Connect with us


Cisi Eze: An Open Letter to Gender Judges



Dear Gender Judges,

How is it doing you? What pleasure do you derive from defining what should be masculine and feminine? Have you defined your destiny? But it is another person’s masculinity or femininity you are now defining, abi? Ngwa nu, clap for ya’ se’f. “Sometimes, he is a she trapped by the limitations of our imaginations” – Staceyann Chin.

I hate when I hear rubbish-y things about how people should behave because of sex organs. Do you think our behavioural traits, our personalities, come to us because of our sex organs? Sex and gender are different things. Sex is biological, while gender is socio-psychological. What we call gender” is a set of behavioural traits our ancestors – people in a different time, a different social context – assigned to people at birth based on their sex organs. You don’t have to study psychology to know this. If you are honest with yourself, you will realise your concept of masculinity and femininity has nothing to do with sex organs. Is there a link between applying makeup and having sex organs?

You tell boys, “Don’t cry. Don’t spend much time in the bathroom. Don’t watch Telenovelas – watch football instead. A man is not meant to be emotional. Don’t use Snapchat filters – they are girlie.” You tell this to a HUMAN BEING all because the person has a penis! Do you ask yourself if these things are in line with his personality?

He walks in a certain way and body will start biting you. As though he were walking on your head, you call out to him, “Stop walking like a girl!” Please, how do women walk? I have been a woman all my life and I know walking like a woman has nothing to do with my vagina. It comes naturally. (Then, some of us gals have to learn to walk like ladies because “walking like men” is wrong. You make us contort ourselves at our detriment. Tueh!)

In order for him to prove his masculinity, something silly society created long time ago, you expect him to be naturally dirty and scattered. And dirty humans will ride on this “dirtiness permit” and pig out on us. They will not bath well. Use cologne, they refuse. They end up stinking up the spaces they inhabit. Their hair would look like an eyesore – they won’t brush; they won’t barb. (The ones that keep afros do a good job, as far as I have seen.) You see their lips looking parched – they will not use lip balm. Then the ones with beards would refuse to groom it.

Because you have said real men are not emotional, you make men hide their feelings. Human beings are essentially emotional, but differences in temperament affects expressivity. A phlegmatic will never be as expressive as a sanguine. That does not mean one is more emotional than the other is. Then, those of you that went to school believe, “Men and women have different brains.” Really? There are enlightening articles on Google, but you will open your mouth to say, “I don’t want to know.” Stop marinating in mumuness.

To be manly, you expect a man to be responsible for another adult. What if his personality is laid-back and he wants people to take charge? But as the gender definer you are, you will compel him, with your hurtful words, to hustle.

You create these labels because you want to understand a person. When you ask us to conform to a label, you ask us to restrict ourselves. Can you plant a forest in a flower vase? Can a cup contain an ocean? Everyone, like an ocean, is vast and dynamic. The labels you have created are cups. To meet up to your standards, people have to hide aspects of themselves you have branded despicable, ugly, dirty – aspects that are not hurting you in any way. How is a boy braiding his hair and applying makeup affecting you? Then you say, “If we allow them, it would give them room to do other bad things.” Because you don’t have a bad thing you do behind closed doors, is that it? “Let he who is without sin be the first to cast a stone, Mr. Jailer.” – Asa.

We all cannot be the same. Many people do not conform to the standards you have set, and as a result, they have to pretend, wear itchy masks, to seek your validation. Seriously, stop defining femininity and masculinity for us. Focus on your life. Let people express themselves how they want to if it not detrimental to you.

P.S. Then for women!

These gender definers define us by how feminine we are. Did we send them? “You should make your hair.” “Polish your nails.” “Wear makeup.” “Walk like a lady.” “Learn how to cook.” “A lady should be seen, not heard.” “You should not be too sexual, you are to be receptive to men’s advance – chasing a man would make you seem loose. Learn to play hard to get.” “Marriage is your highest achievement in life.”

They say all these things without taking into consideration we have temperaments and personalities. Let’s stop tweaking ourselves to seek validation from a society that put its ego over our harmless desires and happiness! It is time to put our happiness over appearance on the ground no one is being harmed. If they can’t deal, let them take their definitions, wrap them up, and shove them up their anal cavity.

In the words of Audre Lorde, “If I didn’t define myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

P.P.S. Do you realise these rules were created by people that lived a long time ago? If these people were to come back to life right now, they would worship us. Look at how far we have evolved as humans! “There’s no use in holding on when nothing stays the same.” Maybe this gender definitions worked for them. But please, it is no more tenable in out time. People are people first before belonging to any label.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Cisi Eze is a Lagos-based freelance journalist, writer, comic artist, and graphics designer. She feels strongly about LGBT+ rights, feminism, gender issues, and mental health, and this is expressed through her works on Bella Naija and her blog – Shades of Cisi. Aside these, she has works on Western Post NG, Kalahari Review, Holaafrica, Mounting the Moon, Gender IT, Outcast Magazine, Rustin Times, 14: An Anthology of Queer Art Volume 1 and 2, and Sweet Deluge (Issue 2). Her first book, published by Tamarind Hill Press, UK, is titled “Of Women, Edges, and Parks”. Cisi’s art challenges existing societal norms.


  1. john

    March 8, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    the bottom line for this article is that u want men to be weak and to bow down to ur whims and tantrums..then u console him that he is a real man in your view..tell it to the birds..Isn’t funny that all the qualities u want men to lose , you all want it for a woman

    • FasholasLover

      April 3, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      @Cisi, did u wake up on d wrong side of your bed? l yam not understanding this your post!? Tone is rude and language flippant.. You can do better!

  2. john

    March 8, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    .Isn’t funny that all the qualities u want men to lose , you all want it for a woman

    • oy

      March 8, 2017 at 11:59 pm

      Mr John valid observation

  3. tell me

    March 8, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Thank you very much..

  4. Tosin

    March 8, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Preach it!
    I’m basically, well, both, so I’m all about this gospel. Didn’t come to this world to be playing only one role throughout abeg.

  5. OY

    March 9, 2017 at 12:46 am

    It isn’t a co-incidence that men in most cases men r taller, bigger, stronger than women. Every manufacturer prioritizes purpose when designing his product, that is why a hummer is never found on a race track. The attributes men are asked to imbibe are consistent with our design. Men will raise men, we don’t need a woman telling us how to ‘be’. You can save your lectures for damaged souls like Bruce Jenner.

  6. mz_danielz

    March 9, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I don’t like this article, the tone is rude and it sounds like she’s shouting.

    In all, there is something called decorum and we shouldn’t in a bid to be free spirits loose that.

    I agree with not telling people how to be but disagree with the tone and contents of this article.

    Men will be men and women will be women. Equality is not synonymous with similarity.

    Men and women are equal but different.

  7. kwinny

    March 9, 2017 at 11:15 am

    mshewwww, rubbish write up.

  8. Nito

    March 13, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Cisi don fall hand again, but I still know you will come back better next time.

  9. Tyarow

    March 30, 2017 at 3:44 am

    She needs her brain reconstructed to help her stop talking gibberish. She’s trying too hard to sound liberal yet she doesn’t know what it means to be a liberal. There’re immutable facts no one can change. Most certainly, not a clueless woman like her who has been reading her ideologue books upside down – that’s if she’s ever ready a book in her life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tangerine Africa

Star Features