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Akanna Okeke: No Woman Belongs to the Kitchen!

Akanna Okeke

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dreamstime_m_50437589Recently, comments made by two influential Nigerian men could lead us to believe that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.  One advised men not to marry women who cannot cook; the second blatantly declared that his wife belonged to his kitchen.  Their comments may have been influenced by culture; cultures that assign roles to men and women based on what society deems fit.

Before the Second World War, the roles played by men and women, in society, were distinct.  The wives stayed home while the men went out to labour and brought home the bacon, which the wives gladly cooked –in the kitchen of course.  During the war, however, the men were sent off to fight while the women gradually took their place in factories, producing bullets and other ammo that were sent to the men to use.

The men returned from war to a shocking reality where the women were performing the roles they had previously performed –and were doing so very well!  Suddenly, where they had always thought the women belonged wasn’t so anymore.  This was coupled with technological advancement where the gap, caused by physical strength, between what a man and a woman could do was bridged.  This all happened in the West, of course, but globalization brought it down to the developing world.

The roles to be played by men and women in society have been confusing, mainly because we focus on activities rather than principles.  We say women cannot drive, until they do. We say women cannot lead organizations, until they do.  We say women cannot work construction because of the heavy lifting required, until they can –thanks to technology!  All these are activities that can be carried out by anyone with the right tools and equipment.

Could there be things that women are equipped to do that men aren’t? Could we possibly take a cue from how they are built?  Childbirth is not an activity for men.  Women will always be responsible for this and will always need input from the men. Two women can’t produce a child together, the same way two men can’t.  The man does the planting and the woman fertilizes, grows, nurtures and gives back to the man.   That is the principle to take away.  A man could come up with an idea, run it by his wife and she fleshes it out, gives it life, adds colour to it and gives it back to the man.  That’s her strength! Why don’t we focus on our strengths?  How effective would organisations be, where women are Creative Directors –adding life to ideas suggested by left-brained men?

Women are generally more emotional than men, who are more logical.  They speak in terms of how they feel at the moment while men speak in terms of what they think.  These are both strengths.  People may forget what you say to them, but they never forget how you made them feel.  The emotional tendency of women makes it easy for them to empathize with people and make them feel good about themselves.  This helps them in child-rearing, to instill self confidence in their children and in leading organizations, to meet the emotional needs of their employees.  They however need input from men to provide a logical perspective of things, as leaning far onto the emotional could result in people-pleasing and self indulgence.

The principle here is that of leadership.  Imagine a leader of an organization who can make tough, logical decisions that make the organization more efficient.  By his side, he has a partner that influences his decisions by encouraging him to take account of people’s feelings and well-being along the way –making the organization more effective. These roles are best played by those who have the strengths –the natural inclination –for them.  A synergy between men and women brings both efficiency and effectiveness to whatever institution they lead –be it a family, a firm or even a country.

Women wield immense influence over men. That’s a fact, and I would dare say it’s a principle –a timeless truth.  Leadership is influence and the logical person does better in positional leadership because it is clear to him that this is what he is. His position defines his roles.  The emotional person, however, performs best behind the scenes; wielding her influence through the man who is bound (by nature) to listen to her. So, if you think your family is solely led by a man, think again; if you think your organization is led by a man, think again; if you think your country is led by a man, think again!

This is why it is important for he who says that his wife belongs to his kitchen to pay attention to what his wife is saying because, like all women, her persuasion can build a nation or tear one down.  This can be done even from the kitchen where you relegate her.  It is not a joke when they say that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”.  It is surprising to hear another give the advice of men not marrying women who cannot cook; because most of the stories in the book he reads portray the men as doing most of the cooking.  In fact, one even used his cooking skills to persuade his brother to give him his birthright!

A woman does not belong to the kitchen; she belongs wherever the man is because their roles are complementary and not conflicting.  The confusion has stemmed from a focus on the physical attributes alone, and not the principles behind them.  Physical strength hardly differentiates a man from a woman anymore, in terms of activity. Technology has come along to make life easy for both genders.  This has got men so confused about what to then use their physical strength for, that some of them now use it to show their wives who’s boss in the domestic arena.

The principle behind physical strength and build is one of protection and provision.  The more logical person should protect the other emotionally.  That physical strength also translates to emotional strength and stability.  The physical build portrays women as receivers and men as givers.  Things just work out better when the man goes out of his way to provide for the woman, even what she can afford; it makes both parties feel better.  And we know that what is given to a woman, she brings to life, nurtures and presents it back: a house becomes a home and beautiful clothes and shoes become an elegant woman by your side for the world to envy!

This nurturing principle is also derived from the upper-body of the physical build, where babies feed from to become strong adults.  This is why she loves the kitchen; it is to her a symbol of her nurturing capacity.  She uses it as a tool to add life to people, to feed them, to nurture them and if the need arises, to persuade them!  A tool is all it is; a tool that can be used by both genders for the same reasons; a tool that should be used by both genders so that when one decides to use it, at that point, the kitchen belongs to them and not them to the kitchen.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Akanna is an avid reader, writer, Risk Analyst and a budding Social Entrepreneur. He’s passionate about personal development, and influencing others to succeed!

35 Comments

  1. Enuf already!!!

    November 1, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    So who belongs to the kitchen? Your first borns? Your house boys and girls? Your live-in- dependants? Your cooks? If no one wants to claim the kitchen, side chics may claim it o!!+??

  2. naya

    November 1, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Can we chill on this please???!!!!
    If u don’t belong ur cup of tea, if u belong ur cup of coffee. Stop forcing d belong nd don’t belong down our throats…
    Some women feel they dont, am happy for you
    Some women feel they do, am equally happy for you too.
    #Menbelongtothelabourroom #Menstartgivingbirth so women can have peace of mind and stop being jealous

  3. denzel

    November 1, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    ‘Women are generally more emotional than men, who are more logical.’
    WRONG. As a psychology and sociology graduate, and someone who identifies with and has studied feminism as an academic field of study, this is pure fiction. Men aren’t emotional? So who are the ones that cry and whine over soccer, stalk, abuse and even kill exes or women that turn them down, known for blowing up if their egos are bruised etc. And women aren’t logical? But they are also stereotyped as being scheming and cunning.Most of the gender differences are socialised, from how young boys and girls are taught to play and the different ways in which they are allowed to express themselves. Everyone is extremely emotional but the difference between people is how they express themselves. Rather, the differences between men and women is entrenched in their obvious biological differences and their differing reactions mainly based on how they react to situations. Someone socilaised to be an all-doing mum or play with dolls will obviously play a more compassionate role than someone taught to fix or protect. I agree with your premise on gender roles, but the stereotype on personality differences needs to die. And you can help us by not reiterating it, seeing as it does nothing for your article anyway.

    • Grace

      November 2, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      He/She said *more*…. not everyone is extremely emotional. Everyone is different.. also there is a normal distribution with these things. So although generally men may be less emotional than women, there will always be people who do not fall in the normal distribution. The same example could go for physical strength.

  4. A Real Nigerian

    November 1, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    “The kitchen belongs to them” ROTFL
    What a trashy article.
    This is suggesting that women are not as smart as men and should not be leaders after trying to deceive us with the initial premise of “we say women cannot lead organizations until they do”. Even went on to imply that women should remain behind the scenes.
    Are you confused or trying to deceive us?
    This is another closet misogynist trying to subconsciously implant the chauvinistic ideas of the patriarchy into the minds of feeble-minded women! Pathetic. We see right through you and your failing grand scheme!
    “They however need input from men to provide a logical perspective of things”
    I feel sorry for the kind of woman who you are inputing this your flawed, failed and feeble logic into.
    Yet another beta man who cannot come to terms with TRUE feminism and is trying sooo hard to twist and turn it so that it can conform with what the patriarchy wants.
    Nice try. Try harder.

  5. kiwisweet

    November 1, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    everyone belongs to the kitchen because food knows no gender.

  6. A Real Nigerian

    November 1, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    “Akanna is an avid reader, writer”

    What have you been reading your whole life to lead you to this article? To this embarrassing moment?? Look at Nigerian men. Trying to deceive us into thinking they are fighting for gender equality when they are all closet rapists, chauvinists, cheaters and wife beaters. Yet another pawn of the patriarchy. You are no different from Adeboye or Buhari.
    Nigerian Men!!! Ewwwwwwww!
    Let me go and make love to my Swedish Prince please.

  7. Paul Adeyemo

    November 1, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Frustrated women full this blog. If your place is not in the kitchen, kindly carry your bags enter plane and fly to Yankee or England where man and woman are equal. In Nigeria, a lady’s primary responsibility is in the kitchen, if you don’t want to accept that reality, deport yourself outside Nigeria

    • A Real Nigerian

      November 1, 2016 at 9:05 pm

      I hate you so much.

    • Angel of Death

      November 1, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      PAAUUL ADEYEMOOOO…..This is the Angel of Death sent by God to tell you to put your house in order, for you shall die toniiiight….
      P.S- if you do not die tonight, kindly disregard this this message. My doctor tells me the voices in my head aren’t real.
      But fingers crossed that you die in your sleep tonight and save us all the discomfort brought about by your pointless life.

    • Paul Adeyemo

      November 1, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      When I reply your comment tomorrow, you will be shocked that I did not die. Anyway only God giveth life. Can you see a woman wishing another person’s death.

    • Paul Adeyemo

      November 1, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      Am an Ijebu boy from Ijebu Imushin. Fortunately for You, Christianity has taken away the our traditional life. You are a lucky girl

    • amo

      November 1, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      you’re very bad at making logical arguments so you resort to insults. Unfortunately no one seems to care anymore so I’d suggest you work on your HBP and your marriage lest you’ll blow up one day and your bullied wife will refuse to help you. All the best

    • nnenne

      November 1, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      @ Paul Adeyemo….
      As long as the man has his own responsibilities too! If the woman belong to the Kitchen no problem but don’t outsource the man’s role…bringing in all the money needed in the home, taking care of the wife and her family ,cracking get his head and making all useful decisions in the house.
      The woman need not look for any kind of job because that is the husband’s role.
      There has to domestic helps at the woman’s beck and call .
      Everyone has a traditional role men and women! Let’s all keep it intact, Naija way.

    • Angel of Death

      November 1, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      Paul Adeyemo! Wait oh! I hope you’re not calling yourself a Christian sha?
      You CAN NEVER make heaven . Na me talk am.
      Arent you the one who hates an ENTIRE species (women) and preaches oppression and adultery? You are pure, unadulterated evil. .
      You better go back to Sango worship or whatever your ancestors worshipped, cos all this marking present in church cannot make you- an evil person, a Christian any more than swimming in the ocean can turn you to Tilapia…

    • Kay

      November 3, 2016 at 6:25 am

      God bless you real good, we swallow foreign culture hook, line and sinker, we are ashamed of speaking our own language or even give our children names in our local language, we run everywhere to do everything even get married abroad but no one comes here and that’s why we have no values, we get married in the traditional way with pomp and glamour yet we still want to live like Americans/Europeans. Yet these same women want men to buy the whole world for them under the guise of providing for them, they have a flat tyre they call him, they disagree with a security man somewhere they call him but in their voice we are equals, if you dont accept your place in the kitchen then you need to start splitting the bills will him 50-50, A women is free to expand her horizons and achieve her desires but that shouldnt negate her position in the kitchen. Period.

  8. Spunky

    November 1, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Abeg, e don dooooo. Who hunger catch, make he/she “belong” to the kitchen. Haba! Can we move on eh…

  9. KMT

    November 1, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Actually no one deserves to be TOLD where or where not they belong. A woman belongs were she damn well pleases to belong that maybe in a wrestling ring, oil rig, kitchen wherever the hell random place they choose to pitch tent. . People in general need to Quit trying to tell people what the fuck to do. Jeez who died and made all you article revolutionaries, boss ? Mtchewwwwwww. Y’all need to find direction on how to get to wherever the hell yall belong or go have y’all children and tell them where to park dem little asses. women don’t belong in the kitchen, women don’t belong in the kitchen. Maybe nkechi doesn’t want to be in the kitchen but Alero loves being in the kitchen. Speak for yourselves Joor

    • amo

      November 1, 2016 at 10:40 pm

      You contradict yourself and show off your slightly chauvinist bias. Alero doesnt actually ‘belong’ in the kitchen based on your premise, she CHOSE it. Because as far as the english language and simple analytical skills are concerned, ‘belonging’ in the kitchen means that she’s best suited there and has no business anywhere else. What you are pretending to say is that women can ‘belong’ anywhere, but really, you’re here to attack the apparently feminist premise that women do not in fact belong in the kitchen.
      Traditionally, it’s believed that women do belong there. So there’s no point of stressing that the woman can stay there if she wants to, it’s already a given premise and thereby does nothing for the discourse.

  10. Sisi

    November 1, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Ojare, this is the problem! Stop telling people, women (not women) – individual adult grown people who happen to be female (or not) what the hell they can and can’t do, where they should and should not be. This is the whole premise of feminism and every other section of society who are raising their voices to undo all the defining that the world has created to determine what, who, how and when. Please just quit. This certainly does sound like like an extremely patronizing piece from a closet mysoginist. Stop projecting and reasses your thoughts about men and women and the boxes you have put them in – we are all very dynamic people who are constantly changing.

  11. Flexe

    November 1, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    Loooooooooooooool
    From A real Nigerian to Paul Adeyemo, then the writer, sorry but I just can’t! The comments are hilarious.

  12. hadiza

    November 2, 2016 at 3:03 am

    what on earth did I just read?? what a disgusting chauvinist. So women can’t be logical abi??? we belong to the background?? kai. Look at this foolish rapists trying so hard to imbibe patriarchy in us under the guise of feminism. You are a fool. Disgusting men. Why don’t u stick to raping, cheating and beating instead of spewing trash like the idiot u are. kai. See what Nigerian parents are raising. @real Nigerian, I love u.

  13. AceOfSpades

    November 2, 2016 at 6:16 am

    When Hadiza and A Real Nigerian Coke up here to talk about murdering men and how men are useless and rapists blah blah, no one comes out fully to call them out and wish them death. We just laugh.

    Paul Adeyemo comes out to support women bully and everyone attacks him. I don’t get it. Most women on BN are Social Media feminist anyway. As a feminist, if a woman is bullied or attacked, you defend and of a man is too, you also defend. When did murder become a less crime than bully?

  14. john

    November 2, 2016 at 8:17 am

    @ace of today , is it today that u know that the women here are all hypocrites..I have never seen anyone of them condemned the likes of hadiza aand real Nigeria. infact u see comments like Go girl..and they want people to take feminism seriously..if that is what feminism is , I am glad most people see it as a joke.I even saw a term conned for them on facebook .. association of online nigeria feminists ( aonf).. association of frustrated man haters and use and dump online keyboard women…say whatever u want to say about Paul Adeyomo,he never wish people or women dead unlike the so called feminists here.

  15. mz_danielz

    November 2, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Thank you denzel.

    Couldn’t agree more. Men are forced to be logical and women are bullied into being emotional. Act like a man, act like a lady. We need to teach our children to be their best selves and function in the best place where their potentials will be maximized.

    This is a poorly written article

    • Nitomeya

      November 2, 2016 at 10:04 am

      We also need to teach our children that there is nothing like my money is my money while your money is our money. Women are generally more intuitive, I don’t know if it is a product of their upbringing but they are.

  16. Intellij

    November 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

    May God help us all, that love will be restored back into the heart of all, that marriages will be healed, ego be thrown out of the window and Love will reign supreme in our hearts once again.
    What is love-
    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
    I am a man, I pray I live by this and also pray my wife lives by this too. Cooking and cleaning should be the lest of our worry as we are always looking out for each other.

  17. Aibee

    November 2, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Chauvinism couched as feminist lite! Women belong in the background, giving emotional angles to men’s logical decisions- very similar to men are the head women are the neck!

  18. Angel of Death

    November 2, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Oh, John has crawled out of the woodwork…I wondered where the assistant serpent was hiding.
    John and Paul Adeyemo…they’re better together. They have a combined IQ of 18 or so.
    John, you are useless to the earth. Do us all a favour and be gone before you spread your seed too far. Evolution will just be killing off useful people and leaving vermin alive…

  19. Angel of Death

    November 2, 2016 at 10:58 am

    @AceofSpades- you strike me as the sort of person who believes that under no circumstance is the death penalty justified. I believe in the opposite. Not everyone deserves of live. When someone such as Paul Adeyemo and that half-with Paul, preaches so much hate against an entire segment if society (in this case women), my belief is that they should be killed off before they poison the greater population.
    Not everything is feminism my dear. I would have this same reaction of someone consistently spoke against a particular tribe or religion. Regardless of what it is.

    • Angel of Death

      November 2, 2016 at 11:02 am

      *that half-wit John

    • john

      November 2, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      you can identify a feminist instantly by the way they start cursing and spewing random nonsense illogically ..hadiza, nahum, a real nigerian and now agenl of death are feminist heroes…all na the same person with various account

  20. BTH fan

    November 2, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    See how the girls are flaring up and attacking the personalities of the writer and commenters while the guys are giving suggestions. Ha they are proving the author right in this emotional vs logical angle.

    • Angel of Death

      November 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      @BOTH Fan, write an article criticising Nigerian men and see just how logical they will be , if they won’t insult you to your fourth generation.
      Please park to one side.

  21. tobi

    November 2, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    So if you dont like men who have a stay in the kitchen other room mentality DONT MARRY THEM. Its very easy. When you are dating tell the man. I DONT BELONG IN THE KITCHEN. He will swiftly move on and you can also move on. You cannot change peoples mentality when it comes to what they prefer in the opposite sex. Some men like women who pay the bills. There really is no need for this senseless campaign. There is enough room for everyones preferences

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