​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?

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.

Mansplaining for Beginners

Mansplaining for Beginners

Aside from the Bro Code, real men don’t cry, men don’t get emotional, real men don’t wear pink, real men don’t scream when they are coming, real men don’t moan during sex and a lot of other rules on the list men are handed in order to earn their ‘manhood’ (otherwise known as The Hypermasculinity List), there is one particular rule that transcends all art, and logic, called mansplaining.

Now mansplaining is not to be confused with manspreading. Although they are similar in some ways, they are simply NOT THE SAME!

Manspreading is physical. Simply put, a man sitting next to a female of any specie or race (on a bus, in a plane, or a chair), will spread themselves in such a way that they’ll take up extra space.

Mansplaining is mental. It is an intellectual sontin that requires a little mental cogitation and a lot of condescension. In order to mansplain you must be able to fulfill two conditions;

  1. You must have a penis dangling between your legs, also known as a doctor peeped between your thighs and announced to your parents ‘it’s a boy!’
  2. You must assume that everyone who does not pack a penis between their thighs is socially, culturally, religiously, and most importantly, mentally inferior to you.

As this is a beginners manual we won’t want to confuse you by using a lot of big-grammar(which we might not understand ourselves) so we will try and make this as simple as possible. We will also try to remove our tongue from our cheeks since we know that Nigerians don’t do sarcasm, we prefer our slapstick comedies, thank you very much.

Now back to our main subject, mansplaining.

In order to be a good mansplainer, (or at least trying to have some basic knowledge of how to do this shit), you must adhere to the following rules as closely as possible.

  • Always start from a place of strength: What do we mean by this? You must always be conscious of the fact that you’re a ‘man’! You don’t need any other strength bro, being a man is enough! You’ve been told this over and again and we are reiterating it, being a man is enough! Being a man gives you superiority over any- and everybody. Being a man (especially in Nigeria) means you can get away with murder, rape, domestic violence, child-marriage and mayhem! (check out the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria). So whether you’re in your teens or an adult, whether you have skills or not, always, always, carry around the consciousness that you’re ‘a man!’. Anytime you start doubting your masculinity, check into the nearest religious centre (Islamic or Christian) and you’ll emerge a new being.
  • Be prepared: Whenever you’re in a gathering and you get a whiff of any female around, be hyper-conscious of this fact and get ready to attack or defend whatever idea is being discussed.
  • Be condescending: Seriously women don’t know anything, (no we are serious) women are as dumb as two bricks, the only thing they have in their heads (aside from wool) is how to marry and how to have babies and how to beat up side-chicks. Really, women know nothing, starting from this point you’ll never go wrong. So no matter what is being discussed, once a woman makes a contribution to the discussion, remember this fact and look down your nose at them. Curl your lips, and then open that your big mouth and start spouting nonsense.
  • Have no fear: Now as we all know being afraid is not a manly trait. You have to be bold and brave at all times. For example if a woman is your lecturer or trainer or boss, make sure you’re ready and willing to correct her errors. Be sure you can tell her she is wrong about things you know absolutely nothing about. The first step is to explain to her what she is trying to say, because we all know women are stupid so she might not really understand what she is saying and it’s in your place to explain the things she’s saying to her. After that tell her YOUR own idea, which is naturally superior because… you’re a man!
  • Do not engage: For example let’s say you’re in a gathering, and unfortunately for you, there are only women in the gathering. Let’s say, a training, and you’re the only man there (Oy Vey! What a misfortunate sontin! What a wawuu!) Do not talk to those women, whenever you’re on break, instead of mingling, go and sit down with your phone and chat with your wife, main chick and side chick, but do-not-talk-to-those-women. Why? Because they might start to think that you’re mates and they might laugh at you when you start propounding your ‘manly’ theories.
  • Dealing with ‘those women’: There’s always one of them in gatherings these days, women who think they are as smart or even smarter than men. Those ones will never shut up, they might even challenge your ideas! (Shocking… we know). Whenever one of ‘those’ starts their rubbish just remind them that ‘I have one of you at home’. This is particularly important for married men or about to be married men, or men that have girlfriends or side-chicks. The ‘one of you’ that you have at home, might even be your housemaid, your mother or your sister, but be sure you say this and we guarantee that this will shock ‘those women’ into silence. And they will stand in awe of your mental prowress, they will bow at the feet of your intellectual perspicacity, they will kiss your little toeses etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

We know the above points are few but it’s getting really boring this mansplaining topic and one thing we are not, at 9jafeminista, is boring. You want more? Do some research.