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Cisi Eze: Faux Feminist Females

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Last time I was with a dear friend, I told him, “I want a patriarch, a benevolent misogynist. You that is a feminist, who you epp?”

On a serious note, the ‘female feminist’ life is stressful.

Not using your female privileges in a world that compels you to use them is stressful. There are occasions you choose not to use your privileges only for you to experience sexism. You might be just friends with a man and not feel entitled to his money only to realise the day he visits you, or you him, that he feels entitled to your body and wants to be touching you one kind. Life and its vicissitudes!

I remember my teenage self being angry while skimming through the chapter of my textbook about crime. In the book, some feminists stated women were as criminal as men, even though their crimes were not recorded due to the chivalry exuded by policemen. Female offenders were let go. Any act of rape perpetuated by a woman on a man was easily ignored, because some law enforcement officers – mostly men – dismissed the idea of male rape. Women were culpable of child abuse, but due to the domestic nature of the crime, such women were pardoned. In my mind, I was wondering why the feminists, people that should support women, were calling out female offenders. After all, that the world wasn’t fair to women was more than enough reason to have things easier than men. Later in class, my lecturer stated women were pardoned, because “they are seen as baby chambers”.

In graduate school, there was this classmate of mine that was ‘liking’ me. He really thought we had to hang out after class so we could talk more, so one day, I decided to follow him. Dude made me pay for what I got and left me ‘shocfused’. “How dare he not pay the bills?!”, I thought. This same guy did not open doors for me, and did not think it wise to pull a seat out for me. At the end of the date, I had concluded he was going to date himself. I was not going to date a guy who was not gentlemanly.

As I grew older, I read more on feminism – First-Wave, Second-Wave, and Third-Wave Feminism; Alice Walker’s “Womanism”; Africana Womanism by Clenora Hudson-Weems; Works by Angela Davis, Bell Hooks, Audre Lorde – and I finally realised that my understanding of feminism all this while had been wrong. I had thought feminism to be supporting women and not calling them out even when they misstep.

The truth is, feminism is for everybody, not just women. Ironically, some female feminists do not understand the idea of it. They think it is some bandwagon to jump. They think it’s trés chic –that it makes them seem cool.

This is what feminism really means:

  • It means you are to be treated equally as any other person
  • It means you should be regarded based on your capabilities and personalities, not your sex organs
  • It means your mind is more than your body. No one should tell you not to aspire to whatever because you’re a woman
  • It means that gender double standards should not apply; that what is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

Feminism is against patriarchy and all forms of sexism. It is a movement that advocates for equal rights, however, it is not just about rights. What about privileges – special rights, advantages, or immunities granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Patriarchy gives men and women privileges. Female feminists in this part of the world decry male privilege, but have no problem with the female privileges patriarchy has handed to us. To fight patriarchy, we have to start rejecting female privileges, including the feeling of entitlement to a man’s money. I find it hypocritical that some women feel bad because a man feels entitled to her body, when in actual fact, she too thinks a man’s money is hers.

It is interesting when female “feminists” want to exercise their female privileges, especially feeling entitled to men paying bills for them. When you think deeply, you would realise that these female privileges make us seem weaker, while male privileges make men seem stronger, based on the general concept of what is weak and strong. Who would really respect a person that cannot pay his/her bills? Let us be sincere.

Feminism does not imply that women are victims. We, women, also have so much to do. A collective first step would be to stop using our female privileges. We should stop accepting chivalry. After being nice and sweet to you, what do you think a man should expect in return? You are either sexist or feminist; there is no in-between. Pick a hustle. You can’t be feminist only when convenient. You are not allowed to enjoy female privileges only to start claiming feminist when things go awry. Women who claim to be feminists, yet wield their female privileges, do not deserve a seat at the table.

Chivalry is another problem. In my opinion, it is munificent misogyny. Misogyny is not only when you experience injustice based on your sex. It is sexism when someone does something sweet for you because you are a woman. It is okay if the person does it just to be nice, but if this niceness is as a result of your gender, it counts as sexism.

P.S. Your rights belong to you. No one can give you what already belongs to you. You seize it and exercise it.

P.P.S. “Ladies first” is sexist. You are going first just because you are a lady. Would you go first if you were a man?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime| Bobby Flowers

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.

8 Comments

  1. ogeAdiro

    August 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    The boiling frog parable. I think “chivalry” is a product of patriarchy.

    • Observaunt

      August 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      I can agree with this but there is some perhaps lesser form of human decency one should expect from anyone. For instance, I will hold the door open for anyone temporarily or permanently incapacitated, occasionally pick up the bill when I take out a younger (less gainfully employed) friend or colleague and give generous gifts to a significant other.

      This distinction is necessary. Abandoning chivalry does not mean treating others without care or respect nor does it advocate accepting such treatment,

    • ogeAdiro

      August 9, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      Observaunt, completely agree with you. That’s why I put chivalry in quotation marks.

  2. True Womanhood

    August 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I disagree a bit with this article. There’s a quote I found long time ago that states, “a woman who wants to be equal to a man has no ambition” Don’t know who said it. I say true feminism is being knowing your unique abilities and role as a woman and not trying to play the role of male at the same time. The Bible said male and female He created them. Men and women are wired differently. Everyone has what they contribute to keep humanity in existence to say that we should be doing the same things and not have expectations of each gender is a recipe for chaos. In any organization there has to be a head, and roles and responsibilities need to be outlined. Woman know your role, your worth, and see if you won’t shake the word, but keep competing with man and live frustrated. Man is not our competition, we are our own competition!

    • Leslie

      August 10, 2017 at 12:53 am

      That’s your opinion of feminism. There is no true feminism, especially the one that panders to patriarchal standards. Every woman has different needs and desires, especially based on where she lives and what form of sexism she struggles with. Chimamanda who grew up in 80s Nigeria and now lives in America will have different needs from a white lesbian or a young millennial Nigerian woman. Even when using the bible, the only difference between men and women is in marriage. Most of our gender behaviours are socialised and not innate. A lot of Nigerian women in their late 20s and 30s like that acceptable form of feminism where they do everything the men like and then say it’s their choice, which is a very comfortable decision to make (no shade). Nonetheless, it’s your choice, but I disagree with you putting Cici’s opinion down to tell us your own feminism is the real one.

    • chrisyinks

      August 10, 2017 at 11:51 am

      Couldn’t agree any better with your stance. Indeed, you live up to your moniker!

    • Bimbo

      August 12, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Keep in mind the happenings in the bible happened over 2000 years ago ! Women and men are co- breadwinners in most homes nowadays so the headship thing is arguable. Especially when a good number of the bible’s dictates are quite impossible to follow in this day and age . Your idea of what feminism is is warped to say the least

  3. Simple

    August 9, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    The truth is, feminism is for everybody, not just women. —This is not true, feminism is for women(female). Fem.
    Ironically, some female feminists do not understand the idea of it. They think it is some bandwagon to jump. They think it’s trés chic –that it makes them seem cool — very true.

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