One of the funniest jokes in the whole wide world, and one of the most serious question is … who owns the breast? Man or baby.
Now you might think we are exaggerating but we dare you go to any gathering where alcohol and food is flowing in abundance, and a lady with an amazing posterior, aka breast, passes by, and come back with that claim of exaggeration.
This topic has been discussed for years, accompanied by titters and uncomfortable avoidance of one another’s eyes, but it never loses it’s freshness … who owns the breast?
Ownership is the operative word here.
A sitting senator, Shehu Sanni, last year did a brave thing, something that most Nigerian politicians shy away from. He declared his assets.
This honest and forthright deed broke more than the taboo of asset declaration and Nigerian politicians, it also broke the silence on what an average Nigerian man considers his property.
Senator Sani Jibril listed his wives and children in the asset declaration form. And instead of being outraged, Nigerian journals praised him for this heroic deed with the blazing headline Meet The Senator That Declared His Wives Among His Assets….Right Or Wrong?
Actually, the headline was clickbait for those nosey feminists and gender rights activists, because the content of the article did not question the rightness or wrongness of his declaration. It simply went on about his ‘bravery’ and ‘heroism’.
Let’s be candid, we know that a lot of Nigerian men consider their wives and children as their property. And post-birth, women are ‘allowed’ by their husbands to ‘breastfeed’ the baby, with the ‘understanding’ that the breasts actually, really, truly belongs to him.
Don’t get us wrong, women also discuss this ‘important’ issue with a lot of tittering.
Wikipedia defines bodily integrity[autonomy] as the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal autonomy and the self-determination of human beings over their own bodies. It considers the violation of bodily integrity as an unethical infringement, intrusive, and possibly criminal.
In simple English, Wikipedia is saying that your body belongs to you, to do with as you like. Bodily autonomy is your right, as backed up by Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
The question is why do Nigerian men believe they OWN a woman’s body?
Culture: They believe that once they pay ‘bride price’ this means they have bought their wives. Actually any man who thinks this way is recognized under the law as a criminal, because in a sense, you’re admitting that you’ve partaken in human trafficking.
Religion: Many clerics, both in Nigeria and other parts of the world are fond of misquoting and taking things stated in their different holy books out of context.
Sexism: The sexism prevalent in the country, due to the fact that a lot more value has been placed on a male child, gives men the impression that they have the right to the body of any woman they meet. That’s why the boys at Yaba, or any large market, would grab at any girl they see, sexual harassment is rampant in both schools and offices, unchecked. Because men have been taught that women are less, that they are the head, women are … sidekicks.
And why do women take it? Because of the above listed, and a lot of us don’t know that we have the power to sue harassers … and win! Check this out … Former Microsoft Nigeria Employee gets N39m for unlawful Sack after Sexual Harassment and this Supreme Court – Female Child can Inherit Property in Igboland.
Yes we understand how utterly outrageous it is that we are celebrating these victories in 2016! But it’s a start and we know we are not alone, or helpless, or have to submit to dehumanization because culture or religion or the patriarchy says so.
Now back to the question – who owns the breast? Man or the baby?
Please answer the question with the fear of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights… who owns the breast?
…You give away your power the moment you start to believe that you have none…