“Kolade, come and flush the toilet” I was so shocked to hear this statement from my uncle. I mean, he walked out of the toilet after using it and asked his son to come flush the toilet for him! I’ve always known that my uncle is lazy when it comes to house chores (even the basic ones) – no thanks to my Grandmother – but hearing him call on someone to come flush was a bit too much.
My uncles are like kings with the way my grandmother treats them. There is this preferential treatment she gives them over her female children. Till now, my grandmother serves & packs plates once any of my uncles is done eating while visiting her. They can do no wrong in her eyes. Simply because they are men!
When I was growing up and saw how my grandmother treated my uncles, I assumed it was normal for boys to sit and expect everything to be done by girls until I overheard a relative scolding my grandmother. I remember her saying about her own kids “just because her boys brought penis to the world doesn’t mean she will slave in the kitchen with their sisters while they are sitting down doing nothing. How are they going to be useful for themselves when they are on their own?” I found the statement a bit funny then and forgot about it until five years ago when my uncle lost his wife. He couldn’t take care of the kids, house on his own. It was so bad that the kids had to stay with their aunt.
I know of a family friend who starved himself and the kids just because he was too lazy to make eba and microwave soup when the wife was out for a day!
Please know that this is not a men-bashing article. I am just trying to open our eyes to what the root of the problem is – the Mothers! Yes! The superwomen, the wonderwomen, the matriarchs of the families. If a mother decides to neglect to train her sons accordingly and makes them feel entitled to everything, when the boys become men, they will only act the way they were brought up to act!
When I see men who have little or no respect for women – like the donkey who said on Twitter that any woman who uses a phone that is more expensive than N30, 000 is a prostitute, because there is no way she can buy such a phone with her money – I put most of the blame on the mother! The way the society expects a young lady to be well-behaved courtesy of her mother, is the same way a mother is supposed to train her son not to look down on women just because they have a different device!
When the Senate rejected the Gender Equality bill, a lot of people said it is not about woman rights but human rights and I agree! Let us put aside gender equality, this is about fairness. I am asking you that you treat me the same way you would want me to treat you.
Christians are quick to quote the Bible that women should submit to their husbands but play a very strong ignorance game when it comes to how husbands should treat their wives! If as a man, I wouldn’t want another man to pick on me, beat me to coma, emotionally abuse me, then why would I want to do that to a woman I promised to love & cherish? If as a man, I cannot bear the thought of someone raping me, then why would I think it is okay to force myself on women?
Inside of us, we have the abilities to either be good or evil, it is our choice to be whichever we want to be. I went through a very traumatic experience about a couple of months ago. At first, the perpetrator was trying to act as if he did nothing wrong, then I asked him how he would feel if such a thing was done to his sister, his countenance changed immediately and he said “I would kill such a guy”.
We can talk about gender equality from now till Jesus comes, but there will be no results if it is not dealt with from the foundation. Parents (especially mothers) need to take this serious; teach your sons to respect people irrespective of their gender, sexuality, societal positions, educational background etc.
I was shocked the day a pastor said it to the whole congregation that he never saw it fit to help his wife carry a baby just because she is cooking, that that is why God gave a back – to back the baby while cooking. His own baby, not another man’s baby o.
As you are teaching your girls to be domesticated and not to be promiscuous, you should be teaching your boys to be responsible and how to lend a helping hand. Please teach them that it will not shorten the length of their hardware if they enter the kitchen to help, teach them that it is right to respect not just you but other women. Teach them to control themselves around girls and not turn to beast. Teach them the valued golden rule “treat others as you want them to treat you”. As you are telling your girls to submit to their husbands, also tell your boys to love their wives as they would love themselves.
Of course, there are people who will still go astray despite the teachings but I believe things will improve greatly if Mothers start from the foundation. This is not to say there are no men who do not help with chores or who do not believe a woman should be ambitious. I mean, we came to love beans in my house just because my father used to cook it and there were times he would happily enter the kitchen to cook soups; these things didn’t make him less of a man, in fact, it made us respect & love him the more.
Fathers, don’t leave everything for the mothers, be the kind of man you would want your sister / daughter to get married to. Love & cherish your wife so that your sons can see and learn from you.
Forget gender equality, just be fair and treat people (men and women) the way you would want them to treat you.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime