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Cisi Eze: Reclaiming Angry Bitter Feminist

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They thought we were like our mothers: they never saw us coming.

We are the expression of the suppressed aspects of our mothers – sexually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Our mothers said, “Sufferhead is a virtue”. We are saying, “Life is too short for longsuffering”.

Our mothers romanticised, and maybe eroticised pain. They placed a lid over rage. They fermented pain and rage thinking they were hiding them.

Unlike our mothers, we have taken off the lid, and we are pouring that anger which stems from us being tagged as “Second-Class Citizen” by virtue of having a body part we did not choose.

Our mothers were quiet, thereby normalising injustice. We have decide to speak up, to react to the pre-existing, albeit ignored, injustice, and we are branded “angry”, “bitter”, and “man-hating”.

How do you react when your neighbour places his/her generator, which emits toxic fumes, at your window? Do you keep quiet, and shut your window? Doing that would mean you would not have ventilation. Alternatively, would you go and knock on his/her door to ask that they move the generator to another part of the compound? What if they refuse after asking politely? Do you smile with them while asking them not to use their privilege of owning a generator to disturb your right to breathe free air? Let us be honest. A fight might ensue if they keep arguing with you.

This applies to feminism. The flame of feminism was born when a group of people decided and demanded to be treated as humans. Social media keeps fanning that flame to make it burn brighter, stronger.

Is it not shocfusing when the other group of people think this demand is an act of hate? As I always say, “When you call out a person on his/her privilege, he/she is bound to misconstrue it as hate.” It is just like when we were younger: we thought it was an act of hate when an older person corrected us.

From the moment she is born, a woman is plagued with the belief of her inadequacy. Different mechanisms send these messages to her. Before long, she internalises these messages. One of the strongest of them is that her existence was destined to be a soothing salve to a man’s frail ego. She learns how to be self-effacing. She was born to shine brightly as the sun, but these messages make her become the moon – she needs a man’s light to shine. When she behaves like a human, she is said to be like a man. Because a man has been groomed to see her as inferior, whenever she aspires to the things he aspires to, he sees her as a threat. The moment she decides not to be that calming balm to his ego, he is intimidated whenever she breathes. Such is the existence of a woman. This is her life based on a factor she did not choose. She did not choose her sex organ. She reacts to this injustice and society says she is angry. Yes, she is angry.

Women would be lying if we say we are not angry and bitter. We are angry and bitter for the following reasons:

  1. Our culture is unkind to us
  2. People feel entitled to our bodies.
  3. Laws based on sexual and reproductive health are put in place by people without vaginas
  4. We are not allowed to get some leadership positions
  5. In some places, we are not allowed to buy lands in our names
  6. At times, landlords refuse to rent apartments to us because we are single
  7. In some places, we cannot inherit our fathers because we are not his sons
  8. Some of us have never been through the four walls of a school
  9. Some of us are married before we get to the age of puberty
  10. Some of us, until recently, were given the license to drive
  11. Some of us are killed to protect family honour
  12. Some of us lose job opportunities because of our sex organs
  13. We are shamed into marriage – an institution that heightens our subjugation by insisting we should be submissive

Why should we not be angry?

Call us bitter. Call us angry. Call us man-hating. That will not shame us into silence anymore. Now that society cannot shame us with those pejoratives, now that we have claimed shame, what can it shame us with?

Until society does right by us, we, feminists (men and women) will keep calling out the system, and those sexists who enable it. If demanding social equality means that we are angry and bitter, yes, we are angry and bitter.

#BitterFeministsTiTakeOver!

P.S. Society stirs your blood through malevolent misogyny – the kind of misogyny that tramples on your rights, the kind of misogyny that made your father say “You are a girl: you are vulnerable”. Society irks you, yet it wants to dictate to you how to live through the anger bubbling in your soul. No one should dictate to anyone how to navigate around anger. Patriarchy doles out misogyny in elephantine proportions. Misogyny is the prejudice against women. Who so loves in the face of hate? Is that not absurd?

Photo Credit: © Igor Golubov | 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.

21 Comments

  1. Berry Dakara impersonator

    October 2, 2017 at 4:30 am

    I love this piece! and for me, I worry if we are raising enough men who can match or handle this new breed of women…..where attraction is based primarily on personality, intrinsic worth and strength of character, as opposed to previous considerations like wealth or status.

    • Berry Dakara impersonator

      October 2, 2017 at 4:33 am

      @Cisi don’t you have an Instagram handle? I’d like to follow you and interact with your mind…..lol

    • Udegbunam Chukwudi

      October 2, 2017 at 9:35 am

      @cisi_eze

    • John's Twin

      October 2, 2017 at 11:01 am

      All this things you are saying is just for the talk. You will meet one man who knows how to press your button and all this feminist blah blah, you’d throw away sharply.

      I have one that’s worse than you in my office. I shook her hand one day and held her shoulder which men do normally to each other but she went off and started talking sexual blah blah. She even reported me to management and they warned me. Ordinary touch shoulder while shaking hands!!!!

      Fast forward one year, I bought a car and started dropping her at home and we entered relationship from there. Now I just test her and tell her to make me indomie as early as 6 and she does. I tell her to do my laundry without saying pls and she does. I once told her she couldn’t go to Bach eve with me because she’s female after she got fully dressed o, she threw a fit at first and eventually go undressed.
      Funny thing she hasn’t stopped being a strong feminist outside o.

  2. oyin

    October 2, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Thank you so much Cisi!

  3. Shade

    October 2, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Even looking at it from a religious point of view, the Bible as a reference point, written by men, influenced by prevalent customs and traditions.
    They told us that we are an afterthought, yet God in his infinite wisdom, when he created animals created them both male and female. This he created before he created man. Yet, they told us that God after creating man realised that he needed a companion hence the woman.
    If God wanted to create man alone, he wouldn’t have forgotten to install the instrument for procreation seeing it is one of the very biblical essence of God’s creation.
    The subjugation of women continued throughout the Bible. But they pick and choose, when they want total submission, they reference the Bible. When they want adultery, they reference tradition.

    • european

      October 2, 2017 at 9:56 am

      when u say “they” try to conduct a thorough survey and get male folks opinion on these?…well i also believe you are not speaking for female folks either. if you have an argument with your male neighbor doesn’t mean that a general opinion of males.

  4. keeping it real

    October 2, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Some of us are also happy with our gender and the natural placement of gender role. My dorm mate in school sounded just like you when we started. She use to lament the injustice and long suffering of being born a female. She kicked to death a male cat having sex with a female cat because she said it was using its male privilage???. Recently she came out as being a lesbian the change was dramatic, short boyish hair, butch clothing the works ( why you gonna try to look like a man and be the butvh one in a lesbian relationship when you hate men is a kwesion im scared to ask her) but what is my own She is a happier person to live with now. Although she does try her most to recruit and convert to her camp. Im of the live and let live persuasion as long as shes happy, no random attacking animals, im happy.Cris i honestly hope you find your peace some day. Life is too short to be repressed.

    • john

      October 2, 2017 at 10:13 am

      She kicked to death a male cathaving sex with a female cat and later came out as lesbian with a boyish character..what!!!!…damn…I am starting to think that feminists really need love and pity and big mental evaluation..not condemnation..they have unresolved issues with their personal demons…nowadays, when ever a woman says she is a feminist.. I just look at them and walk away..I end whatever discussion or relationship I am having with them immediately..And I notice a lot of guys are doing the same instead of arguing with them..u know..the kind of ignore and pity and attention u give a retarded or imbecilic kid throwing a tantrum in class..u just force a fake smile and dismiss them quietly….cici eze, just come out of ur closet ..we wont comdemn u…I will be happy for you..this is why I am not a fan of the Nigeria strict policy on gays and lesbians..alot of lesbians are bottling a lot of issues and anger and chanelling it on men ( who doesnt even notice to care).. in a more civillised society..who nows cici eze and nkem ndem will be in a loving relationship with one another ..living together in a home with their adopted children or their own children and maybe some dogs and cats..happily( hopefully )

    • Anon

      October 2, 2017 at 10:56 am

      ???????

    • Anon

      October 2, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Loooool your rommy must have dick envy

    • ***

      October 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      @john, I know you are very opinionated but please please don’t ever describe kids as retarded or imbecilic … it is not only obsolete, it is offensive … keep abreast with civilisation and social etiquette

  5. Old school

    October 2, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Well written…

  6. european

    October 2, 2017 at 9:42 am

    in some places… in some places… just recently… you see you dont have enough points. feminist continue…
    i want the movement feminism be taken back to activism because most of what the females demand, most men will grant them these rights, just that these demands are rightly merited, not based on ignorance. if a lady while growing up learnt how to cook because the mum made females compulsory to learn and cook while the guys did more manly jobs, and so one thinks its not right, as a you grow to become a mother too, teach your young sons to stay, learn and cook in the kitchen as simple as that. it doesn’t take rocket science to understand as young boys are easily taught and tailored towards what the mums want them to become than as adults.

    • european

      October 2, 2017 at 9:49 am

      _just that these demands are not rightly merited but based on ignorance-

  7. northern lights

    October 2, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Couldn’t have said or rather written it better myself. #patriachymustdie.

  8. Giddypearl

    October 2, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    My dear this is a great article. But guess what? For some strange reason, women will still join and bash you for writing this, because? In this fight of empowerement and mental liberation, MANY women DONT WANT to be helped! Yes, there are some of my dear female folk who will ask you to ‘mind your own business’, ‘stop making noise abeg’ and the rest of it. Some of our women , yes those today, are extremely content with a relationship where there is suffocating machismo on display, where their partner can holler a ‘shut up woman’ at them in front of his friends and so on and they see this as signs of romance. What do you do? Let them be! Not everyone can (and should) be ‘saved’. That’s my 2 cents here really.

    Feminism shouldn’t be equated to hating men, to me, i see it as a movement bent on empowering and liberating. If someone somewhere sees it as man hating, I guess it is just a skewed view. Of course, women should not be violent about it BUT they must be firm and relentless, if that means peaceful protests every now and then, fine. If that means, seminars and forums, great. If that means NGOs to help trapped and abused victims, excellent. If that means running radio and tv programs that enlighten, if that means meeting with our legislators to enact laws, fine. Feminism is (and should) be peaceful but firm and assertive, that is the one I stand for, ain’t no one ignoring that! Sorry, long comment.

    • Hey

      October 2, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      ??????????????????????????

  9. sophie

    October 2, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Personally i cant speak for anyone else regarding what there preferences are in the opposiite sex or same sex. I just cant stand women or men who want to generalise and dictate what sort of men or women they should like. I like strong ass men but we can still be friends if you prefer the other sort. Live and let live thats my feminist view.

  10. Ito

    October 2, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Anger rest in the bossom of fools. Nor be me talk am oh.

  11. Jay

    October 3, 2017 at 6:28 am

    All these are hasty generalization, no law says women shouldn’t buy lands in thier name if they so wish, I have female neighbours here, I can’t remember the landlord rejecting their money because they are spinsters. You see we should get it straight, we need to understand that feminism as a philosophical milestone in the history of the world wasn’t developed with the notion of making women equal to men, we need to come to term with the fact that equality isn’t equity and in homes today I see women taking charge, in industries some women are better placed than men by virtue of thier qualification, in Nigeria, a woman can contest for the apex political position and the list is inexhaustible. So Where’s this agitation coming from? When you fail in your marriage or choose the wrong partner, you assume the world is unfair to you, the only solution to this is love, genuine love;the antidote for bitterness. I was trained to see my wife as first my companion, confidant, sister and then mother for procreation and economic cooperation. Invariably no man is complete without a woman. That alone should constitute a sense of pride for every woman. I still believe genuine love is the antidote for all these misconceptions in the name of feminism

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