Hey…shut up! You can be a FEMINIST in your WRITINGS, not your ACTIONS…you hear? Okay!

(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

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Hello, Adichie. I like this piece! I was once in your shoes and your mother looks like a sister to me! You are right, there are many aspects to feminism. But few aspects (equality in domestic chores, for instance) are not compatible with married life! When I was trying to raise my children while working at the same time, I read a book called: “You can’t do it all”, by Irvina Siegel Lew. In it, she was explaining how to delegate chores to all members of the family, in order to survive. And I will be forever grateful to her, for honestly stating this (I am summarizing): your husband will be the first one frustrating your efforts. Most husbands will not help you with the chores because they don’t feel like it! So you can show your man the door, or accept it, because, he still is a wonderful companion. You will have to explain to your children that their dad will be excused from the teamwork because he was wrongly raised to believe that it is the woman job, but it is not your own belief thereby, zero tolerance for you, children!(end of the summary)
    This is hard to accept, but once you have done that, it saves you a lot of hardship and quarrels in your marriage! But a question still remains though, with all these boys raised by feminist mothers, how come the change is still not obvious? I suppose seeing their father waiting for the food to be brought to the table, influence their minds more than our discourses!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. adichiebabz says:

    Omg!! Thankz 4 dz beautiful comment with imbedded advice…I have to read the book “you can’t do it all”…😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Irvina Lew says:

      Here’s the reply that I sent Gloria….
      Dear Gloria,

      You can imagine how thrilled I was, today, when my youngest daughter came across your note–some 16 months after you wrote it–.and I read praise for the book I wrote which was published in 1986? or so. The fact that I connected with you is such a great joy to me. That was what I had hoped to do…connect with my friends, my daughters, my students and all the busy moms working at home and on the “job”–of whatever sort.

      What interests me about your mention of the husband who is not a part of the team effort is that I had wanted to write a subsequent book about husbands but it never sold…it could (should?) still be written. What I think, after all these decades, is this: women who don’t need to be in control of every little detail of their children’s lives welcome the ideas that work; the rest would rather complain about doing it all.
      Gloria, if you get this, I can be reached at: http://www.irvinalew.com and irvinalew@gmail.com. I don’t know where in the world you live, but I’d love to meet you.
      With sincere thanks,

      Irvina

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! I am so thrilled to hear from you, Irvina! You have no idea how your book helped me! I live in Lagos, Nigeria now, but we certainly could meet someday and I will love that! I read your book in French, while I was raising my two daughters in France. It helped me a lot in the overwhelming process of being a Feminist and a good mother at the same time! The part where you advise to leave the husband out of the equation when planning the house chores came as such a relief for me, as my unsuccessful attempts were driving me crazy (not that my husband is the worst of the lot (just kidding), on the contrary, he would prepare lunch on a daily basis for our daughters, but still, his idea of a good wife didn’t entails sharing the house chores equally!
        Can you imagine that now that my daughters are grown up, I still open your book to remind me of the ideal schedule in balancing work, family time and writing. I lack discipline, and when I need to get back on track, I go back to your book!
        My warmest regards,
        Glory.

        Like

    2. Irvina Lew says:

      Dear Glory,
      My bad, I made the mistake of changing your name Glory… with a name like Irvina, I’m sensitive to the issue and I apologize. Irvina

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim says:

    bookmarked!!, I like your blog!

    Like

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