I hope you’re making money, I hope you’re taking out time to be with friends, time to breathe and party. I hope you’re getting laid, getting well laid. But most importantly I hope you’re healthy and happy.
I understand how difficult it is to be a Nigerian, woman, to self-identify as feminist, to do this work of nation building by dismantling the patriarchy one damn brick at a time.
I understand how it feels to have reductive terms like ‘bitter aunty’, Facebook/Twitter feminist, etcetera thrown in your face each time you stand up for yourself and other women. I understand how tired you get when you open your account in the morning to the howling of trolls in your mentions, on your feed. I understand how you sometimes despair when ignorant people with the emotional intelligence of a rock and the IQ of the size of a grain of sand starts TELLING you how to be.
I am in your shoes.
But I want you to know that you’re doing alright, you’re rattling cages, things are no longer the same and it’s because you’re lending your voice and muscles to making this change. You are doing amazing darling. You are the dreams of your ancestors, you are beautiful, inside out.
Don’t forget to keep your eye on the ball. We will have equality, we will have bodily autonomy, we will have our sexual and reproductive rights. We will use our voices.We will have anything we set our sights on because we are human. We will have all our rights, we have power, we will use it.
I’m sending you peace and love. I’m sending you basket-fulls of not-giving-a-fuck.
Let me tell you one small something that happened yesterday morning.
As I alighted from the bus that conveyed me to my work place, a young man was making cat calls. Me, I almost never respond to anyone making psst sounds at me. If you can’t politely call out ‘hello’ or ‘excuse me, please’, then forget the message. But this one was persistent and as though he read my thoughts, he switched to ‘Excuse me!’ So I grinned to myself and turned back to him. He moved closer and pointed at my chest, muttering some words.
Man. You should see the little rush of embarrassment that ran through me as I looked down at my shirt and noticed that all the buttons on my chest region flapped open! And there was no camisole! And I cannot wear full fleshed bras even to save my life! Ha. I thanked him, walked a distance and buttoned up.
But this is what I really want to say: there are many guys who notice such things like a girl stained from her period, a torn slit in a skirt, straying bra straps, panty lines, unzipped trouser, a woman’s wrapper almost falling off and many of such sights. But you know what they do? They ogle and laugh and make jests and point fingers and take pictures and put them up on Instagram and Facebook with captions like ‘bitches’ ‘hoe busted’ ‘o boy, see bobbi’ ‘if they rape this one now, she will start talking’ ‘doomed for hell, indecent bastard’ ‘look at her, no shame. Cannot buy ordinary pad, but can afford that ugly makeup. Winsh’ and many other silly comments that will follow.
We live in a world where a woman is guilty of everything, both what she knows and what she knows not.