Some men damage women, it can be her father with daddy issues, it can start at any age with men groping when no one is looking. It can be full blown rape, almost rape, and many other forms of sexual harassment. They land a blow on her psyche, killing her self esteem and confidence in her skin. She has heard so much “No” and “It’s your fault” from the gatekeepers of patriarchy. They make her feel like she doesn’t deserve love and will never find it. She believes it. She hardens herself against it. Suddenly, a man will come and give her love and respect. He’ll do the barest minimum but make her feel seen. Sis, you feel like you owe him so much for helping you heal and find peace. These good men aren’t necessarily giving you therapy because sis, you’re still broken. But he loves your curves and edges. With no sense of self, you fall into a dependancy on him for your sense of worth. You find one good man out of a thousand frogs, so you let it make up for all the bad. And that’s okay too. Now you don’t feel the need to speak up against men anymore, or call out the ones in your past in the name of moving on, because, hey, you got one good one. You tell every other sister to go search for their own good man just like you did, there’s hope! Do you remember the saying about kissing many frogs before finding a price? Yeah, it’s just the everyday life in femininity.
That’s the second reason the “good” men never speak up. They’re okay taking broken “left overs” from the scum men and patching it up. The bad men keep women in check, they mould them, groom them, and kill their inner voices for the good men. By the time you finally meet a prince-frog, you’re exhausted and docile and ready to do anything to keep him. Even when you meet your one good man straight up, your head is filled with all these stories from your brother-in-laws, your uncles, twitter, about how bad it can get. See, even your whole family members will blame you if you lose him, and always take his side because “can’t you see he’s not like other men”. I’ve seen stories where a man speaks about what it’s like to date a woman living with rape trauma, and people were clapping for him! “Oh so nice of you to withstand all her emotional tantrums bra”. It’s the racket. Why are you waiting to fix things when it’s damaged when you can fix it at the roots!!
Look at wedding traditions. A father who didn’t raise his daughter, not the mother who did all the work and taught her how to cook and be a good wife, will say he must give his blessings before he lets her marry. He is the one who walks her down the aisle. Look at igbo wedding nonsense. Boyfriend will say he cannot marry you, or propose, without your fathers blessings. As per man-to-man respect. You know how men are big on respecting each other’s manliness. That’s the third reason why they don’t call each other out. Men believe so much in their autonomy to make decisions and never want to be called out, by each other, “talkless”, by a lesser gender.
After travelling to the village to introduce boyfriend, the father treats the daughter inhumanely in the boyfriend’s presence. But treats boyfriend like respectable thrash, because, man na man. They get back to the city and girlfriend starts apologizing. Boyfriend says it’s okay, but he says it with this absolute air of importance, you know, he has degraded himself all in the name of love for her. But hey, anything for his baby girl. All through the wedding journey, it is hanging over the girls head like a tyler perry wig. She is constantly apologizing for her fathers obtuse behaviour. She is constantly deferring to bae because bae keeps using it as leverage, to get his ego soothed. He might even threaten to call it off just to hear more begging. Oh, some men call the whole wedding off because they never want to marry a woman without her fathers blessings. Manly respect. Many igbo women have lost the love of their lives over a tradition that they stand to gain nothing from! That has to be the complicity. That has to be the inherent emotional privilege men get from a system that degrades women.
If you think I’m far from the point, then WHY! Explain it to me please i genuinely don’t get why you are silent! Why do you feel it is not your struggle? Why do the tears of women you claim have power, not move you to change things? Why are you the ones who actually gain from a woman’s trauma and daddy issues even when you didn’t create it? Because that’s the privilege! Because when some whites subjugate blacks and other people of colour, at the end of the day, all whites get to keep their white collar jobs, still control wealth and economy, and every other race are the cashiers, the underpaid nurses, people whose jobs are always risky, and never have health insurance. It is systematic privilege.
Team Not-all-men. Team How dare you accuse the father of the child. Team Women rape too. Ok, you’re angry. Do something about it. Do something about rape, femicide and the state of gender inequality. Stop sounding like white people when they start saying “All lives matter” in response to “black lives matter”. Because all that does is acknowledge you have privileges while using mere words to force women to believe we share those same privilege. Use your actions!
Women under men in the pecking order. A black man pecks women lower in the scale, without fear of retaliation, and submits to pecking by one of higher rank, Whites. The hierarchy of humanity from where I stand today is, White man >> White woman >> Black man >> Black woman >>. In fact, after that is Mother>>Wife>>Single Woman. Because when you have a man to qualify your existence, then you can rank higher in your subgroup. After we fight BLM movement finish, then we now fight solo fight against gender inequality! There’s so much injustice in the world, but at the bottom of it, is a Black Woman. You can’t deny women equality and expect that they will be treated humanely. it’s just logical.
There are many indiscriminate laws in place against women that are easily invoked, and proudly supported by men. Some even say, it’s to protect the woman, hence, women are enjoying more. You cannot take away freedom of choice from a person, call it protection, then now call that privilege! That’s insane. Gender Based Violence; Rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, acid throwing, reproductive coercion, female infanticide, prenatal sex selection, obstetric violence, revenge porn, online gender-based violence and mob violence all exist, because women are still disadvantaged socially, legally, economically and financially which makes women the easy prey.
There are too many faux appreciation ways that are used to make women feel like they run the world, Mother’s Day 5 times a year, some men are even becoming too tired to celebrate. Even non-mothers hop on it because, how often do they get to shine in their gender? The only place a woman can run freely and effortlessly is her kitchen and her female children. She doesn’t run her entire home because well, the man is the head. The man takes his male child as second in command, so even in a home structure, a father and a male son are first citizens, and can get away with anything, once they invoke the Man Card.
I am genuinely too tired to do this fight right now. I have to deal with my very personal life and issues. I have to deal with a life altering pandemic and economic depression. I have to deal with Africa and everyone of African descent being treated like thrash, in America and everywhere else. Then I have to deal with being a woman, my uterus, my hormones, body hair, my periods, the financial cost of periods, health complications of period, the financial costs of the many products I have to buy and use because my hormones have physical, visible symptoms. I have to deal with the trauma I have, solely because I’m a woman. I have to deal with the fear I have solely because I’m a woman, where does the struggle even end?! I still keep a knife within reach whenever a handyman comes into the house and my husband isn’t home. That, is an inherent female struggle.
I can’t do this fight right now because I’m holding it together by a thread. Because if I unzip one level, the dam will push out and it’ll be a tsunami of tears, setting back a thousand years of healing I’ve achieved, in one day.
I can’t do this fight right now and I applaud those who are. Someone told me, we fight in shifts. So on today’s shift, let your voices be heard. Let your placards be seen. Let the men around you know, they have privilege. So many privileges, and sharing some won’t in any way reduce the quality of their lives. It will better it. Be called angry, aggressive, be called prostitute. It’s all just synonyms with being called, Woman. And you can rest tomorrow, because burning out does no one any good.
We are a legion, and we are all as strong as the whole.