Fashion in a box: Metrosexuals, Heterosexuals, Homosexuals, you’re sha sexual! – Kingsley

Fashion in a box: Metrosexuals, Heterosexuals, Homosexuals, you’re sha sexual! – Kingsley

If you are reading this I’m sure you are wondering what this could be about. I will tell you.

I am sure I have readers who love to wear what they love, without having to deal with snide remarks from some illiterate mofos, be it their beautiful designer pink shirt(I am talking to the men here) or that really skinny jeans or that very expensive designer man-bag.

Enough is enough! I just want to wear what I love, even if it is going to make me look different fromfashion-black-men the pack (which is the whole idea), without having to explain why I wear what I wear. I am wearing a pink shirt and that is supposed to make me gay!? I love to wear my meggings and carry my Prada man-bag and that should define my sexuality!? I am so SMH-ing right now. If that is the case then popular British comedian/actor Russell Brand is just as guilty as fuck for adorning his really skinny ‘skinnies’ and Pharell Williams and Kanye West should be gay as hell for trotting about town with their over-sized Hermes Birkin man bags.

I am so sick and tired of people tagging and labeling other people, as one thing or another just based on what they choose to wear. Can’t we enjoy our freedom enough to just go about in what we bleeding want? I choose to wear a darn, skinny jeans with a shocking pink shirt, brandishing my Michael Kors man-bag. Please my dear reader kindly tell me how it is anybody’s business Biko? I just simply want to know

Fashion has been put in a box for men and women.

We have been tagged with ridiculous names for far too long.

A man wears a full length boubou or decides to want to feel fly in his expensive pink Thomas Pink or a lady rocking her baggy pants and over-sized t-shirts on sneakers automatically this makes them a gay man or a gay woman. How pathetic!

We should stop allowing ourselves to be taught how not to wear what we feel is right for us just because we want to be accepted. What we wear does not define us neither does it define our sexuality.

I am not wearing that pink shirt or that pair of pink sneakers because I am gay. I am wearing them because I feel comfortable rocking that colour. As a man liking a fellow man doesn’t make him gay so also it is in fashion. My brandishing a Birkin man bag be it tote or hold-it-all doesn’t and shouldn’t define my sexuality.

You, my dear reader might agree with me or perhaps not but that doesn’t stop it from being the truth. I know many reading would be thinking it’s about time I took that beautiful piece of unusual clothing and hit the street throwing caution to the wind. Oh yeah, it’s about time. A man in a pink outfit is not a criminal, and yes I have been emphasizing with pink because that is a colour the society have decided that a man should not be associated with. When that colour was invented it wasn’t specifically designed for the women folk. Just like the bum shorts or the stockings or the skinny jeans were not meant for a particular gender. I for one have rocked every piece of fashion item that we Nigerians have termed feminine- from the bum shorts on the streets of Ilorin to the meggings and a tote bag on the streets of Lagos. These items don’t make anyone gay it’s who we sleep with that defines our sexuality.

black-men-in-skirtsWoe betide any illiterate mofo that would call me a gay man just because I choose to adorn “unmanly’ fashion pieces. Yes this is the part were my temper is rising because I have had it up to here (hand under chin). This is not only associated with gay people, even in the hetero world were a man wears his baggy pants and oversized tees garnished with ‘bling-bling’ with his hair in cornrows, he is automatically a gangster, and labeled irresponsible, a thief, a lowlife and our daughters should never be found hanging around such men. How sad! How annoying!

Our clothing, our sense of style does not define our personality or sexuality! (Oh how I want to shout this from the mountain top). A man is found in the spa treating himself to the finest luxury of life that money can buy, he wears his tailored blue Armani and pink Thomas pink sleeves and McQueen shoes with multicolored striped socks and then suddenly he is put in the homosexual box. How very Nigerian!

Ever heard of metrosexuals? I know some readers are going to say, “Oh, please metrosexuals and homosexuals are the same” I am here to burst your bubble –Ntor! (Pulling at the bottom of my eyes with tongue sticking out).

Allow me to define.

Metrosexual: A man, a heterosexual or a homosexual or a bisexual who spends a lot of attention, time and money on his looks. Example of such a man is David Beckham (Britain’s biggest metrosexual).

Homosexual: A man who shares romantic, emotional and sexual feeling with another. A homosexual cannot be defined by what he wears. He can even be someone who does not give a hoot about his looks.

Spot the difference? I am sure you do. With these clarifications, I hope by everything that is holy, you wouldn’t go about judging a man because he is in a pink shirt or a pair of skinny denim or a woman because she is wearing her baggy pants and oversized tee-shirt. Now with a lot off my chest I can go about freely rocking my ‘unmanly’ fashion pieces enjoying the unholy stares and side remarks. I hope you now have the bravado to do same.

Let us go ahead and break that box now and forever move and feel free to live as humans. Long live skinnies! Long live man bags! Long live the pinkies! (wide grin).

Deep sigh! Free at last.

LIVING WITH A FEMINIST By Kola Tubosun

LIVING WITH A FEMINIST By Kola Tubosun

You know, it was just last week that I was reading this piece that lampoons writers for usually failing to fully acknowledge in public the help that a stable spouse provides. I thought about how true it is. We’d rather tell the world how hardworking we are, and how much we suffered before we made it big, forgetting how much harder (if not impossible) it would have been without someone there in a capacity of a trusted companion. Why is this? Because we consider ourselves failures if we had to depend on others? Because a man can’t admit that his wife earns as much (or more) than he does, and still retain his manhood? Because admitting such as a woman amounts to betraying feminism? None of it is true, of course, but contemporary society tells us otherwise.

I am a Nigerian, the father of a one year old. I live in Lagos, in an area conducive to a contemplative temperament, close enough to my workplace, and close enough to the venues of artistic contemplation that I’ve spent a number of years pursuing. I work as a schoolteacher of English (and coordinator of a number of literary-related activities), and in my other free time as a linguist, and founder of a translation company/community. But more than these, I am the husband of a working woman, a feminist, who also doubles as the mother of our child and a co-breadwinner in the house. None of these things work at cross-purposes with the other.

The word “feminist” has been, from the time I encountered it in the eighties, loaded with a kind of fault: “Oh those bra-burning women revolutionaries in the West trying to become like men”. That is a paraphrasing of something I may have heard from my father once. But he’s not peculiar. Men of his generation grew up with a different idea about what women should be and what their role should be in the society. But not just the men. Women too. My mother might swear to you that she’s not a feminist, but it would be a cold day in hell before you walk over her just because you’re a man. And almost singlehandedly, she brought up the six of us sometimes without help, and in spite of a sometimes conscious non-cooperation by her spouse.

What I was thinking about when gathering thoughts about this piece is how in today’s world the tag has become even more toxic. And a friend would consider himself showing concern by asking you “I hope your wife is not one of those who call themselves feminists…” I’ve heard educated women call themselves “womanists” as well, as a way of escaping the negative tag that “feminism” supposedly carries. “I believe in women’s rights”, they say, “but I’m not a feminist” The way it seems then is that the difference between a woman (who, as one might expect, doesn’t believe in being relegated in society to any secondary role) and a feminist (who actively fights to secure that commitment from society) is the difference between a writer and a novelist. A writer enjoys the vocation, occasionally makes money from writing, while a novelist is committed to a cause in a particular direction. S/he writes novels, accepts the specific tag of “novelist” and defends the role of the genre against all others when called to do so. Most people seem content to be called “writers” than be called “novelists”. One requires not just effort, but a concrete proof of belonging to the class.

In the book “Fela: This Bitch of a Life” by Carlos Moore, there was a chapter where the author interviewed Fela Kuti’s first wife – a half British, half-Nigerian woman who lived with him lovingly through all his infidelities and sexual flamboyance. Asked about Fela’s authoritarian behaviour, she responds that “that’s how a husband should be.” She continues “I don’t believe in women’s lib at all. I mean I don’t believe a man should tell me I’m lower than him, but I don’t believe in me going to drive a bus. That’s left to a man, you know. Just that type of thing. These women in Europe, I don’t agree with at all.” (Kindle Location 2300). She was making a point about gender roles, but inadvertently about feminism that has insisted that women should be able to do whatever they want to do. She however wrongly assumed that it says that they should be mandated to do it.

ktMy feminist wife isn’t interested in driving a bus either, and her feminism hasn’t kicked me out of the house, or deflated my balls just as my work and vocation hasn’t reduced her feminity or levels of estrogen. However, it has created an environment to bring up a young man with a different attitude to life than our parents afforded us: a world in which men and women can achieve their best selves at home, at work, and in the society without hindrance, and without obeisance to rules that have their roots in prejudice and fear rather than in fact. My daughter will be able to pay for her own meal even on a date without feeling taken advantage of. And my son will be able to make meals in the house, for his family, if he wants to (and if he’s as good a cook as his father) without feeling any shame.

I’m a feminist too, because I believe that a strong and fulfilled woman is as much an asset to the family as a strong and fulfilled man. I won’t have it any other way.

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE: THE BURDEN OF A SLOW JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN NIGERIA – by Toyin Adepoju

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE: THE BURDEN OF A SLOW JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN NIGERIA – by Toyin Adepoju

The rape epidemic in Nigeria seems to be deepening its roots into our contemporary society due to many factors which fearfully, have become a norm, welcomed by the nation with open arms. Some of these factors no doubt include fear (of stigmatization), poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, corruption and a terribly slow judicial system. The prevalence of this phenomenon, which mostly affects children, calls to question the activities of certain agencies, set up with the sole aim of preventing the Nigerian child from any and all forms of abuse.

stock-photo-stop-child-abuse-sign-words-clouds-shape-isolated-in-white-background-121620967Apparently, child molestation can be said to be the new dimension to rape incidences in the country as the media, on a daily basis, headlines no less than a rape story involving victims which most times are children. Just like other states in Nigeria with increasing records of child molestation, Oyo state is no different. Section 34 (1) of the Child’s Right Law of Nigeria, 2006, domesticated by the Akala’s administration in the state has it that “No person shall have sexual intercourse with a child”. By the specification of this law, a child is a person who has not attained the age of eighteen.

A child subjected to labour is vulnerable to sexual abuse. Such is the story of 13 -year old Abike(not real name) who was left in care of her grandmother and made to hawk “eko” in the evenings. After being stalked for a while in her neighborhood by two men believed to be in their thirties, she was forced into an uncompleted building and was raped. Abike could have been left alone to deal with the trauma and stigmatization which in most cases, often resulted in depression, but she was taken in by Williams Marcus of the Child Protection Network, cared for and sheltered.

Sadly, the alarmingly slow legal system in the country has made it entirely difficult to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous crime who still freely roam the streets. Meanwhile, it is quite heart-warming to know that Abike has continued from where she left-off and has returned to school. But this one story is about Abike who was lucky to have gotten help. What happens to several other victims who have been left alone to bear this burden?

Then, here is another story of Tolani, a nine-year old, repeatedly molested by an “Alhaji” in her neighborhood who threatened death if she ever said a word to anyone about what transpired between them. With a late mother and a commercial motorcyclist father, no one had the time to take care or protect her from the evil machinations of Alhaji who lured her in to his apartment on Sundays and raped her. The girl with no knowledge about what was being done to her tries it out on a younger boy, a family friend of hers, and was caught in the act. Again, the perpetrator has not been made to pay for the committed crimes, due to the terribly slow judicial system in the country. The same Child Protection Network responsible for taking care of Abike (in the first story), does same for Tolani, and just like every other well-meaning Nigerian, they are concerned about how the law enforcement agencies in charge of such cases have done little or nothing at all to bring the perpetrators to book, to at least serve as deterrent to prospective abusers.

The Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, Oyo state chapter, Yetundestop-child-abuse-stop-child-abuse-23073274-400-311 Adegboye also agrees that the legal processes involved in the prosecution of a rape culprit is extremely slow. She explains that the initial process involved in reporting a rape case begins at the Police Station where an arrangement will be made for the victim to undergo medical examination. The charge is then forwarded to the Magistrate court which has no jurisdiction to try rape cases but could remand the suspect in police custody. The prosecutor is then ordered to present the charges to the Director of Public Prosecution in the Ministry of Justice, who originally bears the burden of attending to all major crimes coming in from literally every angle in the state. The ministry, after looking into these charges then tries to see if the suspect is liable to go through trail (or trails) in respective courts. The process in itself is tiring and while some prosecutors give up half-way into pressing these charges, the perpetrators, either with influence or affluence of find ways to escape trial by applying for bail at the High Court.

The Nigeria Police Force has a whole lot to do in a bid to ensure that the required punishment is meted out to the perpetrators of such grave crime by ultimately seeing the reported cases through to courts. Victims of rape should also help the police effectively carry out their legal duties by providing every bit of information they can make available to help in the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators. The society also has a very important role to play in protecting her children from the seemingly inherent dangers by fishing out those responsible for such crimes and handing them over to the law enforcement agencies to follow-up on their prosecution.

Williams Marcus has called for the establishment of family courts which he says will see to the timely prosecution of abusers; most important are the child rapists, as it is the responsibility of the government at all levels to protect the child from acts that could negatively affect the child’s physical, sexual and mental well-being.

Parents and the society at large should also ensure they make themselves available at all times to provide all the necessary love, care, protection and support to and for their children.

The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. We need to protect them.

Toyin
Toyin Adepoju is an OAP at Splash FM, Ibadan.

the fuss about the hymen – Meeriam

the fuss about the hymen – Meeriam

From the Editor’s Desk: When this article appeared in our mailbox in January, we were, to say the least, surprised. Not because of the content (since 9jafeminista is an advocacy platform for equality, in all its ramifications) but because of the young lady who sent in the article. She is a very religious person, who does not believe in labels and believes that feminism is an ‘f’ word.

Her article below examines one of the many ways in which inequalities prevail in the Nigerian Society especially as it applies to women’s sexuality.

Read on:

I feel the need to first point out that this is not a ‘feminist induced rant’. If we were in the 1920’s or Alexander Chukwuedo1930’s, this caption would have earned me a resounding slap from all and sundry. But nowadays parents have more to worry about than their daughters’ hymen or lack of.

I’m sure all the holy books preach against pre-marital sex and gone are the days when a groom’s family would return a full box of matches to the bride’s family the morning after the consummation of marriage as a sign of the bride’s virtue. Woe betides any girl that was found ‘incomplete’.

Back to the present day, sex has been totally demystified (which is a huge problem for me). Everyone is totally doing it. We can blame pop culture, MTV Base, Iggy Azalea and even Canada, but it’s what it is. Children who have been cloistered often tend to run wild when finally let loose.

I believe that it’s a precious gift women offer to the man they truly love and possibly want to spend the rest of their lives with but is that truly what we’re worth? Why should my entire worth be determined by a membrane? I could be top of my class, my net worth could be in the range of 6 figures or even find a cure for cancer and all this would not matter because of the absence of THE membrane.

It’s almost laughable how hypocritical our society is. Like the girls who lost their virginity, did they have sex with themselves? Why aren’t men subjected to the same standards as women? Because their own no dey read meter abi?

I would love to see a society where a woman is accepted for who she is, what her accomplishments are rather than something as base as a hymen.