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Mayowa Idowu: Would the 21st Century Man Please Stand Up?



black-professional-man1A friend of mine confided in me a while back. She informed how she had been told by a guy that she had a strong feminist streak and was always intent on having her way. To him, it was unattractive. Picture the character Taraji P Henson plays in ‘Think like a Man’. My friend is a winner in so many ways; she’s pretty and very, very smart. She is also strong and determined which convince me that she would grow to be very successful. However, she has fears that this single mindedness and sense of ambition would turn boys off. I said to her “Any boy who’s scared of going out with you for those reasons is insecure and definitely not worthy of you”.

The world has changed. In the past, women were seen as some sort of inferior species. There was no statutory compulsion that they be paid equally with men, even if they had the same qualifications. There was no legislation to curtail marital rape. Wives were expected to stay at home and accept the role of being cleaners and cookers. I watch the TV show ‘Mad Men’ today and cringe at the sexism that was prevalent in the time it was set. Sexism isn’t dead yet. It’s still very much alive in the way women are encouraged to put up with their cheating husbands. They are told “As long as he’s not open with it, just keep shut”. In Nigerian society, a broken marriage is seen as some sort of failure and this leads to us forcing people to stay together when it is so evident they are doomed. Some men are so brazen that they do it without any fear or inhibitions.

Feminists are constantly mocked as bitter, unattractive and incapable of getting the D. That is the creation propagated by men who are worried about their contributions towards ending patriarchy. Yes, there are some extremists who really take the cake but it would be wrong to paint all of them with the same brush just as it is unfair to think all Muslims are terrorists or all Nigerians are fraudsters. They are exceptions. As a result of this, being a feminist is seen as some sort of joke when it should be respected as a stance to ensure that people should not be treated any differently because of what they have between their legs

One campaign I am particularly passionate about is the Page 3 campaign. The Sun, the most viewed newspaper in the UK runs a feature on its third page where a glamour model is depicted in her birthday suit. For one, the idea of it is very distasteful. It also reinforces the sexist stereotypes that we have struggled to blur in recent times. Kids are a curious bunch and newspapers can help to satisfy their curiosity. Turning the cover page and seeing a lady’s tits feeds the young boy’s mind that women exist to satisfy him. Things like this enhance that laddish subculture that girls “should flash for the lads”. Where would it end? Less than a month ago, I was at a talk by a man who has served as Deputy Editor of the Sun and its sister paper, News of the World before its demise as a result of the phone hacking scandal. My lecturer, an Isreali lady who is also anti Page 3, questioned him on it. Like politicians are wont to do, he dodged the question. His defence being that “There are worse things to be outraged about”. He told of a conversation he had with his 18year old son and a couple of his friends in which he informed them of the disdain felt for Page 3, which they laughed off as harmless. That in itself highlights how damaging the campaign has been as people have become so desensitised to it that they see nothing wrong. He didn’t end there. He told us how he had recently discovered what female genital mutilation was and he felt we should direct our outrage at that. Most of us in the class had that puzzled look that evidently indicated we thought he was off his rocker.

The 21st century man should not be intimidated by a woman’s prospects. He sees nothing wrong in going after girls who are more intelligent than him as he is sure in himself knowing that he brings something to the table. Moreover, isn’t it great to be with people who challenge you to improve yourself? He sees nothing wrong in being a house husband if his wife had a better job as it is a sacrifice one is bound to make to ensure that those moments that make one proudest to be a parent are not witnessed by Blessing the house help or Bassey the cook. If the roles were reversed, she would probably do the same. The 21st century man has to do away with his irrational ego. The 21st century man has no qualms supporting the feminist cause as he understands that he is doing the right and sensible thing and it does not detract from his masculinity.  Would the 21st century man please stand up?

Sign the petition to kill Page 3

Photo Credit:
Oluwamayowa Idowu tweets at @MayowaIdowu The rest of his work can be found at


  1. Dee_deeY

    August 15, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I bless The Lord Almighty everyday for my customized copy of the 21st century man! 😀

    • Blossom

      August 15, 2013 at 10:42 am

      All 21st century men can apply within. [email protected]

      Yes, Lord!!!

    • uh-huh

      August 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      You, my friend is crazy!!! lol

  2. D

    August 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

    PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO ALL MEN – or at least those that deem themselves to be called such in this time and age!!!!!!


    August 15, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Hmmmmmm,thoughtful.If most men view it this way,it would have been better but in this Nigeria,hell no.We have been called names and labelled for being a strong willed woman and God bless us we are not yet married ,u start hearing of sermon such as its a man’s world,u av have to pipe low.

  4. bree

    August 15, 2013 at 9:42 am

    awesome piece… page 3 of the sun newspaper is a bit on the extreme side… there are better things to do to get attention other than flashing the titties and showing skin..I must admit

  5. mII

    August 15, 2013 at 9:54 am

    am impressed Idowu is male…i agree wif u on this,alot of guyz are intimidated by single/married women prospect as u mentioned above,they believe those women are ‘career women, controlling,independent etc. which scares them as hell,most guyz love the idea of an independent lady but in reality dnt want 2 hv intimacy with these ladies, i strongly also believe that a guy who isnt intimidated by such qualities asides frm d controlling 1,lol, is a man i will luv 2 have…

  6. Cat on a hot tin roof

    August 15, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I like this piece. It brings a nice balance to Theresa’s article published on here yesterday. Good timing BN. I am also with the writer on The Sun’s page 3 – I honestly can’t believe that in this day and age it’s still okay to publish that everyday on such a well read newspaper. I shudder to think of those parents that buy the paper and leave it lying around their homes. Like seriously?

  7. Blossom

    August 15, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Mayowa Idowu, let’s get married?

    Get in touch honey boo 😉

    • Iris

      August 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      As in! I wish I could click a “like” button on this ad infinitum. And when you think like this, how will a reasonable woman not respect you to the ends of the earth and back regardless of her pay check?

  8. Daisy

    August 15, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I find this write up very progressive. I wish more men would realise that being a feminist doesn’t mean you are bitter or you hate men. I like what he says about discarding irrational egos!! (cos) Honestly a lot of men have defined themselves based on this—Ego. Take it away and they are nothing morally and intellectually, they hide behind their egos. Whats worse is that a lot of people think that this is what a man should embody and then they enable it. Treating people with respect, men or women alike should not depend on whether you’re a man or not or whether you have an ego to protect, it only means that you’re an enlightened and well mannered human being.

  9. Yve

    August 15, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Good write up. Lots of men are scared of women with ambition and that can speak up for themselves. You utter one word and the name FEMINIST is thrown in your face like you are evil or something. Even women do it to themselves. Sad.

  10. Nimi

    August 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I was just thinking about this the other day…Growing up I was encouraged by my parents, teachers and society in general to make sure I work hard in school and get good grades. Make sure I am ambitious, hard working and can take care of myself. My father would even encourage me to know how to cook and know how to be a good wife to a man. Growing up my father was very strict and made sure he raised me to face my studies, be ambitious and above all else, be independent….Fast forward many years later I am all those things. A successful go – getter who is ambitious not just in the corporate world but also in my side hustle such as catering, baking etc. I’m always looking for ways to better myself in those areas. To top it all up, my father even encourages me to take care of the physical as well. Be attractive both on the inside and outside. Basically he is my biggest Supporter….So after all this Society, or should I say a certain man who is not confident in who he is will now tell me that all those things my father taught me is making me unattractive or intimidating? My dear, that one is not a big deal na. I actually spoke to my father about this , and his response was , NEXT!!!!! Just politely ask the bobo to keep it moving 🙂

    If an ambitious woman was so unappealing then my father would definitely not have raised me to be one. My mother is a go-getter and so is my sister who has been married for more than 10 years.

    So please any man with issues regarding a woman being ambitious should check the issues he has within himself. Be it an overinflated Ego, laziness or insecurities. Live and let live biko!

  11. Busola

    August 15, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I can say that in this generation, less than 50% of the men out there will think the way mayowa does. There is something our parents haven’t done right.. That is bringing up male children appropriately. At a very young age, they have fragile egos and the society helps to feed it. They are told, men should be strong, men should not cry, men should not show their emotions.. endless lies.. I even like to think there are more men who suffer from insecurity than women. But because they are men, they mask their insecurity under their egos. Change starts with us women.. Raise your boys to be gentlemen. Teach them to ignore society and be respectful. And young ladies, raise the bars higher.. Just because you are pretty and have a great body does not necessarily mean any man can have you. Let there be more to your person than what is seen, confident men will not be intimidated by it.


      August 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      i could kiss you for this post!!!

    • uh-huh

      August 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Amen!!!!!…. “@And young ladies, raise the bars higher.. Just because you are pretty and have a great body does not necessarily mean any man can have you. Let there be more to your person than what is seen” and in Madea’s voice “….y’all women should play a little hard to get”

  12. Chummy

    August 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Mmm… Mr Idowu Tnx for speaking out

  13. baby

    August 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I have had some hot quarells with my hubby where he said things like “do u want to be a man?” or we are competing abi”…..i tell him no but i demand the same kind of respect u think u deserve…..he helps to clean the house, cook sometimes and generally a handy man but still has that mentality that men will be men and affairs cannot be ruled out…….tho he has constantly lied about his affairs (which some men think its respect by the way) i always tell him that i expect the same level of commitment and fidelity i give to the marriage from him..if he cheats and i eventually cheat i don’t care if heaven will fall….if being a feminist means demanding to be treated like a human being who has feelings and emotions then am guilty as charged…..i have no apologies to anyone

  14. Aqua

    August 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    “The 21st century man should not be intimidated by a woman’s prospects. He sees nothing wrong in going after girls who are more intelligent than him as he is sure in himself knowing that he brings something to the table…..” PREACH!

  15. Guys Perspective

    August 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    21st century man reporting for duty…lol

    • Eve82

      August 15, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      Keep up the good work. We continuously pray to be blessed with men like y’all!

  16. Fashionista

    August 15, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Please abeg! how do we know Mr Mayowa himself is practicing what he is preaching!!! I have seen so many men preach the whole “im a 21st century kinda guy” , its all yarns. My BIL preached it while he was dating my sis, after marriage it turned out to be all yarns, same with my hubby too. Some men have cottoned on to the fact that it is the cool thing to say and it is attractive to women, once they get married their true colour comes out. Truth is ALL of you are the same!

    Let us hear word abeg!

    • So I had to anonymise myself for this one

      August 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Ain’t that the truth?

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      August 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      Your name is absolutely slaying me right now…

    • uh-huh

      August 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm


  17. Aibee

    August 15, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Seeing as a relationship just ended because, amongst others, I’m not “submissive”, I always like to have my way, I’m argumentative and my being a lawyer “is a problem”, please if anyone knows any 21st Century men in the 30-40 age bracket who want a woman who knows her onions and isn’t afraid to give as good as she gets, amongst my other stellar qualities, please get in touch with the good folks at BellaNaija so they can link us up. Thank you.


      August 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      maybe bella should start a hook up

  18. uh-huh

    August 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    @Idowu for writing this piece and a man at that, God bless u…..i wish i can get a 21st century man just like u. seriously, i know what i’ve been told and what have been talked about cus of my decision in getting my doctorate degree….”u’r single today because all u think about is school school”, “u’ll be so old to get married by the time u’r done”, “no man will marry u o”, the worst one is… “why dont u leave the school/degree for ur husband, hold on to the one u have now, thats enough”….and am like…”REALLY!!!!”, u got to be kidding me!!!….whats wrong with me being the one with the degree? whats wrong with me being called “madam” by men? not that i wont give respect to who it is due, we women deserve better than what “some” men think of us.

  19. RIO

    August 15, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Ladies, trust me, we are not intimidated by your ambition or desire to be the best you can be. As a matter of fact, we desire it in our choice of partners. Nothing turns me on sexually than being stimulated by a very intelligent lady….And when I say ‘Intelligence’, I don’t mean being the ‘CEO’ of one of fortune 100. It’s about management of power, which unfortunately, ladies are yet to get it. It’s a sexy thing to climb the ladder of success.However, if you sincerely believe in marriage, the onus is on you to create a balance so that you don’t abuse the new power.
    Keep your power in your BOARDROOM and be a wife to your husband and mother to your kids, when you are home.
    I adore and respect ladies who do well for themselves. When it comes to marriage, make me respect you more by how you are able to build and keep your home.
    Hate me for all you can, ladies who understand what am saying are all in a happy marriage/relationship while the so called 21st century ladies are busy complaining how men are so intimidated by them.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      August 15, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Some ladies who understand what your saying may:
      a) be in relationships with ego-driven men who couldn’t care less about how she keeps her intelligence in the boardroom and builds her home;
      b) be single due to reasons beyond your limited comprehension.

      Therefore while I respect your need to air your self-acclaimed tolerance, the Neanderthal in you came straight out when you grouped every woman that asked for a decent man into the same box. So please hush.

    • Bookie

      August 16, 2013 at 7:04 am

      ‘Keep your power in your BOARDROOM and be a wife to your husband and mother to your kids, when you are home.’??

      Your post is so wrong in all places I don’t even know where to start from. You were trying hard to display yourself as one who isn’t intimidated by a successful woman, but dude you failed!

      Btw that excuse about ladies who understand being in happy marriages and those who disagree being single and lonely is so lame and played out.

    • Lizzie

      August 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      It takes both the man and the woman to build and keep a home. It isn’t the woman’s sole responsibility. It is this lack of taking responsibility that gives the men time on their hands to philander. Be as busy as you expect the woman to be, give her the respect you expect from her and y’all will have a fine home.

  20. iyke80

    August 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    “The 21st century man should not be intimidated by a woman’s prospects. He sees nothing wrong in going after girls who are more intelligent than him as he is sure in himself knowing that he brings something to the table…..”
    Ladies, MEN are not intimidated. We only hate the fact that you loose the whole essence of marriage/relationships. Your Phd or being the CEO is not the issue but YOU. You just don’t get it.
    WE refuse to be the silence in your misgivings…the pregnant pause that allows you to act beyond reason… WE refuse to be made an audience of your indifferent seeded consequences…created chaos and misguided manipulations… WE won’t be held as the reason you employ…to justify the evil side of a demented indulgence…a part of yourself you adore… Not then…not now…not ever…never more… WE leave you as WE found you…incapable of being more than broken…afraid to be free…afraid to be present…and living whole..

  21. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    August 15, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Any man, for whom you have to be less of yourself to be with is a killer. He will fly on your wings and grow on your sacrifice.

    So maybe instead of settling for some half-baked-dream-come-true kind of man. Some of us may have to accept we will never get married. Don’t get me wrong, I happen to know a couple of 21st century men; its either they are married in relationships or better as friends. There are other things to consider than his being a 21st Century man.

  22. Guys Perspective

    August 15, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    In my opinion, its not about the degrees and other achievements, its about being overly self conscious about all that you have attained, which breeds a certain expectation that you have to be treated and respected differently in the home front. I agree with most guys who have commented on this post, “Men are not intimidated”, at least I am not and the guys around me are not. In my case my mother was a very successful structural engineer, but at home I saw her as my mother, and my dad saw her as a wife, friend and partner, not a highly trained structural engineer (which she really was). In most cases women like to rub these achievements in, and they use this as an excuse for other shortcomings.

  23. Sim

    August 15, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    I love the fact that I see more and more men speaking openly about “gender equality” (in quotes because it’s not actually direct) and all that jazz. First that article that I’ve totally forgotten the title, then Ofili’s writeup, then this, well done gentlemen, well done! Your mothers need to be commended and appreciated.

    And thanks BN for “championing the cause”

    PS: I truly hope you guys are walking the walk though and not just talking the talk.

  24. deyepee

    August 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    i like a man who isnt intimidated by the fact that I am a go getter. It just annoys me when my mum and other family memebers try to teach me how to take care of a man, Im like seriously? Unless his own parents are teaching me how to take care of me…… And yes I am feminist

  25. Bookie

    August 16, 2013 at 7:09 am

    As someone already mentioned, it’s all good and dandy to talk about not being intimidated and actually encouraging your wife, but doing it in practice is a different ball game altogether!…My friend’s husband encourages me to make sure any man I settle down with respects me and does not try to put me down. Basically he is all for mutual respect……What he does in his marriage is a different story altogether though! To top it off he is cheating on his wife like no man’s business, but dat one na dicussion for another day!

  26. iyke80

    August 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    @Berookie, what really works for Mrs A may not actually work for Ms.B.There is no set out process on how relationship/marriage should be for everybody although we do understand the critical factors.Remember that personality traits come into play here.
    I am not going to call myself a 21st century man ….don’t even know what that means.However,I am a believer in empowering women and to allow them to compete equally.
    For me,there is no such thing as “tiptoeing” into someone’s life… You either make an appearance that matters…or just keep on walking…
    Are we intimidated by successful women …To some Men, ‘YES’ not because they hate success but the lack of wisdom on how to use their success. Much as we want you ladies to strive and be the best that you can be, it’s not really what WE look out for.We look for WISDOM and you know what, a wise woman knows the importance of speaking life into her man. If you really love your man, as long as he is focused, believe in him, even if he doesn’t have two masters degree, have the most sought after job et al, encourage him and most especially be his PEACE.
    @Socially Awkward, you seem brilliant in your argument, not that you are correct in your assertion though.You can actually show how intelligent you are by not being rude to people that have divergent views as yours.You don’t tell people to ‘HUSH’ it just because they don’t share your point of view.That’s childish and rude.

  27. I AM A WOMAN

    August 19, 2013 at 10:20 am

    i agree with @RIO- i don’t think that MOST men are intimated by a woman’s, i think the issue is the need for a BALANCE between the high powered CEO WOMAN at work and wife/mother at home. Trust me i’ve seen women who are high achievers and at the same time have a happy/beautiful home, what is there secret? they leave all they are at the stage/work, come home and be all their husbands and children truly need from a wife and mother. women there’s no reason to wear your achievements on your sleeve for the world to see and cheer, a real man sees all that, tips his hat but also seeks to find the human being underneath the crown and vice versa. we seriously need to begin to let go of all these misguided convictions.

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