Messages, Misogyny and Nigerian Entertainment: Part II

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

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

 

Bisi’s Wedding Diaries

Bisi’s Wedding Diaries

5 October at 07:50 

As today marks exactly 30 days to my wedding, I will be doing 30 things to be grateful for. Today, I am grateful for #airport. I never thought in my life I would spend so much time at airports, neither did I know that the world will be my oyster. Coming from #Mushin, we were made to know that people like us can only dream. I am happy that like the dream of getting married, airport has given my dream of world domination wings to fly. #gaymarriage#30daysofthankfulness

6 October at 11:57 

Day 2 of 30 days to my wedding of 30 things to be grateful of. On the 6th October 2004, I sat on that sofa with Funmi Iyanda and I came out. She gave me the opportunity in no patronizing nor condescending way to tell my story. On that day I learnt the power of truth and authenticity. I learnt that life is what you make of it. I was a 29years old boy, just graduating from university with a prominent role in ‘Roses and Thorns’ a soap series on Galaxy Television. I lost everything after coming, but I gained today. Life was preparing for a journey beyond my expectations. In 29 days, I will say I do to a man I have come to find solace in his arms. #gaymarriage#30daysofthankfulness #newdawnwithfunmiiyanda #comingout#lgbtcomingout #authenticity #ido

7 October at 08:42 ·

Day 3 of 30 days of thankfulness of 30 days to my wedding. In 2014, around about this time, a friend sent me an email to a link to a fellowship program. I have applied for a couple before then and I have always been rejected. So when he sent me the form, I looked over it and ignored it. It will be another rejection. Two weeks later, my agent called me and said she saw a fellowship that she thinks will be great for me, it was the same fellowship. I told her I am not interested. She pushed me and I told her they will not pick me as I am not good enough. The following week, I was at Funmi Iyanda’s and she told me about the same fellowship and she was like ‘I am also a fellow of similar program with same organisation, I can nominate you’. She made me see why I should at least try.
So I went home and spent the night filling the form. I sent it to my agent who read it and made some corrections and add more information. She was angry that my low self esteem has made me leave out very important information. We sent the form and waited. A big part of me was waiting but the doubting part of me just kept telling me, get in with life. Few months later, I was in Berlin with my agent when the email came. I couldn’t open it. I thought it was rejection, but she did and screamed for job. I have been shortlisted. I was not happy, i felt it was just prolonging my rejection. Few weeks later, I did a Skype interview with the team in DC and few weeks later I received another email. I have been selected.
I became a fellow of @aspeninstitute and #aspennewvoices. It was a journey that changed my life. I started having platforms I never thought of in my life. I started having access to people that will look at me and instantly believe in me and want to help me make that dream come true. Through the fellowship, I was trained by @mothstories and then I did #tedxberlin and I have travelled around the world. I have written a lot of articles and became friends with @caitlynjenner and many more.

It feels so surreal when I think about it. It is this reason that today, on my 3rd day of thanksfulness, I want to thank the team at Aspen New Voices and my fellow fellows for believing in me.

10 October at 10:34 ·  

Day 6 of 30 days to my wedding of 30 things to be grateful for. Today I want to be thankful for my childhood. Many times we concentrate on the now and forgetting the journey it took to get to now. The laughter, the joy, the pains and the tears. My childhood was not perfect and I am happy it was not, but it was a journey I am proud of. I carry my joy and pains on the sleeves but most importantly, my childhood taught me what matters in the world. The essence of compassion, love and empathy. I learnt that sitting on the fence was not a neutral act. That silence is not golden. That boy can not and should not always be boys at the expense of girls. That I can play with dolls, pink dolls, pain my face and catwalk. Yes, sometimes I get beaten for it, but the hard headed boy I was, my passion and not the rejection was my childhood driver. As a loner, growing up in my head and in my world, I hardly make excuse for my action. I was thought to say sorry when wrong and never to say it unless I am sure I am wrong. I spent my childhood being a child and maybe that’s why, as a adult, I am still a child. Get angry like a child, smile like a child, think like a child, eat like one, sleep like one, and perform like one. I am Peter Pan but with the vision of an adult. Dear Ademola, Ojo, Kazeem, Iyanda Alimi, thanks for making the adult that is Adebisi Ademola Alimi. Next month I will marry my husband with the spirit of a child, will laugh with that spirit, enjoy the moment that my childhood has spent 41years preparing for my adulthood. In the presence of my friends, families and loved one, with shine on my face like a proud child, I will look into the eyes of my lover and say; I DO! #equalmarriage #samesexwedding#gaymarriage #ido #childhood #growingup

11 October at 11:55 · 

Day 7 of 30 to my wedding of 30 things to be grateful for. I want to celebrate everyone of you that has refused to turn a blind eye to bullying. Be it sexism, homophobia, racism, fatism, shortism and any other horrible isms out there that makes other look in the mirror and hate themselves. You bravely has given many people the courage to see another. You might not know this, but it is true. Every time to put a bully in their place and hug their victim, you have touched a life with love and compassion. Making life worthy is not in the amount of money you invest in it, but the amount of love. On social media a lot of people think it is their responsibility to invade other people’s space, call them names and tell them out to live their lives. I have been a victim of that. Many times I really would love to log off and delete my profile but gosh! You guys will not only stand up to these insecure people who wants to use other as a source of self confidence, but many of you will send messages and ring me. Today is to you. Thank you.
That is why I am begging you, that come the 20th of this month, join me and @glaad and other millions of people in the world as we say NO! to bullies. Turn your page purple in honour of people who lost their lives because of insecurities of others. You never know, you might just be saving the life of someone, destined to make the world a better place. Once again, to you all! Thank you #spiritday #spiritday2016 #ido #samesexwedding #gaymarriage#equalmarriage

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.

Cooking 101

Cooking 101

First the beer

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Cut the chicken

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Fetch the spices (Note: There is no such thing as overspicing)

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Soak your plantain in blended tomatoes and rodo overnight

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Top up your beer as you suddenly realize you can’t abandon this shit halfway

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The most important part of cooking is keeping the cook lubricated – Chris Bankole

Season chicken

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Don’t worry about getting your fingers dirty

Gist about setting up a Mexican Restaurant in Ibadan

Laugh at the fact that you don’t know how to cook Mexican food

Gist about a crooked vegetable delivery man called Ahmeed

Fry chicken

 

There is such a thing as too much oil!

I used to know a cook, fantastic guy, nasty when sober, nice when drunk – Chris

Chop tomatoes, rodo, onions

Blend

Let the chicken simmer

drink some more beer

start to clean up

Discuss – Where do jobless alcoholics get money to buy alcohol and other existential questions

Fry the pepe

 

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Add one cube of knorr and a teaspoonful of salt

Leave spoon inside the pot

Parboil rice (shit I forgot the picture!)

Drink some more beer

Touch spoon which is hellishly hot

Scream

Drink some more beer

Start clearing the kitchen

 

Realize this shit is no joke

drink some more beer

Discuss painting houses, past, present, future

Would you describe the labour you put into painting a house as intense as the one you put into cooking a pot of jollof rice?

Realize you’ve been staring at your empty cup, horror!

How do Cooks do it?

How do women who work nine to five, come home and do this?

Remember you’re not even in your own cramped up, nepaless kitchen

Remember how useful kitchen gadgets are, how marvelous running water, electricity and a huge zinc are

Start frying dodo

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Realize you’ve been at this for over one hour

Swear like a sailor

Throw rice in the pepe

 

Discuss Death – everybody dies

Discuss A woman’s place is in the kitchen

Seriously?

Discuss spending two hours in the kitchen to prepare food for five people

Promise death to the next person who says ‘housewives’ do nothing all day

Come closer and tell me how a woman should do all the cooking…

  • Ayodele Olofintuade

For women who walk on the dark-side

For women who walk on the dark-side

This is for you… Yes you on those high, high heels. Your bright red lipstick, your body fitting clothes showing plump backsides, bouncy breasts, you’re enough your dreams are valid
For you trawling the streets of Ayilara, Ikeja, Mokola, Agbani Market in the dead of night,  turning tricks… You are human, your dreams are valid
This is for you on Teevee, twerking to the beats of violence, your Brazilian weaves, 12inches of lashes of nails, you’re enough, your dreams are valid
This is for you, yes you of the dark desires, BDSM, fantasies, role plays, you that like them plenty, like them rough, like them period. You’re human you’re real, your dreams are valid
This for you that don’t fit in, you don’t like sex, you don’t like kisses, orgasm is just not your thing,  you’re enough your dreams are valid
This is for you who loves other women, you like them wild you like them pretty you love to wipe their lipsticks off with tender kisses, you’re human, your dreams are valid
This is for you my beauty queen,  named as one sex but you know it’s not true, toss your weaves my wo-man my pretty you’re human your dreams are valid
This is for you my warrior princess your kombat boots, your low cut hair, your swagger, bow-tie, skinny jeans,  you’re human your dreams are valid
This is for all my girls that walk on the dark side, the edgy, the non-conformists, the girls wearing tats, piercings, nose rings…
you’re enough your dreams are valid…

– Ayodele Olofintuade

…You sometimes feel like a sea shell…

…You sometimes feel like a sea shell…

As a girl you sometimes feel like a sea shell – beautiful, intricate, thrown up from the underbelly of nature, but belonging to the world. Neighbours, friends, strangers, and family members. Unfortunately, in no way akin to beautiful sea shells, your breasts and vagina are sources of electric conversation and unintelligent analyses for people who have neither seen nor touched them.
.
You almost want to apologize for having breasts and a vagina. Maybe your mother will stop being so angry with you over nothing – as she seems to have been since your menstrual cycle made an appearance. Perhaps your father will smile at you a little more and not get grumpy when you receive innocent phone calls on your mobile.

“Is it not ordinary breast and vagina? What is all this?”

It is not ‘ordinary breast and vagina’, my friend. Were you not told that your vagina is a burden you carry, a red gash – an inflammation you must be careful not to trigger? When your breasts start growing, you are in double trouble. They must never quiver, they must be caged by tight bras otherwise you are calling attention to yourself and “anything wey your eye see make you use your head carry am”.
.
For many girl children, sex is not something you ‘own’. If you experiment at sixteen with a boy of sixteen, you are automatically the slut and he is the adventurer. Sex is just not something the world permits you to be associated with, AT ALL. If you want it, you are a ‘dog’. Your body’s biology becomes a problem. You cannot swing your hips, it means you want to be fucked. You cannot prettify your face, it means you want to be fucked. Your hormones are doing what Mother Nature requires them to do and your unconscious acquiescence means you want to be fucked, maybe by one man, maybe by two, or maybe gang-bangs are your thing?

And so what if you actually do want sex as a teenager? Teenagers want sex, dammit! It is a natural desire and it is not wrong, neither is it your fault. What you do with it is what counts and that’s where sex-education is supposed to come in. Unfortunately many parents fail at it, especially with their female children.

It is just really painful how being a girl, you as a sexual being are repressed. Your desires are required to be bound tightly with strong rope and carted into the bin of denial. In exchange you are bestowed with the burden of ducking sex. In other words, as a girl child one of the reasons you are alive is to prevent yourself from being fucked, literally and metaphorically. Never mind the perpetrators – it’s all on you.

If sex ‘happens to you’ without your permission, it is your fault. You wanted it, you Jezebel, and you made sure you got it, now you say you’ve been raped. Even toddlers have been blamed for their own rapes. You enticed your father. Your uncle could not resist your swinging hips that have only been weaned from diapers six months ago. Your neighbor’s penis got swollen and hard when he saw your lips sucking on your pacifier. Throw away your pacifier! You are seducing your uncle!

Nkiru Njoku