Sex Work and the Worth of a Woman – Olutimehin Adegbeye

Nicki Minaj wants to tell women who charge for their time, companionship and pussy to “know their worth” sis why else do you think they have rates?!

It’s so hilarious how “know your worth” is coded to mean “fuck for free”. In this capitalist world where people’s value is determined by how much money they can generate for their personal use, women’s labour is almost inevitably under- or devalued, and it is understood that sex diminishes women unless said women are expressly offering it in service to or as the property of men.

It seems to me that women charging the equivalent of some people’s monthly income (the 2k Minaj states) for sex is a sign that they know their worth.

“Know your worth” is slut-shaming, whorephobic nonsense. What a person does/doesn’t do sexually has no impact on their worth. Human beings are intrinsically worthy; it’s Minaj’s inability to divest from oppressive ideas of differential value that is the problem, not IG models.

That fake deep take of “I was critiquing myself and asking if I contributed to women selling sex because I sell sex appeal” while positioning women who actually sell sex as ‘less than’ and somehow ignorant of their own worth is traaaaaaaash and Nicki can like to gedifok.

Sex work is work. And legitimising sex work benefits everyone, particularly women. Nicki is probably just mad that a former sex worker is now being treated as a better, more interesting, more current rapper than her.

Look. Struggle all you want with the idea that sex work is legitimate labour. It doesn’t change the fact that it is. Labour = production of goods & services that have exchange value. Sex work puts material value on consensual sex the way nannying puts material value on childcare.

Sex work is a service. And heterosexual sex in particular is so often transactional, even when the exchange doesn’t involve a direct price structure. That’s why y’all’s husbands and dads are forever ‘joking’ about how they end up paying for sex one way or another.

The struggle people have is rooted in the degree of agency women sex workers in particular display when it comes to who and how they fuck, in women’s rejection of monogamy (& marriage) as the only ‘legitimate’ sex, & the radical way a woman claims ownership of her body via SW.

Sex workers claim the benefits of sex with men (bc let’s face it, most clients are male) while ostensibly escaping the costs; the servitude, denial of self etc that come with being a ‘legitimate whore’ aka a wife.

And let’s be clear: wifehood IS whoredom within traditional heterosexual marriage. Het. marriage is constructed as a contract in which a woman exchanges her sexual value for economic and social benefits. (I’m sure your feminist marriage is the exception sis, please don’t @ me.)

Bottom line: legitimising sex work will force us as a society to reckon with how our collective morality has its foundation in cis women’s vaginas. And the day society can rid itself of its obsession with all women’s bodies, vaginas or not, half our work will be done.
Go follow @thotscholar @Raquel_Savage @tilly_lawless for complex, complicated conversations about sex work. ???

Side note: there’s no place with more glamorous women enjoying their lives, drinking water, minding their biz & being sweet to one another than sugarbaby twitter lol

Side side note: dead the idea that sex work is easy, or easy money. All those memes of “if I can’t hack school I’ll just become a sex worker” are laughable. Like, have you met men??? ????

Side side side note: before you @ me to argue about wives being the ultimate whores (I use that word with intention), ask yourself why so many people believe that neither wives nor whores can be raped – that even forced, unwanted sex with wives and whores *cannot be* rape.
Okay so sex workers are agreeing with me, therefore I have done something right. I’d like to dedicate this award to my beloved mother of blessed memory.

BTW: If you’re pro-justice, a feminist, or just interested in learning about the world through a sex work(ers) lens and you’ve never read @titsandsass, you should fix that.

The article was originally posted as a thread.

Follow @ohTimehin on Twitter

Advertisements

Catcalls – Jumoke Verissimo

Each girl eats her own eyeballs,

floating heels,

confidence-padded into breasts,

kettle-mouth lips

blow off the steam of male gaze;

in a market world women are

crafts.

 

Her designer labels with absolute names

the reason for her aching ankles

becomes the shame,

beauty the reason for the spare time

becomes the shame.

 

The horde’s hoot hang to her feet

as she flees from a body being stripped

of a dress that homes

shame.

When a girl discovers she’s dressed in disgrace—

wearing a blemish no foundation

power

can hide—she moves away from

herself.

 

The market stalls are no shelter for men,

trading in leers that rush after short skirts

teeth spaced for the

tongue to wag;

there’s no signpost to read their

folly.

Here are men who once

bargained with brains

now they trade their hearts

as ignorance wares.

 

And when tongues rip the cloth

off the girl

the shredding men’s eyes will go

home

to cover a sister, a mother, or a

partner

shame them with another

performance

a poor showman of his market

failing

How to join the Ya-Ya Sisterhood of Pick-Me’s!

It’s the New Year! Yipee! A New Us! A NEW EVERYTHING! YAY! (AIR KISSES!) Sorry we were yelling, but it’s so exciting to start the New Year with a brilliant new topic on how to join the Ya-Ya Sisterhood of Pick-Me’s.

Now we are so excited to lay our hands on this manual because it’s so exclusive, and so expensive and soo classy, (even if we are saying so ourselves). But this is a new 9jafeminista and we will do anything and everything to please you, (we are also hustling for more readers, but that’s by the way). As you well know we are feminist and intersectional and everything but we get all excited when we find new ways to help our fellow sisters.

There’s a whole movement on all social media platforms of the ‘pick-me’ sisters and they do the mostest to get the notice of all the men, (both hot and cold) on Social Media. And we totally understand and damn it the pick-me movement is VALID! (Damn we’re yelling again). This is due to the fact that finding a ‘man’ is so hard, harder than the unpaid labour women put in on the daily. But even harder than that KEEPING the man, phew! That’s close to an impossibility, like pushing a needle through a camel’s toe, or something like that.

Anyway, these special Ya-Ya Sisterhood of the Pick-Me’s have discovered something that has never been heard of before, FEMINISTS (spelt s-a-t-a-n) and these people are trying to ruin the market by demanding for absurdities like equity, and equality and educating men to stop raping and assaulting anyone they deem weaker than them, and better governance and bringing an end to domestic, mental and emotional violence… the list of demands goes on and on, but that’s not why we are here. To counter all these narratives that will alienate the better sex (spelt m-e-n) and protect a system(spelt p-a-t-r-i-a-r-c-h-y) the sisters have developed a strategy which we will share with you as soon as we finish jumping for joy.

Get a professionally taken profile picture: The struggle is real sisters, to join the Ya-Ya Sisterhood of Pick-Me’s you need a well taken photograph, by a professional, showing your best angles, because before you start creating a social media persona for yourself you need to ensure that your profile pic is popping. Who knows? That brother who will come and change your destiny might decide to zoom in and see the person behind all the brilliant shit you’ll soon be spouting.

Follow feminists: On all your social media handles make sure you follow as many feminists as you can find, because how do you pick their arguments apart if you don’t even see their tweets, facebook posts, Instagram protest photos, snapchat… umm… snapchats?

Make it clear that you are NOT a feminist: Now this here point is EXTREMELY important. From the get-go make it clear that you are NOT a feminist. Yes you are educated, and you might even have a job, and maybe, you even own a car (all of which feminists fought for so you can enjoy but that’s unimportant). Now don’t get it twisted, there are some women who although don’t like the feminist tag (which is totally valid) still believe in equality and equity and all those outrageous demands, you don’t want to get mixed up with those ones either… nah. Make it clear you do not believe in equality, or equity, tell them about your willingness to be a ‘traditional’ wife. Show them!

Display your dexterity at cooking: We all know that feminists don’t (also known as can’t) cook, so you need to display the beauty of your wife material by showing people on social media, that you can cook. Take pictures of yourself in the kitchen, or in the village blowing fire, or handwashing your clothes. In your updates add how hard working you are and how you wake up early in the morning to cook for yourself and all the men in your neighbourhood. We are emphasizing cooking and cleaning since it is a well-known fact that a lot of Nigerian men are looking for unpaid housemaids and they are always hungry.

Take sides with the right side: There are times that arguments will show up on your timeline about these ‘social media feminists’ that come online to advise women to leave their husbands while they are, in real life, cooking, cleaning and blah, blah, blah… make sure you go on that thread and support whoever made that post. Make snide remarks about ‘feminists’ and the fact that they are all bitter aunties and yahdahyah.

Honestly this is getting boring but we never give up do we?

Emphasize traditional values: Why should boys wear yellow? Why should girls wear blue? Boys are boys girls are girls, all these homo-woke people should just go and take several seats! Our mothers lived in the kitchen and see how well we have all turned out, see how Nigeria is the most well-adjusted, corruption free nation on the earth because we are all so perfect, all due to our ‘mothers’ who stayed in the kitchen!

Participate in campaigns: in order to show your ‘human’ side, anytime handles like STER (Stand to End Rape) starts online campaigns to end rape, please join in the thread, especially telling ‘sisters’ to stop clubbing and dancing and wearing short dresses. Give them examples of how women’s dressing can cause ‘temptation’. Make snide remarks about how ‘moral standards’ have been lowered and how ‘good girls get all the attention’.

This shit can go on and on, but it is boring. We hope the above has been useful though… yawn.

Reproductive Health and Rights: A series of interview with women living in low-income communities(III)

After a lot of outcry, both on social media and in traditional news outlets, by feminists and human rights activists about the manner in which the proposed #GEO Bill was thrown off the floor of the National Assembly, the senate president, Senator Bukola Saraki, agreed to re-introduce the bill. It passed a second-reading, and was stalled pending a public hearing which was postponed due to the absence of the members of the senate committee in charge of the hearing.
It is important to note that on June 13,1985 Nigeria ratified, with no exceptions, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which is also considered the international bill of rights for women, but since its ratification, the convention has not been domesticated. The #GEO Bill actually incorporates a large part of the CEDAW.
In this interview, Jolomi* who trained as a ‘chemist’ (drug dispenser) discusses issues bordering on sexual autonomy, the high rate of abortions amongst women in her community, women’s lack of knowledge about their anatomy and inability to take reproductive health decisions due to this ignorance. She also discusses the state of primary health care facilities and the impact poor reproductive health decisions on the population.

Interview with Jolomi

My name is Jolomi, I went through primary school and got my SSCE before venturing into business. I sell medicine and run a chemist [patent medicine store]. It is common amongst women of my age that there’s a lot of ignorance about their bodies and how it works, particularly as it pertains to their reproductive health seeking behaviour. For example, most of the common cases women bring to me are about pregnancies. Like some of them they might be nursing a 2 months old baby and then they’ll come and tell me that they are pregnant. Meanwhile, this same woman might have had four or five children. This goes to show that we, women, need to know the period we should share intimacy with a man. So these women come to me asking me for a solution because they really don’t want to be pregnant yet, or some of them will say they are already pregnant and want to use something to terminate the pregnancy.

Audio excerpt 1

As you well know, prevention is better than cure, so its really important that we know our menstrual cycle so that we’ll know when we should have sex and when we shouldn’t.

I usually carry out a pregnancy test to confirm whether they are actually pregnant or not, it is important to first test for pregnancy. Because some women panic when they don’t see their period two months after delivery, so it’s important to carry out a test, if it’s positive, but if it’s negative then one will confirm that the person is not pregnant.

Usually after the first abortion and I’m able to tell them about their menstrual cycle, and their ‘safe period’, they are usually able to maintain the cycle and will stop making that kind of mistake. Once they learn about it and know it, they never return to me with the same error. And they even go ahead and teach other people about their bodies and their safe periods.

Men don’t experience the kinds of problems women have. It’s god that will have mercy on us women. It is only women that they tell about how to avoid getting pregnant, and the period they have to use condom. This is because its only women that can get pregnant, men don’t get pregnant. On the other hand, men don’t need any kind of warnings or education because they are free. For example when some women are pregnant they won’t feel like having sex again, because of this, such men knowing that if they ask their wives for sex they will get turned down, the man will prefer to have sex with other women.

Audio excerpt 2

What I’m trying to say is that a lot of men lack self-control when it comes to the matter of sex. Even medically it’s difficult for men to control themselves. When men abstain from sex it gives them stomach upset, and this is due to the way their anatomies are made. The stomach upset is caused by the fact that their semen is inside them and they need to release it, so that they’ll become lighter.

A lot of women don’t think about the impact having many children has on the population. For example, let’s say the government did a census last year and counted ten people, whatever plans they have in mind will be for those ten, but if on their return they find out that instead of let’s say 12 people they expected to see, they now find out that there are 2000 people, this causes a lot of difficulty for the government.

The government should make policies and laws that will mandate that female children must go to school up till a certain age, at least until they leave SS3. This will empower them to be able to join in moving the country forward and enable them contribute meaningfully to the society. Many people don’t believe in educating their female children. In some homes they’ll have four children, let’s say two boys and two girls, but they will educate only the boys in a meaningful way. This is because they believe that no matter how well-educated their daughter is, she will end up in the kitchen.

But it’s not supposed to be like that. It shouldn’t be like that. They should understand that women should participate in decision making, so that we women will have power too.

Children should be educated about their reproductive rights and health from the age of 11years. We are all civilized now, and things shouldn’t be covered up again. Sexual rights education should be part of the school’s curriculum, it is also important that parents should have knowledge about these things so that they can also teach their children.

I use family planning methods, the 2 months injection. My children are well spaced, and I don’t suffer from any side effects. Once I stop taking the injections, after six-months, I usually get pregnant. Although I use the services of the health centre in our neighbourhood, I really don’t like going there often. They are always complaining that they don’t have one thing or the other. Their services are never complete, so I prefer going to a private clinic.

To be continued.

  • The interviews were recorded in Yoruba, transcribed and translated to English.
  • The names of correspondents have been changed to protect the identities of the correspondents.
  • For our Yoruba speaking audience audio notes of the women’s interviews are embedded in the article.

 

Find previous interviews here and here.

The void until our mouths speak form

We are the echoes you hear in dark crannies, tormenting you to turn on the lights
We are angry storms causing blackouts
Just as the sun loses its glory at night, so can our words darken a reckless heart,

We are a starless night.

We are the ones who drink unapologetically from beer bottles, unladylike, for we make words and define what they mean
We don’t drink wine from champagne flutes, bourbon with chasers? That’s uncouth!
We are the ones who hear, we listen, we know, we are aware,
Well aware, our words can rend and tear,
Mend hearts with needs dire our words tend to, our words care

We are the angels who knock on doors looking like bums,
The ones you tell to get away with a cry
So we don’t taint your false pride
We are the ones too arrogant to dwell in your circle of ignorance
We were raised to know better than sit in the assembly of fools.

We are the ones your parents warned you about, telling you we are deviants and would amount to nothing for we are art birthing art
We are the Creator’s tools
We are whichever side the coin shows when it’s flipped.
We are heads, we are tails and every other side
We fail forward, we are daring always ready to take leaps

We are shame, we are pride
We are life, we are death
We are shallow, we are depth
We are royalty, we are the peasants, we are the ones who have decreed our loyalty to kings alone.
We occupy temples preaching peace, when we take a piss you find us in fighting rings
We are disasters named after beautiful women, we are beaches walking naked in the most beautiful cities filled with bare chested men.

We are one’s amounting to tens
We are nomads living in tents
We are the devils in r3d dresses we are bound to tempt
We are the saints, you call sinners
The failures who became winners
We are the the squares that fit into triangles
We are angels you call demons
We are walking oxymorons.
We are miracles, we are oracles
We bind fools and set the wise free
We are everything we pretend to be

r3d

Messages, Misogyny and Nigerian Entertainment: Part II

Where were we?  Oh yes, gender messages from the entertainment industry that irritate me or put another way, the reason why when I’m consuming Nigerian entertainment, I’m usually either  angry or pretending not to be a feminist.

 

  1. The enlightened artist poking light fun at women. These are the kind of artists that I usually could listen to and watch all day – clever, funny, enlightened young men, banging beats, trendy hip outfits, cool dance moves, interesting lyrics…until the topic turns to women. Then they turn into finger wagging, self-righteous turds with indulgent grins on their faces as they tell you that they are good men but really! Aren’t women just generally unreasonable?!

I have no objection to men singing or rapping about bad experiences with women (it’s only when I realise how often female artists in Nigeria sing about how keen they are to die for a man they’ve just met that my mood turns dark) but again it’s the generalisation, the division, lack of any attempt to analyse societal reasons for this so-called unreasonable behaviour, the assumption that they can tell us what to be that ….well let’s just say it upsets me a bit. I will just add that perhaps if some of these artists had women staff above the role of receptionist, they may have a more rounded view of the female gender.

  1. Male celebrities that bemoan the fact that women of nowadays are no longer like their mothers and that the search for modern, new-fangled things like gender equality, a desire to be treated decently and some semblance of a life outside the family is what is ruining marriages. I won’t waste too much time on this one as I will be veering into the murky world of lambasting people whose view-points are the exact opposite of mine. I doubt if those people would have gotten past line 3 of this rant. I’ll just say this, what ruins marriages is bad behaviour. It could be bad behaviour of either or both spouses. However, when men behave badly and women do not put up with it, the women are ruining the marriages and/or failing to keep her toddler-king, sorry husband, from completely throwing his toys out the pram.
  2. Lyrics. So many examples but this one stands outs:  If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then according to some Nigerian songs, the way to a woman’s heart is through mild but consistent harassment. Let me illustrate:

“I say I need you girl

You say you need some time

But time e no dey girl

Answer me on time

I dey beg you say make you follow me

You tell say you no love me” (from Sade by Adekunle Gold)

Well then, I think the answer is no, mate. There is a similar (but somewhat more aggressive) sentiment in his song ‘Friendzone’.

The singer (who I love and who has written many wonderful songs celebrating the humanity of women) is of course only expressing what already happens in society.   Some would even say the characters in his songs are being romantic. Certainly, when I was growing up in Nigeria, a guy was expected to chase a girl and if he accepted the first (and second and third) no, he wasn’t ‘serious’. Similarly, if a girl said yes to a date at the first ask then she was ‘easy’ and the victory was not ‘sweet’. To be fair, all over the world, the chase is lauded as a sign of true romance.

However, when does no mean no? Isn’t this game dangerous in respect of the issue of consent? What happened when I was growing up was that a girl had to finally tell the guy in an aggressive, unpleasant and rude way that she wasn’t interested for him to finally get the message. Any niceness was a sign that there was still a chance.

 

  1. When a male celebrity is caught cheating and there’s the understandable and predictable backlash on social media or wherever and some pompous soul takes it upon him (or her) self to point out that no one ever said the man in question was a ‘perfect husband’

Apparently the only qualification for being a perfect husband is not cheating. A perfect wife, on the other hand, needs to be a great cook (and cook all the time), raise perfect children, have a flawless and youthful figure and face, have her own money, hand you her salary every month, NEVER question you, be humble, wash her husband’s pants by hand, cure cancer…you get the picture. Cheating doesn’t come into it. A woman who cheats is a demon. A man who cheats is ‘not perfect’. All together ladies “WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR YOU TO BE PERFECT, JUST DON’T CHEAT (and add disgrace by letting them catch your ass on camera)!!!!!”

Rant over. Soapbox under the bed. I’m just glad we’re having the conversation.

 

Tracy Ofarn

 

Messages, Misogyny and Nigerian Entertainment: Part 1

 Chimamanda Adichie once said that feminism is not a cloak that she puts on and takes off as the circumstances suit. I’m afraid that when it comes to enjoying Nigerian entertainment, whether its comedy, films, music, or blogs, I often have to take that cloak right off, put it aside and cover it with another cloak, for good measure.One thing I hear a lot, in response to Nigerian feminism, is why do they have to be so angry, rude, unpleasant? My question is this: Is it possible to be a Nigerian feminist and NOT be angry.  So much of Nigerian entertainment (and virtually everything else) has a gloss of the most blatant sexism that, let me tell you, unless I take off that cloak, I’m foaming at the mouth half the time.
Just for the heck of it, I’ll take a deep breath and try to narrow down the things that make my blood boil into a tidy list.
1. The gold-digging narrative. Comedy and comedic music are especially guilty of this. Apparently, a woman will be the most appalling bitch until you ‘show her the money’ at which point she will turn into the sweetest thing who will forgive you and give you anything. When I say woman, I don’t mean ‘good woman’, of course. A good woman, upon setting eyes on you, will apparently sell her siblings to put you through school so you can reward her by marrying her and keeping her in the background for the rest of her life, but that’s another topic.My thoughts on this? If there is a high incident of gold-digging among Nigerian women (and I’d like to see the statistics please), it’s for 2 reasons – the Nigerian economy has been messed up for a long time and pussy is easy to sell. You better believe that if dick was as easy to sell in Nigeria, these men would be balancing it on their heads like Olajumoke the bread seller.What makes me so bitter is not that very few people acknowledge the role men play in these transactions. It’s the fact that if a young woman decides to work hard at university and her job to make her money, there’s a high chance that she will be subjected to so much sexual harassment (what’s the penalty for that, in Nigeria, I wonder) from her lecturers, employers and company clients that she might be left wondering whether it wasn’t just easier to sleep with that rich married man in the first place.

2. The use of hoe/slut/pom/karashika/Jezebel (the born-again version) and other variations. Those words have become meaningless nouns to describe a range of women from a paid sex worker to a woman who annoyed you at the bus stop to a woman who has exactly the same morals as the man calling her a hoe. It’s an age-old tactic to demonise women, justify bad treatment of women, keep the ‘Madonnas’ separate from the ‘whores’ and to get other women to buy into the division, as long as they get to be the Madonnas . It started with witches in the Middle Ages and got down to bitches. It doesn’t actually mean anything. Eldee, in a recent twitter rant, called Amber Rose and Kim Kardiashian hoes (actually he said ‘hoe ambassador’ which I thought was rather clever) but in reality they are just women that seem to have normal sex/relationship lives but like to, for some reason, put their naked bodies on blast. Lesson: It doesn’t mean anything, those words are just used to scare women into ‘behaving’.

3. Don’t get it twisted. Some women will act the damn fool for no apparent reason. In Nigeria,  when a woman acts  crazy, not only is she labelled for life, society immediately identifies an imaginary pack of women, who all apparently behave the same way, and labels them accordingly. The woman isn’t just a bitch – she’s one of them ‘bitches’. When a man behaves terribly, he’s a ‘work in progress’ and ‘God is still working on him’ because you know ‘anything is possible with Jesus’.

4. Male celebrities who loudly and repeatedly insist they want a hard working woman, how they can’t stand “laziness in a woman” and how she should bring something (usually money) to the table. For a while, I couldn’t really figure out what irritated me so much about these statements. I don’t actually buy into the whole idea that the man is the main ‘provider’ in a marriage or relationship.Apart from the implication that women are naturally lazy gold-diggers (see above), what bugs me about this statement? Reading an interview with a popular Kenyan actor who has made similar statements, the light bulb suddenly flicked on. He was asked if he could cook and he said no. No. Without apology or explanation. So what does he expect to be doing so while his wife is out there hustling for her half of the moolah and she calls him. “Honey, I have a late meeting, could you give the kids their tea and put them in bed” – “Ah, but you know, I can’t cut onion without you…..”There are 2 things going on here. Firstly domestic work, usually the domain of women in Nigeria and the rest of the world, is being devalued. It doesn’t matter how well she keeps your home and your children and how much that enables you to be the successful person you are, if she isn’t earning, she’s a leech. Secondly, you want her to continue her traditional female role (I mean you may help out but the home is her ‘responsibility’), and then somehow go out and have the same earning power as you have. Bonus point: You want her to be financially independent while you remain domestically dependent.Some (must always remember to say ‘some’) of the guys have a really good gig here. They get to shame women for being poor or gold diggers while ignoring the factors that keep women from making money – less job opportunities, getting paid less for the same job, sexual harassment or coercion at work, hours spent on doing all the domestic work. And also! They’ve decided that domestic work isn’t worth anything while carefully avoiding it themselves! Hurrah!

To be continued…

 

Tracy Ofarn

 

​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 

​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.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: