​The #MenAreScum/#Menaretrash Movement: Misandry or Activism? – Editorial

​The #MenAreScum/#Menaretrash Movement: Misandry or Activism? – Editorial

Two weeks ago, in Ikoyi, Lagos, a bunch of schoolgirls sat for their finals and took to the streets in celebration. A bunch of boys from a school next door, (who had just finished their finals too) also took to the streets and started harassing these school girls  They tore their clothes, stole their phones and money, and then attempted to rape these girls, in broad daylight.
This week, in South-Africa, one girl was beaten to death and then burnt beyond recognition by her ex-boyfriend  Another was kidnapped and brutalized as she tried to escape from the car of her kidnapper.

In order to draw attention to the manner in which girls and women are being brutalized by the society, to examine the different ways that the entitlement mentality, with which men and boys are raised, contributes to the high rate of violence against women, and highlight the different ways that men can help mitigate other men’s terrible attitude towards women, the #menarescum/#menaretrash movement was trended on social media by gender activists and feminists from all over Africa.

It has become the norm on social media that whenever feminists or gender activists are advocating for the rights of the woman, men (and women) barge into the threads and try to trivialise the issues 

(by personalising it), this usually descends into a troll-fest with the activists accused of misandry and warnings issued to non-feminist women to stay off the threads because they run the risk of not being seen as ‘good girls’ and ‘wife-materials’.

The #notallmen hashtag is an example of the defences raised by men to tackle what is perceived as an attack by feminists on the institute of ‘manhood’.

However, this latest hashtag has gotten more backlash from both men and women, even those previously seen as allies to the gender equality movement. The tag #menarescum/#menaretrash is seen as being unnecessarily harsh, demeaning and off-putting. Unlike previous times when the voices of feminists and gender activists gain a lot of traction during activism on social media, the voices of people protesting against the hashtag is louder and angrier.

Although gender activists pointed out that the hashtag is not directed at men in particular, but at the structures/systems that brought about inequalities and lately, spates of brutalization against women, a lot of people are not buying it.
According to @Mr Boro, a Twitter user: 


“We have an issue at hand but you repeatedly say I’m stupid and want me to accept I’m stupid and then support you?”

“The same way you feel the need to say all men are  trash is the same way I feel the need to always disagree. You can’t gag me.”

He goes further:

“You can advocate for women’s rights without putting men down. They are not mutually exclusive.”

“Shouting men are scum on Twitter won’t stop Titi, 28 in Iganmu from getting slapped by her husband tomorrow.”

A lot of activists disagree with Mr, Boro, because they believe that with more push women will come to know and recognize their rights and men will be forced to examine their sense of entitlement and privileges afforded them by the patriarchal system presently at work on the continent.

@ChineEzeks a well-known activist and advocate for gender equality;


“The hubris & ignirance to think you somehow escaped being conditioned by a patriarchal society and the privilege it affords you. Amazing.”

“You’re not trash, but you feel more displeasure about being called trash than about women experiencing displeasure from trash. Ok.”

Also calling out people about examining their reasons for being up-at-arms against the hashtag was @Aninoritse, gender and LGBTQ rights activist;


“Of course we know not all men are scum but no oo. Correct it.”

“And correct the scum among you. No o. You’re crying and claiming we are making noise.”

“This is why the narrative will never change. Men are scum/trash. Instead of you men to band together and weed out your scum.”

The narrative emerging from these engagements seems to be that advocates should not be so ‘hostile’ in highlighting the ways inequalities have put everyone at a disadvantage. That the engagements should be less confrontational/militant.

The question is, has the less militant activism worked? In all these years of gender rights activism in Africa what has really worked? Can the answer be gotten from our history? Particularly the activism carried out by women pre- and during colonialism. Were there other tools of engagement used by women before getting to the point of ‘sitting-on-a-man’(a tool used by Eastern women to correct power imbalances) and the topless protests  carried out by women in the Western part of Nigeria to protest injustices by government authorities.

 On the other hand, post-independence, women advocates all over Africa have been lobbying their various governments for change in policies for over 30years, the advocacies are slowly, but surely, changing the landscape of women’s rights. Case in point the Violence Against Person’s bill which has been passed into law and the Child right’s act, which has gained traction in several states of the federation.

The way and manner through which feminists have engaged the issues of activism worldwide is vastly different, the end result has always been highlighting and correction of gender imbalances, can we then say that the #menarescum/#menaretrash movement has been able to achieve its aim?

An open Letter to the lord

An open Letter to the lord

Dear Lord,
I listened

Girl brutalized

Girl broken
I witnessed

Girl unveiled
Deviant!

Shameless!

Night walker!

Bar crawler!
His fists

Pounded every word

Into her pale, yellow, skin.

Yellow turned blood red.
Subhuman species!

Subpar intelligence!

Idiotic cacophony!

Ashawo na bastard!
Dear Lord

I listened

Her screams 

Rending the universe apart
I witnessed

Pain confusion

Disbelief shock

Chase after one another

Through her eyes
Street trawler!

Sex worker!

Do mi pay!

Pro- sti-tute!
The good old boys club

Surrounded him
For hitting her

He had no shame

For getting caught with her

He blushed with pain

Ashawo na bastard!
Dear lord

I listened

She cursed

She raged

Against you

Against her fate
Her man-made fate
She called down 

The wrath of the gods
Esu is my witness

Ogun my machete

Jesus Allah

Sango Aiyelala

Na thunder go fire you!

Your children shall know pain!
I witnessed

A girl

With no name

No shame

Gather her shattered bits

Into her dignity

Her spine

Straightened

She would show no weakness

She would no longer

Be a victim

She looked me in the eye

“I will like some privacy now.” 
Dear Lord

This made me wonder

Made me muse

Dear Lord

Who’s really the bastard

Who’s the fool?
– Ayodele Olofintuade

Feminism has no space for Transphobia – A series of Tweets by OluTimehin Adegbeye

Feminism has no space for Transphobia – A series of Tweets by OluTimehin Adegbeye

Having a marginalised identity does not automatically amount to expertise on any or all marginalisations. 

I learned this the hard way.

Equality will always feel like oppression to the privileged.

At moments like this I’m reminded it’s crucial to listen more and speak less. The worst thing about being loud and wrong is the loudness.

In a way, the knee-jerk reaction of cis-women to vehemently deny trans-womanhood as womanhood, reminds me of the reactions that survivors of (violent) penetrative rape had to my assertion last year that any absence of consent in sexual activity is in fact rape.

It’s this idea that validating experiences not our own (or not those that are historically mainstream) ‘diminishes’ the value of a thing.

An idea which is of course, patently false. 

Drawing borders around the validity of experiences doesn’t actually make the experiences of those outside the borders go away. It just makes it okay to gaslight the fuck out of them. 

But people KNOW what they’ve been through & who they are. Gatekeepers force madness on folks by insisting that things they know to be true are lies, then turn around & call them mad.

You’re already inside the circle. Nobody is pushing you out. We’re just saying that you drew the line at the wrong point & it needs to move.

Now comes the real question: Whether you want to stand inside a circle where you have to be next to people you don’t see as fully human.

That’s what drives pushback against inclusion really: people who have something thinking people who are less human than them will get it too. 

Transphobic cis women act as if the category ‘woman’ is so valuable that ‘men’ will want to steal it from them. How laughable is that??

Men KNOW how trash it is to be a woman in this world. That’s why they’re always on about not wanting/being afraid for their daughters followers. 

Even cis-women don’t want to be ‘women’ as it is constructed within the gender binary. That’s why feminism exists in the first place.

So why would anyone with any kind of real ‘male privilege’ want to give that up…to ‘become’ a woman?

Nigerians will defend gender essentialist transphobia as if we don’t culturallly call men ‘woman wrapper’ or ‘woman’ as an insult.

If we really care about people, we need to stop defending borders that attempt to invalidate their lives (and eventually, simply kill them).

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