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Cisi Eze: Something for the Gals-Dem! Here’s How to Vex Nigerians

Cisi Eze

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Nigerians are emotionally fragile people – the “inconsequential” things peeve us. Here is the Rebel Gang Starter Pack for Nigerian Girls:

Be At Ease with Yourself
If you read or watched Shamim Sarif’s “I Can’t Think Straight”, you’ll remember that part Tala told Leyla, “Be at ease with yourself.” It takes a lot to be at ease with one’s self. It means you stop caring about what irrelevant people think about your choices. Being at ease with yourself means you are starving people that feed off your insecurities. “People hate you when you love yourself”. The moment you decide to put your happiness over society’s ego, everyone gets salty.

Be a Feminist
Chimamanda will say, “Everyone should eat healthy”, and some people will twist it into something else just because they want to get angry with her. Feminism is not hard to get, really. Feminism in the real sense is this: let people be treated according to their personalities, not according to their sex. If a guy wants to be a househusband, let him be – don’t ridicule him by saying he is not man enough to fend for his family. Personally, I don’t see “feminist” as a tag or badge. It is the logical thing. Does it make sense to zero someone down to genitals alone thereby ignoring the person’s personality, skills, and etcetera?

Be Queer
Yes, Nigerians do not understand humanity is nuanced and as such, human sexuality is on a continuum (Feldman, 2005). Heterosexuality is just one of several patterns of love. “Heterosexuality is not normal, it is common.”- Dorothy Parker. Sexuality is not just sex – it is emotional, too. Funny enough, it is easier for a woman to identify as queer than for a man. (Heterosexual men are probably scared queer men would treat them the same way they – heterosexual men – they treat women. No one likes tasting his/her poison. Eh-hen! I even heard a good number of married men have male lovers, o. Hian! I will collect more receipts and spill tea about that later. You’re welcome, dear.)

Own Your Body
To own your body means you have bodily autonomy – you decide what to do with your body. Nigerians do not like women that own their bodies. They be like, “Who taught you how to own your body?” E.g., tell them you don’t want biological kids. Hay! They will blackmail you with tomes of obsolete literature that originated from another culture. They will passionately dissect your matter as though the betterment of the Nigerian economy is hinged on it.

Have Sexual Agency
Be like Mona Elthahawy, author of “Headscarves and Hymen”, and say, “My vagina belongs to me. It does not belong to the church; it does not belong to the mosque; it does not belong to the state…” I tell you, they will come for you! Nigerians do not understand your vagina belongs to you ergo, you can’t do whatever you want with it. I have said it before that Nigerians can’t handle women on the loose. Some people have succeeded in equating “purity of the land” to how sexually free women are. But did we tell these people we want them to place their purity in our vaginas? No one should shame you, o! If you want someone, go for it so far it is consensual. As I wrote before, “shame is the tool society uses to suppress your desires and appetite.” (Once upon a time, men could not ascertain paternity. To put women in check, they compelled women to prudishness by equating virginity to our worth. What do you think is the historical background of paying bride price? Respecting a woman? Haha! You wish!)

Be Irreligious
They will go in hard on you. Ha! They’ll come and spill on you. They’ll spill all that anger and vitriol. “How dare you not subscribe to a belief system that says you should not talk? How are you not believing in an ideology that says you are weaker by virtue of your genital?” (Some people don’t know spirituality and religion are different things. Religion is what society reaches you about God. Spirituality is what you discover on your own about God.)

Refuse to Aspire to Matrimony
These Nigerians will be looking at you like, “How dare you want to be single?” But is it their single? Epp me an’ ask them, o. Some people equate feminism to not wanting to get married. (Giggles) All that dumbness! Not everyone was suited for marriage (Mathew 19: 11-12). Even in palm reading, some people don’t have the Line of Marriage. (A little Chiromancy never hurt anyone.)

Say You Want a Trophy Husband
Oh Lor’! You and that your trophy ozzband will hear it! They will ask you why you want to upset the natural order of things. Then, they will face your hubby, o! They will question his destiny and he will give answers on why he does not want to be a man. (What does it even mean to be a man?)

Be Honest
How many times do I have to say honesty is not seductive? Decide to say things the way they are and everyone would act up on you. For example, get to work at 7:56 a.m. and sign 7:56, not 7:04, your colleagues will snatch your weaves and edges; they will drag you. In fact, they’ll snatch your head along, sef. Nigerians do not like honest people. (Dishonesty Gang, the saccharine taste of a spoonful of lies will soon cause you tummy ache. What did your ma tell you about sweet things?)

Aspire to Be the Best You Can Be
Some men will be saying we are emotional meanwhile, they launch into panic mode because of ordinary breath coming out of your nostrils. Ordinary personal ambition, these men with fragile egos would start thinking you are competing with them. Who is even competing with them? Abeg, you only compete with people on the same level with you. What level of insecurity would make you think someone staying on her lane and doing her own thing is trying to compete with you? What a shameful something! Then, some people would go on to say you are trying to be a man by being a human being. Can we stop flattering men? We flatter men by comparing ambitious, strong people to them. Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female – whenever she behaves as a human being, she is said to imitate the male.”

There you have it – ten ways to get Nigerians pissed. There are many ways, but these seem to be the “deadlier” ones.

P.S.
Those of us that belong to Rebel Gang should identify ourselves, o. Let’s form an association. Take this as a clarion call. But they’ll say we’re doing cult sturvs. World people, sef!

P.P.S.
“Queer” used to be a pejorative, but as the LGBT community has “reclaimed” it, it is “cool”.

P.P.P.S.
Mona Elthahawy is my birthday mate. Haha! That one time astrology worked. You can’t be cool with social injustice when your birthday is August 1st. You kent*!

REFERENCE:
Feldman, (2005).Understanding Psychology. USA: McGraw-Hill Book Publishing, Co. Inc

Photo Credit: Jameswimsel | Dreamstime.com

Cisi Eze is a Lagos-based 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 articles as a guest contributor on Bella Naija, her blog – Shades of Cisi, a podcast she co-presents – We Said It, and an online radio show – Stirring the Waters. Aside these, she has works on Kalahari Review, The Rustin Times, Outcast Magazine, Holaafrica, Mounting the Moon, 14: An Anthology of Queer Art Volume 1 and 2.Cisi’s art challenges existing societal norms.

30 Comments

  1. jess

    March 14, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I love this and laughed hard reading it

  2. Sarah

    March 14, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Absolutely spot on! Be at ease with yourself and Be honest they just can’t comprehend it. Well written Cisi

  3. Happy People

    March 14, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    The model has a nice smile, lets all be happy.

  4. FasholasLover

    March 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I like you already Cisi. Boundaries are meant to be broken.

  5. Tru

    March 14, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    ??? oyyy, you are so right! Dare say you don’t believe in church or marriage or kids and watch folks brand you a witch. Another way to piss off Nigerians; be a woman driving a nice car on a Lagos road and have male drivers (sometimes even along with their female passengers) call you an ashawo.

  6. Vivian

    March 14, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Loved every word of this!! As a lady who had to struggle between what I want and what society tells me I should want, things definitely got much easier when I finally came to the realisation that my life is mine and mine alone. That’s when I finally starting feeling it was okay to be me , freely and honestly.

    And before you “women shamers” and “overly religious, na me know pass, your life may be yours but it’s my job to tell you what to do with it” people start spewing your ignorance all over this beautiful article, at least read it first (all of it) and try to UNDERSTAND the message she is trying to get across.

  7. CHIKA

    March 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Love you Cisi!

  8. Ify

    March 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I’m reading Headscarves and hymens now. What a coincidence. It’s a beautiful book. Lovely article. “Coming out” as a feminist at 20years old has been….. weird. My friends still roll their eyes when I start talking. Lol. But reading things like this make me very happy

  9. Tia

    March 14, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Hahah! I like how you think Cisi. So many valid points raised here. I was talking to an older relative the other day and they just didn’t understand how could be in touch with my spirituality without going to church as if Na by church smh. Anyways, I’ve come to realize that in the past I used to judge girls who were sexually liberated because that was what I was taught by my society. Now that I know better and understand the concept of not policing people’s generals, I look at those who live freely, the rebels you speak of, with admiration and respect. So when people talk about purity in terms of virginity and how the sexuality of others is somehow tied in to the moral corruption of the future generation, I just roll my eyes and hope that one day, they realize the folly of their ways and become enlightened people. Because despite all the morality and religiousness of our great nation, we have absolutely nothing to show for it.

  10. angelic

    March 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I can so relate with this. I shaved all of my hair off at the beginning of the year and many people wanted to kill themselves…in fact my neighbour who is a married man said to me “you should get a wig or something, I don’t like ladies with shaved heads”….I’m like, thanks my hubby likes it that way!!!. I also go many days without make up now and my colleagues will be like “can’t you just package”……all these headache on top of another person’s life. The older I get, the more I realise how irrelevant many things are. For heavens sake, why keep an unhealthy hair that has refused to grow!! abeegi…live and let live

  11. SoniaPaloma

    March 14, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Oh you could not have said it better especially the last paragraph. A lot of men still have a long way to go when it comes to accepting ambitious and independent women yet they are the first to also complain when the women depends on them *sigh*
    You can never win, reason I kindly accept my fate and rep my Leo zodiac sign always lol

    • aj

      March 15, 2017 at 5:53 am

      Ha! Leo right here! Up Leos.

  12. kandy musa

    March 14, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    How spot on is this article? “Be at ease with yourself.” is something I say to myself all the time.
    kandymusa.com

  13. Ash

    March 14, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Loving this article Cisi….I am in a place now in my life weda to continue with my marriage or not?After reading this,I just wanna do me!!!11

  14. John

    March 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    As usual , empty drums( online femtards) making the loudest noise especially online

  15. mee

    March 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    i am just as guilty. but with a bit of maturity i am far less judgemental

  16. CountingonAccounting

    March 14, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I’m currently learning to be at ease with my money

  17. Big Sister

    March 14, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    My darling, let me talk to you as a big sister.

    You don’t come across as someone at ease with herself but rather as someone going through a phase, that phase where you reject society’s boundaries but have not found the different niche you seek and darling that is okay.

    There is a gift of serenity, where you are genuinely at ease and in love with yourself that your default response to hate is love and you don’t get into unnecessary arguments. When people stay with you for a while, they are at ease with themselves too. Remember, witnessing with words is one of the weakest ways.

    Secondly darling, wisdom is profitable to direct. People sometimes think it is their honesty etc that puts them in trouble when it is a lack of situational awareness and responding wrongly to situations.

    Adaptability and situational awareness are key success factors. All things are lawful but not all things are expedient.

    • tunmi

      March 14, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      they have come

    • Idomagirl

      March 15, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      ?????

  18. Sherri

    March 14, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    I concur!
    Sign me up! Let’s roil dem!!

  19. Duchess Maria

    March 14, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    LMAO! I love your articles Cisi! This was hilarious and so spot on!

  20. Timb

    March 14, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I’ll start by applauding the writer’s attempt to articulate her ideological standpoint,

    Many of the issues raised in the article emanate from the post colonial narrative which strongly relies on the ‘western experience’ which seeks to superimpose this thinking on everyone else, and promotes it as the most enlightened and civilised point of view. Whoever dares to disagrees with this narrative that promotes homosexuality, prostitution, celebrity without talent etc is viewed as non progressive or backward.

    An attempt has also been made to intertwine feminism which is a noble cause and other questionable acts (and not questionable from only a religious perspective, but also from a sociological and psychological view) such as homosexuality and promiscuity. (story for another day)

    Any sane person will agree that the feminist movement came about because of real injustices being suffered by the female gender. Where this movement starts to fail is when it begins to use tools of inequality to meet its objectives, at this point we enter into radical feminism.

    If justice is at the heart of feminism, then every time there is so called ‘positive discrimination’ in favour of women, in means that the feminist promise of trying to ensure justice and equality between the sexes is broken.

    The real question is how do we ensure that justice is served to every one irrespective of their gender, religious , race etc.

    As a Nigerian i’m not vexed, i just don’t want people assuming that i’m not humane or civilised when i decide not to buy into aspects of what they are trying to sell me.

    • Mohammad

      March 15, 2017 at 4:08 am

      Sorry but you have already shown how backward you are. That your understanding of sexuality allows you to view it as a lifestyle choice to be rammed down your throat says it all. Thankfully you are a dying breed. Time is marching on. And whether you like it or not, in this generation, or the next, or the one after that, gay people will be treated with respect in Nigeria. And people like you will be viewed for the dinosaurs that you are.

  21. Cee

    March 14, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    One sure way to vex a Nigerian is to tell him or her your name is Nnaemeka and u are not a Nigerian.

  22. Chi

    March 14, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Say you can’t cook Nigerian food or that you would need to go on you tube for directions

  23. funmilola

    March 14, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    won’t the world be in trouble if we all have the same opinions about certain issues?… say: marriage, heterosexuality, hair, gender equality and the rest, for example i don’t agree with some of your opinions and that doesn’t make me a bitter Nigerian,no it doesn’t and vice versa too. we get angry easily when people don’t seem to agree with our point of view, why don’t you love on and let them be as long as you’re not been hurt?

    • "changing moniker"

      March 15, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Funmi is wise..
      I like Funmi
      Be like Funmi…
      The fact that we don’t agree with some of the things you agree with doesn’t mean we are angry at you…
      My own article would probably be titled “Things Nigerians will say you’re angry at then for when in fact you can’t be bothered “…and I’ll list all your points. ?

  24. le coco

    March 15, 2017 at 3:35 am

    Cisi , you’re the greatest …. bookmarking this …

  25. Idomagirl

    March 15, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Cisi you forgot one big one.
    Say you hate cooking or housework in general.
    Ah! They will tear pant and shirt ontop your head.
    ?????

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