of sanity to the place, the traders were known for booing and stripping girls they consider ‘skimpily’ or ‘outrageously’ dressed ,naked, in a lot of cases sexual harassment also takes place while these ‘judges of our morals’ are ‘punishing’ these women.

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culled

In a book titled “Nigerian Dress: The Body Honoured”, Dani Lyndersay traced the costume arts of traditional Nigerian dress from Early History to Independence… and I’m sad to say this to the puritans, our ancestors (from the North to the South), except for the very rich, went about stark naked! And I mean men, women and children. They adorned their bodies, beautifully, with tattoos and other things like feathers, cowry shells and even leaves, but the adornment was simply that, not a means of ‘covering up’.

I dare say wearing clothes and shoes, became popular in Nigeria, more of a statement of fashion, of how rich you are, than to cover up in shame.

A few days ago, a young lady took to Facebook and complained bitterly about how an eight year old child, was ‘all over’ some ‘uncles’ thighs all the while wearing ‘only a pant’. She expressed disappointment at how ‘parents’ are no longer ‘raising their children right’ how this child is courting abuse, because a flat chested eight year old should be an object of desire.

3When called out on why she would choose to shame an innocent little girl, who was obviously enjoying the relief of not having to wear clothes in the hot afternoon sun, she claimed that the girl was making herself ‘vulnerable’ to abuse.

How in the world does a child go around making his/herself vulnerable to abuse?

Isn’t this the same line of argument proffered by rapists and would-be-rapists, ‘why was she wearing that gown?’, ‘what was she doing in his house?’

News flash – paedophiles(men or women who have sex with children), just like rapists and abusers, do not need provocation, they just are – in most cases – very sick individuals that need to be locked up or psychoanalysed or both.

Your child is at risk in your home, more than in the streets, and their state of dress or undress has absolutely nothing to do with this. Paedophiles are known to rape babies of 6months – can we say it’s because they are sagging their diapers?

Most people who abuse your children are often relatives or close family friends and even people who help out in the house. People in authority such as Imams, pastors and teachers, who have access to your child can also be sexual predators – (a sexual predator hunts down his/her potential victims the same way a frog hunts a fly). Abuse is about power and control.

A lion does not care how a gazelle is dressed, all it cares about is hunting it down and killing it! The same way a sexual predator does not care how his or her victim is dressed and is more concerned about assaulting the child or adult, sexually, expressing his/her power over the victim.

We need to stop body shaming, we need to teach our children the correct terms for their body parts and not using euphemisms to describe the penis, the vulva, the breasts, we need to show and teach our child4ren about respecting other people, their space, their choices, their lives!

We need to free ourselves from the mental shackles that have held us down for over a century.

Somebody said sex crimes are on the increase and surmised that it’s because more women are dressing more outrageously now, but I put it to you that sexual crimes are not on the increase, the reportage of sexual crimes has.

A few years ago, women would be afraid to point at rapists and call them out, because of the taboos our society has placed on it, because we shame the victim instead of the abuser, but now, more and more women … and children, are coming out and making their voices heard, they have found out that the people who need to be shamed are the men and women telling them to keep quiet about their abuse, the ones that need locking away are the rapists.

Of kids, mentors, spiritual forces AND that doctorate! – Adenike Olatunji-Akioye

Of kids, mentors, spiritual forces  AND that doctorate! – Adenike Olatunji-Akioye

5My ambition as a child was simply limited to wanting to be ‘great’. At some point, the specifics included Veterinary Medicine which was only my passion because it had a literal pot of gold attached to it. Further study (read Masters in Veterinary Surgery) fine-tuned what (if any) greatness I may achieve (yes! Still, its ‘greatness-in-waiting’) to this highly misunderstood art and craft which has very little to do with cutting and sewing, by the way.

It would be nice to be able to say I had lofty ideals like working hard to earn a PhD while trying to juggle a busy home life but that would be untrue. I am one of those women who love work and if there’s any to be done, all else fades from my consciousness. I am also lazy. That sounds like a contradiction, right? But I have said this so often and believe it totally as I have seen it play out in my life. I hate hassles and believe very firmly in delayed gratification and will thus do whatever is required of me so that I can be left well alone to…..well, daydream, which is my absolute favourite sport.

But this PhD asked for my life and a half.

While studying to get the PhD was not an accident, being an academic most certainly was. Nowadays, I am almost one when I get into class.

4
‘Ice-Cream how I love thee, shall I count the ways?’

I had done a Masters circa 2004, had a baby who was all sugar and spice and I wanted something else to do and, I naively assumed a PhD was one of those things. The first distraction was another baby who was a lot of work, followed by some institutional opposition because of some long-held belief that surgeons are not bound by the same rules as anyone else (very pompous lot, we are!) And then I tried and tried and the research just wasn’t as stellar as I wanted.

I had (along with most other PhDs, I suspect) visions of my work holding the key to human existence in the new millennium with award after award falling at my dainty feet. So, imagine my surprise when even within my department, others thought I should have done better. It stung and with it, came the realisation (very sad indeed) that I may have a perfectionist tendency.

My supervisor (poor man) tried to reconcile me with the reality of the conduct of research, especially scientific research in Nigeria. It did not help that the concept I was investigating is a little known phenomenon. I held onto my hypotheses tenaciously.

1I had the support of wonderful people who seemingly would enter my life, play their role and exit. Almost none had a major role in my life at any point and the support I hoped to get from established quarters from where I should was non-existent. Being a worker at the same university I was attending, I was required to work on the PhD part-time and I really couldn’t have done more if I tried.

This PhD must rank as one of the most sought after if the opposing forces that were arrayed against it were anything to go by. From not having a supervisor, to getting one and forces attacking him (unsubstantiated but….) to unbelievable dreams and household wickedness of great magnitude, the road was fraught with very many dangers.

 My work is mainly about some of the hitherto unexplored reasons for infertility; that a stomach incident that occurred because of lack of adequate blood supply to the gut could set up a series of events that could ultimately be responsible for derangements of almost every organ in the body and especially the germ cells which are the cells that mingle to form a new individual.

Being female, married with children had very little impact on my work in the sense that my family has very little idea about my work by choice. I leave work when I deal with the children and you really have to care before something can influence you in that way.

6I had help that matched the troubles I experienced and it would be ingratitude to not mention my biggest cheerleader, my 87 year old ‘friend’. She gave money, and boy, did she harass me. Some days she was the only reason I did not pack it in. The thought of facing her to tell her I gave up was enough to stir me to try one more time. There was that person too, who told me a story of a Deanship election in my faculty and asked, ‘How badly do you want this?’ because, he said, that is what will determine what will happen, not any of the troubles you face.

And there is BFF, with whom I really ought to split this with but she has hers and a lot of other accomplishments by dint of hard work. She encouraged, coaxed, threatened and loved me till I got to the point I finally decided, ‘Ok, maybe no awards will come from this but at least, I will advance knowledge and cause people to look in this new direction’. And this really is what a PhD is about. Not the end of studying (as many are wont to think) but a new look at what has been and stirring up new vistas of study. Of this one fact, I am proud to say I did.