(A conversation in a Nigerian home on the issue of feminism)
Ann: Mum when I grow up I would like to merge our surname with my husband name.
Mom: What! When I wanted to do that your father did not allow me.
Ann: Mom! But ‘m a feminist and I can choose to merge my name.
Mom: Hehhee…darling did you hear your daughter? She said she’s a feminist. (Laughing)
Dad: You better keep quiet, how many feminist have you seen getting married?
Mom: Abi o…when I got married to your father, most of my mates had stopped giving birth…I was thirty when I gave birth to you…being pregnant in ones thirties is not easy.
Ann: Uhn! (Frowning)
Dad: Most of these women that call themselves feminist are divorced women; some are frustrated single women who want to destroy other people’s happy homes.
Ann: Dad, but Chimamanda Adichie is a feminist! She is married and she doesn’t seem frustrated. Beyonce is a feminist, and she’s also married .There are some women who may not identify as feminist, but take part in different ways pertaining to this movement.
Dad: Even though…hmm…don’t be a feminist…I want to kill cows in my compound in the next few years.
Mom: I was once like you, hot tempered! Always quarrelling with the guys in my class about the movement of feminism, equality and those stuffs…it got to a time when no guy wanted to have anything to do with me…if a guy wanted to make an attempt they would quickly warn him that I was a “no go area”. Men like calm women…no man want to argue with a woman all day long about rights. Over the years I tried changing to subdue the act in me, and that was how I met your father.
Ann: Uhn! You know a feminist doesn’t just agitate for equality; there are lots of oppressed women, silenced women looking for means to voice out. Do you read stories at all? Young girls are raped and killed afterwards, young girls who are raped and forced to marry their rapist. Some women are killed by their husband for cheating as if some of those men do not engage in sexual relationships with their neighbors wife. Religion and culture are oppressing women, making them slaves to different things. Feminism also appeals to women to uphold other women, not to slut shame each other, not to break her fellow woman’s home by dating a married man, feminism appeals for girl education…Haven’t you heard of Malala a 17 years old girl who of recent won the Nobel Peace award…she was shot in the head for agitating for girl education…feminism is education.. Feminism is not just about equali…
Dad: Shut up….the world has always been like that…I know you love writing, you can write about feminism, put it in your writings not in our actions…I don’t want to hear anything about feminist whatever again.
Ann: Okay…(her inner thoughts, “like your opinions matter, I am who I am, I became a feminist even when I didn’t know a word like that existed ,if you ban me from saying that word…one day I would leave your house and I won’t care about what you think again).
© Adichie Babz