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Cisi Eze: Who Will Marry You?

Cisi Eze

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There is that weird relative that could send this kind of letter:

My Ada,

How are you? I know you are doing great and I am happy for you. You have a good job. You live in a beautiful house in Lagos. You have bought a big car. I even heard you bought a plot of land. You built a mansion for your parents in the village and gave them two cars. They say you have money to throw around at functions. All these things are good, but what bothers me is that you have become the man your parents wanted you to marry. What man would want to marry another man? You are as strong as a man. You are as rich as a man. Who will marry you? Gwa’m, Ada. Who will marry you?

What man would want a woman that rubs shoulder with him and competes with him? Don’t you know that to be a wife, you have to submit to your husband? Haven’t you read the Bible verse that says wives must submit to their husbands? Didn’t you hear the Man-of-God that said marriage is not a partnership? He said husband means master.

Where is your femininity? Do you not you know a man wants a woman he can take care of? What makes you feminine? I even asked my son, Okey, to read something from the internet. He read, “Femininity is a set of attributes, behaviours, and roles generally associated with girls and women. Femininity is socially constructed (…)” The grammar was too much and I asked him to read to me the traits of being feminine.

Here they are, “surrender, receptivity, empathy, radiance, sensuality, nurturing, affection, sharing, tenderness, patience, and loving.” On the other hand, here are masculine traits: “freedom, direction, logic, focus, integrity, stability, passion, independence, discipline, confidence, and strength.”

When I wasn’t getting all the plenty grammar, I asked him to read another part, and he read, “Betty Friedan wrote that the key to women’s subjugation lay in the social construction of femininity as childlike, passive and dependent…” More oyibo.

Well, my dear, look into your mind and ask yourself if you haven’t become the man your parents wanted you to marry. As you are, what do you need a husband for? You already have a big car. How many men will be comfortable knowing that their wives already drive a bigger car? How many men will be comfortable knowing they are not the ones that bought the house they live in?

Don’t you know you are meant to be submissive? Money is power and power intoxicates. You will never see your husband as your master. Men are the head. That is why Onye Ocha’s religion says men were created before women.

Now that you are as strong as a man, will you marry a woman so she can be your wife? Will you two be like the goddesses Ogugu and Wiyeke? You children don’t know much of our barbaric culture. I am happy Onye Ocha’s religion stopped it. Even when you told me Onye Ocha’s god committed barbaric acts in the Old Testament, it does not matter because old things have passed away.

“According to story, Ogugu, the chief female deity in Ohambele and neighbouring towns in the Owerri District, was popular for giving children to her female worshippers. In another town, Akwete, resided another female deity, Wiyeke. At one point, for undisclosed reasons, Wiyeke courted Ogugu as her wife. Ogugu agreed to the marriage on the condition that Wiyeke would come and live with her as her wife at Ohambele. Wiyeke accepted the condition and thus joined Ogugu as one of the female deities of Ohambele, assuming the status of Ogugu’s husband. This explains why women could get married to women in Igboland.”

But you can’t marry a woman! It is a sin! Marriage is important for a woman. Don’t you know that a woman’s crowning glory is a man? You need a man before we agree you are a woman. You must get married.

I sigh for you in pity. What is all the money in the world without a child? Haven’t you heard the name “Nwakaego”? A child is more important than money. I know there are women that have children out of wedlock. May that not be your portion! How can you go around town as a single mother? What do you think people would say about you? They will call you a prostitute. They will say all sort of things.

My dear niece, I am not saying money is bad. I am not saying you should not have something on your own. I am only saying you should not be richer than your husband. I am afraid you have become the man we wanted you to marry. No man wants to marry another man. Please, be more feminine- be more of a woman. No man wants a woman that competes with him. Nne, biko, tone down yourself.

That said, please, you can send me some money for my arthritis drug. The price has gone up. Your cousins, Uju and Nkechi, have abandoned me since they went to their husband’s house. They have refused to send me small change. Their excuse is that their husbands didn’t let them get a job. Can’t they start a small shop in front of their houses? All Okey does is to press his phone. At least, he helps with some money. But you, Ada, have been more of a daughter to me. Were it not for you, I would have been a withering woman. I love you so much. I want you to be happy. A man will make you happy, I know because that is how it should be. That is how it has always been for our people. We met it like this, we can’t change it. My dear, don’t forget my words. Tone down so that you will find a man to marry you.

                                                                                                                                                                Your Loving Aunt,

                                                                                                                                                                Akaugo

P.S. What we call femininity and masculinity are mostly social constructs.

Sex and gender are different things.

Sex is biological, anatomical.

Gender is sociological.

Having a penis or vagina does not give you certain abilities; those abilities are acquired.

References:

Uchendu, E. (2006). Woman-Woman Marriage in Igboland. University of Nigeria.

Photo Credit: Konstantin Sutyagin | Dreamstime.com

Cisi Eze is a Lagos-based freelance journalist, writer, comic artist, and graphics designer. A media and justice fellow of the Bisi Alimi Foundation, 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 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). Cisi’s art challenges existing societal norms.

21 Comments

  1. anonymous

    March 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Hahhaahahah this Aunt is something else…..the conclusion made me laugh so hard!!! nice

    • Amaka

      March 28, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      I thought men preferred rich women. Things are changing .

  2. king Bey

    March 28, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Oya feminist make una jump out lol…sincerely it’s a good thing that women are working really hard for their money and are very successful too…I will teach my daughter’s that money making is the truth and should be anything they want to be in this life regardless of their gender…..I won’t lie sha this topic has been overflogged lol

    • jess

      March 28, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Till the narrative changes, this topic cannot be said to be over flogged. Do you know that one of the reasons why some women have the courage to leave abusive marriages today is because they are financially stable unlike before. We must preach it, to create a better society for our daughters as well as our sons.

  3. Ada

    March 28, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    I laughed when she said her cousins Uju and Nkechi had abandoned her after they got married, I hope she knows that Ada too will mete out the same treatment when she gets married as Aunty wants!No more money for athritis drugs!

  4. King Bae

    March 28, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Lmao, aunty is no joke. But biko o, aunty… when Ada gets a man, that’s a bonus to her… doesn’t stop her shine… they build more together and become bigger…

    • Jezebel

      March 28, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Tell me how many times that has happened with bona fide examples. Ada! How many times did I call you, that money for arthritis medicine enh if you send it, I will personally send “cane” to BN to flog you. Aunty should wait for her daughters to “man up” and take responsibility for their lives, nonsense and ingredients.

  5. Deleke

    March 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    ‘Onye Ocha’s religion’

    That cracked me up there for a minute

  6. stereotypes

    March 28, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    This article is stereotyped now. Who is to say a woman cannot be feminine and still be successful.

    We need to stop propoagating this steretype that makes women sit on their feminine traits.

    I drive an SUV, have 2 landed property and I have a good savings account.

    I get asked out by all sorts of men from rich to poor and in between. In fact, one just offered to handle all issues concerning my car. He says my mechanic is cheating me so I take my car to his mechanic who sends him the bill.

    I just got off the phone with a chiker who begged me to lend him 300k, I just said I didn’t have it and in feminine and still firm way, I let him know I don’t lend guys money, besides, he’s asking me out and he should be the one trying to impress. I’m not going to have a rant about it. He’s who he is and I am who I am so I’ve just moved on. He will have to earn my time.

    A woman needs to be strong on the inside and not afraid to be warm, flirty etc on the outside. Heck, we all need to own ourselves and be at peace, walking away at things that are messed up.

    The reason feminism looks like a joke is that people be shouting women liberation and yet are so easy and touchy.

    And it’s a good thing if a woman understands men and how to wrap them around her finger.

    My submission is a woman can be successful and still have extremely feminine qualities

    • Tyarow

      March 30, 2017 at 5:44 am

      I felt beyond impressed when I first read your well delineated comment. At first I couldn’t believe it was written by a woman with your tone, so I took a second read.

      You’re indeed one of few real women of substance who feel comfortable and confident in their own feminine skins without bleating gratingly loudly about it. You couldn’t be more on point. The waves of feckless feminism that has become passé in the west are just kissing the shores of Nigeria in their ubiquitousness and wonky loudest. Most are poor writings for recruiting new misandrists for gang of feminist sisters.

      It’s unfortunate that these group of women are perpetuating what you described very aptly as “stereotypes” bothering on serious deceitfulness which bellanaija is now giving its oxygen to for it to thrive and grow in Nigerian. I see it as not serving the much needed interests of women.

      This write up by Cisi is nothing but faking the truth. She writes make up stories and package them to give false impression of semblance of truth to gullible ill educated readers. These are mostly young women and naive girls. When one scrutinises her specious stories, one will see that they couldn’t stack up.

      What she proffers are sophistic claims. I can only hope that more readers will stop by to read your comment and learn from it to educate themselves about the true meaning of what is empowerment and gender equality. Kudos to you. I will definitely look out for your comment next time.

  7. The Real Oma

    March 28, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Very interesting piece at Cisi,
    I had never heard the legend of Ogugu and Wiyeke.
    I could not help but wonder how much of our past, our rich history, we buried for the sake of the white man’s religion,
    We clearly bent over backward to conform

  8. hadiza

    March 28, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    A woman’s crowning glory is a man?? pls what did I just read????? A woman shouldn’t be richer than a man? a rich woman is already a man? so she should be broke n marry a rich man who will maltreat her because he has money? she should send u money for drugs after all the rubbish u spewed?? You want her to become as useless and slave-like as your “married” daughters?? I didn’t just read that crap. I’ll just go now.

    • Observaunt

      March 29, 2017 at 2:28 am

      Read the rest.

  9. UZOAMAKA

    March 28, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Please take a moment to actually look up ‘Uchendu, E. (2006). Woman-Woman Marriage in Igboland. University of Nigeria.’ Thank you Cisi, Imela!

  10. funmilola

    March 28, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    please what is onye ocha?

    • Pripri

      March 28, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      White man

    • Uju

      March 28, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      White man

  11. nnenne

    March 28, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Conflicts.Damn if you do and damn if you don’t. Someone can be poor and still single right?
    Just do you, period!

  12. bb

    March 28, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    nawa for you. read the article again

  13. Tyarow

    March 30, 2017 at 4:52 am

    Cisi lives in a self created delusional bobble. She writes trash most of the time in her delusional of grandeur. Unfortunately, gullible and less cerebral people are lapping it all up. All she writes in line with feminism is passé in the west.. Femininity and masculinity are not human construct as she falsely claims. They’re intrinsic part of gender which she admits is biological! She’s reckless and feckless liar writing make up stories that are grounded in fakery. She’s a deluded neutral gender who needs her brain reconstructed. She is a mind polluter who’s seriously indoctrinating naive and impressionable young women!

    • Chynwa

      March 31, 2017 at 11:40 am

      O ga ooooo! ur English is plenty

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