The Feminist Mistake

In the recent times we have had women in Africa standing up for what they think is right – being the way they expect women to be treated.

Feminism being defined as “the advocacy of women’s right on the grounds of political, social and economic equality” to me has largely been misunderstood by perception. In my opinion, feminism doesn’t totally rule out your role as an African woman – mother in the home rather it singles out strong willed women, show casing their hard work and the need for recognition bearing in mind that being a mother or not does not reduce you as a person neither does it affect your capacity to contribute to the political, social or economic cycle to make the world a better place.

Now it is imperative to understand that the average African man doesn’t see himself in a competition with the women rather he sees himself as to being superior to them and I must say this is the greater edge for the men folks.

I had a discussion with some group of ladies on their take on feminism and women’s right and from that short discussion, I understood that many young ladies out there sees feminism as a means of escaping the homely duties. I am not quite sure on who to put the blame on but don’t bear grudges if I decide to lay the blame of the feminist out there. It’s either someone is passing the wrong message down to her followers via words or action or someone somewhere is getting it all wrong.

I understand that you can speak and write but you can’t also assume the role of understanding it for each and every lady who comes across your articles or podcast but when the number of misconceptions becomes invariably high then I believe someone or a group of people are passing down the wrong message.

There is a big difference in being humane and being a feminist. Our feminist have done a good job in standing up to advocate for the women’s right but how many of them can really define this right they stand for?

Until the feminist sit to agree that a woman should never be in competition with any other gender to be a woman, until they understand that your hard work as a woman is imperative to attain proper advocacy for the women, until they understand that the unique power a woman has is super – the ability the multitask and inspire, until they understand that a true African man would respect a hardworking being, be you female or men, until they decide to spread the culture of hard work and consistency, self-respect and self-love, then they will keep passing down the wrong message to the young female generations who look up to them.


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  1. OK, here is my view. Feminism has lost the plot. When it started out it was something that was really needed and in fact, in this day and age it is still very much needed. The problem is that some of us women are trying to use it as an excuse to get stuff we don’t work for. I know a woman who is a stay at home mum, but her husband comes back home after a 10 hour day in the office to do laundry and such. That’s just a lot of foolishness in my book. If she wants her husband to do housework she should also go to the office and help with the finances. I think what feminism should go back to is trying to create a level playing ground for men and women where women pull their own weight as well. And I think feminists should realize that no matter how we try, women will never be men and men will never be women. Women and men are equal, but not the same, like 5+4 = 6+3.

  2. The problem with African Feminism is that we are infusing western ways into ours and this is wrong. If you examine the history of the average African woman, we are workers. We farm along side our male counterparts and what have you. On the other hand, In the west, women in history were mostly for the home and nothing more. If you examine our history, we didn’t have to fight to get voting rights or work certain jobs unlike our western female counterparts.I’m a legal feminist and I’m proud. I focus on changing the law so that women will be well accommodated. Feminist shouldn’t concern themselves with who is cooking and who is not cooking as Nigerian women from way back have always been hardworking, if you’re a doctor, you still do your housework all the same, which you husband can assist with. It is now when women are overburdened with work and the Man is being unreasonable that feminism can come into play. Thank you Elsie for a lovely write up.

  3. Elsie you are just dropping wisdom here. There is the illusion that a movement will somehow change a cultural perception that has been around for ages. I always say the best feminism can do is create systematic equality which was hardly every a problem in Africa. The rest will come with social evolution. But these days you hear babes ranting about feminism and how certain things should not be expected of them because they are women. The same women that still hold classical expectations for me. Zeenike and Alafia nailed it on the head. Speaking of culture though. Eventually all cultures are going to be diluted. You can call it westernization or globalization. It has happened with fashion, music, movies, language, religion, and eventually it will happen with pretty much everything including the concept of what a woman is in society.

    1. Thanks Secrat boss, whatever they are going to be diluted into, lets all just have common sense even though its not common

  4. I wish dis girl my brother wants 2 marry will see dis nd change. She sits in d house all day doin notin bt pressin d iphone 5s he bot 4 her nd wen he comes back 4rm work he’ll cook 4her, serve her then take d plate 2 d kitchen nd wash it. She brings out dfeminist card2 justify her act

    1. I say it always, most female has lost touch with their feminity. Women are powerful people, more powerful than men although this power is hardly physical. I say it that if women know hoe much power they weild, they wouldn’t be raging over gender inequality or stuffs like that, it’s the men who would be crying for equality…you’ll see that the few ones who recognised these abilities always out-shoot their contemporaries…they are the type that their male partners/husbands/boyfriends cannot do without them…they are highly invaluable…

  5. I love this. It’s sad, really. Feminism is a noble concept that has gotten muddied and misinterpreted by several, driven by their own varying desires. And there’s no distinction between African and Western feminism, not in my opinion. It’s just one campaign that different sects of people, men and women, have decided to follow up on differently.

  6. I will just copy and paste.I think feminism is a misconstrued idea, it is what women use to define men as enemies, a product of inferiority complex that should never have existed if any woman in the equation knows who she really is.My name is Abidemi (meaning I was born while my dad was away) the son of a man that was constantly in motion in his youth, my dad was either in Enugu or Abeokuta or Onitsha or anywhere else trying to fend for his family. My mum was the man of the house during those years, she was a mother of six, owner of two businesses and the controller general of a household that was bigger than Fuji House of Commotion, the good thing is she marshalled the house so well that there was never commotion in the building and she was not a feminist by definition because she never felt inferior.Growing up in such a big setting with cousins and uncles everywhere, she was so in control of everything (including her businesses) that we only had more fun when dad was around, and didn’t really miss him when he wasn’t. Even between the humongous responsibilites of managing two businesses and a large family on her own, she still took up volunteer works and became a pivotal figure in our local community, yes she wasn’t satisfied with her numerous children, she became the mother of the community by taking up a voluntary health worker role that made her our home the local government hospital for the people of Ipaja, and she never for once felt like she’s become more than a woman or transformed into a man, she remained the lovely wife of my dad and was always at her place beside her man, she was everything and every minute a lady, taking care of her home and loving her husband enough to make him still blush til today.The confusion about feminism is women trying to become men because they feel “I can do what he’s doing even better”. if it was about capacity to do, the male or female nomenclature would never have existed.My dad was an excellent cook and we were delighted every time he got the inspiration to hit the kitchen but that didn’t make him the wife, he was still the husband, the head of the house and he more than played his role as much as I can recall. My mum was never in the kitchen, we did the cooking, yes we did it male and female, perhaps the only times she was there was just to inspect, she already taught us how to cook and trusted whatever we cooked, seeing her in the kitchen meant something special was cooking but that didn’t make her the husband, she was still the wife and the mother of the whole community.Feminism is not and should not be about replacing a man or towering above one as a woman, if it were so, God wouldn’t have made that woman a woman in the first place. We all have unique roles to play as humans and the earlier we start playing this roles as men and women instead of trying to become what we are not, the better.

  7. There’s nothing wrong with feminism. It’s how people perceive it that’s the problem. A woman refusing to do her responsibilities at home and claiming she’s a feminist is just dumb. A woman abusing her man and claiming she’s a feminist doesn’t know what feminism is about. I liken this to how someone gets up and decides to kill people in the name of a god who has not asked them to kill anyone. This annoys the true followers of the god. The same way abusers of feminism annoy us who truly want to see equality amongst the sexes. Can men and women be equal? In so many ways, no. In so many other ways, yes. Biologically, physically, we can’t be equal. Intellectually, socially, and otherwise, it is possible. The fight feminism brings to the table is for women to be respected and given same treatment as men. When i hear people say that it’s already happening or that it cannot happen, I wonder whether they are in the same world where a woman is caught in adultery and is sentenced to death and the man goes free (i’m not talking bible times here). Or if they are in the same country where little girls are sold off to old men and it is not the same with the boys. Or if they live in the same world where women constantly face sexual harrassment in offices just because they are female. Or where a man divorced his woman just because she holds his hand in public. Who fights for these women?Who upholds their cause? Who makes sure other women know their rights so that they will not be used and abused. Being African or Christian or Muslim doesn’t stop one from fighting for equal rights. I am a Christian; I believe in a woman submitting to her husband(not to other men) because I understand from the nature of Christ that humility or servanthood does not mean enslavement.I understand it is a special power given to me by God to influence my man and my home. Another woman may not believe what I believe and I’m okay with that. As long as she does her best to empower those women around her (one doesn’t have to be on TV) to be better than they are.Which brings me to another point. You can’t be a feminist and not educate and empower your fellow woman. It is rubbish. What is your goal then?Just to make noise? The women that started this movement saw to it that their fellow women were not only educated but also given rights that they deserved.Finally, let’s not fool ourselves. If we leave things the way they are and not give the girl-child and women in general what they truly deserve, if there is no one fighting the cause of women, nothing is going to change. We will have sparks here and there but people will keep with the status quo.Feminism has done well where it can. It is because some women fought in some other country, some time ago, that’s why the rest of us with vaginas have education today. Yes, many have missed the point of this noble cause but it’s time we stop throwing the baby with the bath water(excuse my cliche).Thanks for the post, Elsie

  8. Hi Women are very important and like men are special. The only thing that is strange is why fight to prove to someone else who you are already.Men and Women are equal. They are unique in their own way. Trying to stand out or fight to prove this truth means that you are acknowledging that your right and essence is dictated by some one else. Men make this mistake and women are doing the same.Thanks for sharing

  9. This is well thought of. Feminist group everywhere in Africa and rest of the world over the years have been wrong to think and advocates that feminism is a struggle by a woman to become more like a man and less like a woman. Thank you for this post. It is very enlightening

  10. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really know what you’re talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my site =). We could have a link exchange arrangement between us!

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