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Cisi Eze: Feminists SHOULD Include Men, Too

Cisi Eze

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Sometime last year, I was talking with two of my male colleagues about how men are susceptible to rape. “Men can’t be raped,” one of them stated. Boy was I shook’dt? He went on to narrate how a young man in his hostel back at the university claimed to have been raped. “How can you rape a guy? In fact, all of us were saying that we should have been the ones raped.” My other colleague supported him. It felt as though I was on a different plane of existence where it is consensus to rob people of sexual agency.

A man was talking about how his wife was emotionally abusive to him. In response, other men were of the opinion that he was a gay man. (People still think “gay” is a pejorative. It’s like saying “black” is an insult.) Most men invalidated his pain, because “men are not emotional.”

“Egalitarianists” have a grouse with the “fem-” in “feminist”. They say the name alone is sexist, as it focuses on just women. They say that we cannot want gender equality if we centre feminism on women alone. But how do you include people who dismiss that men could be victims of “The Patriarchy”? Nevertheless, Suffering Olympics ensues when a woman comes out to talk about how she experienced abuse at the hands of a man. In that very moment, men ardently express how “men also suffer”. Recently on Twitter, there was  a thread on how a sizable number of South African women met painful deaths at the hands of men they were romantically (and sexually) involved with. In some cases, it was that the woman turned down the man. As expected, there were men on that thread tweeting that women are unfair for not tweeting about instances where women had murdered their significant others.

How often do men speak up against scenarios that do not favour them? Do other men take them seriously? Instead of tackling the issue and lending their voices, do they grab it as an avenue to bash feminism? These are the questions we should ask. In all sincerity, men are nonchalant when it comes to venting about the ways they are disadvantaged by this sexist system of society.

Feminism calls out misogyny. People are uncomfortable and defensive when we call them out on their wrongdoings. Letting go of the privileges The Patriarchy bestows on them scares them: they do not want to change the status-quo that deludes them with the lofty notions of their superiority. People who benefit from a system are not willing to let it go.

In the first place, the idea of feminism came into existence when one sex demanded to be treated as people. At the time, men had more financial wherewithal than women did. This wide margin in financial status seeped into other spheres of life such as politics, religion, marriage, etc. To close the lacuna between the sexes, women – the ones who bore the brunt of inequality – decided to speak up and act out via rallies, protests, boycotts, write ups, to mention a few.

Feminism is not a battle of the sexes. It is against a system that gives people unearned privileges based on sex organs, while putting other people at a disadvantage. The point is to get rid of the system. Feminism is for everyone: This patriarchal system of society disfavours everyone, as it gives us gender roles, scripts, we have to act out without taking into cognisance that we are minds before being bodies. Our minds – souls, if you may – do not choose whatever body we inhabit. We do not choose our race, sex, or sexuality. Does it make sense to stifle people based on situations they did not decide to have? Not every man wants to play to the traditional role of provider and aggressor. This is the same way not every woman wants to key into the conventional idea of nurturer and caregiver. People are minds before being bodies.

Men’s lives, rights, and opportunities will not be threatened as a result of women having equal rights and opportunities as men do. Loving women, supporting women, is not tantamount to hating and not supporting men. It is the same way loving and supporting black people is not equivalent to hating white people. Feminism does not endanger men. On the contrary, it already includes men. Having a balanced society, where people are treated in fairness, would eradicate the idea that men have to suffer certain social injustice without speaking up because it is normative for men to be silent about pain.

P.S. If you examine the “advantages” that women have, you would begin to question these privileges. In the grand scheme of things, these female privileges reinforces that women are weak according to the consensus of strong and weak. Seeing a romantic relationship as a way to get income is problematic on several levels. Whomever exercises more financial strength in any dynamics has more power.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

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.

7 Comments

  1. anon

    May 15, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    If the author is present, please clarify what you mean by “men could be victims of “The Patriarchy”. I am having genuine difficulties understanding it

  2. Engoz

    May 15, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Hehehe, Cisi so you just dey know say these men enjoy being RAPED? I don’t fall for that their faux – ‘but women rape men too or men too suffer’ arguments.

    I have been in series of debate with Nigerian men and they like the system as it is. They actually tell me that the system is balanced as it is. So why should I carry this wahala on my head? You tell people that something is killing all of us and they tell you it’s good like that? Why should I then give a sh*T? Don’t get it twisted, the privileges Nigerian men get out of their patriarchy is greater than their burden. They know this, that is why they will not willingly change the system. All those stupid arguments they provide is to get penile erections over feminism not that they are angry about RAPE or being killed like suya.

    I will only be empathetic to a little boy’s/feminist male plight, but a grown a__ patriarchal Nigerian male DEVIL? God forbid. Because if indeed they are angry about men being killed or raped or suffering in the hands of women, they will come together and address the demonic patriarchal system they have built because THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WOMEN AND MEN pertaining to this discussion on how we can provide change is that Nigerian men actually have access to all power/legislative structures in our society. Male political leadership in Nigeria is about 95%. One of the highest in Africa. Religious leadership as well is dominated by males, let alone our traditional/cultural institutions all dominated by men.
    So if indeed MEN ARE SERIOUS about rape and killings, they will use their access to power and address these issues.

    But it won’t happen.

    Because the system works for them. So..
    They are willing to be RAPED because 5 seconds of cumming is better than not cumming at all.
    They do not have punitive and devilish ‘widowerhood rites’ to worry about.
    Oh yes, they automatically get access to inheritance.
    They are willing to pay hefty bride-price because they get free domestic help and nanny and can still cheat outside and marry more than one wife. It’s a good bargain. He can also RAPE his wife and marry children (Recently, there have been incidences of child brides poisoning and killing their husbands). Heck, there is nothing like marital rape in our constitution. In 2015, premium times wrote that only 18 rape convictions have been recorded in our LEGAL HISTORY. If these men that rule us and have access to power are really serious about RAPE, why only 18 convictions? This tells me that their arguments on RAPE is only a weak, emotional retort against feminism, not that they care about RAPE itself. It is because feminists started shouting about rape , they started shouting about it.

    Hehehe, you have to understand that Nigerian men are fine and Nigerian women are actually fine with the system. E dey sweet their belle. Better not fall for their ‘faux’ anger.

    ‘P.S. If you examine the “advantages” that women have, you would begin to question these privileges. In the grand scheme of things, these female privileges reinforces that women are weak according to the consensus of strong and weak. Seeing a romantic relationship as a way to get income is problematic on several levels. Whomever exercises more financial strength in any dynamics has more power.’

    This is what peppersoup women will never understand. But peppersoup women are Okay with the system. All I ask is that they stay in their lane. You better not bring that mentality near my side as a template for women. You will be returned to where you came from.

  3. Rgo

    May 15, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Feminism seems to be coined out of the word female. It has it purpose and it is not for full equality. For true Equality we need an Egalitarian society. Lets all be egalitarian.

    egalitarian
    ɪˌɡalɪˈtɛːrɪən/Submit
    adjective
    1.
    believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
    “a fairer, more egalitarian society”
    noun
    1.
    a person who advocates or supports the principle of equality for all people.
    “he was a social and political egalitarian”

  4. Jane

    May 16, 2018 at 12:30 am

    Your points of view on Feminism, Patriarchy and Masculinity are so on point. I have tried in diverse ways to tell people that feminism is not a strive for dominance but a way that we can all co-exist better and appreciate gender. However I often noticed that no matter how i explain.. some might still want to associate with the concept to a display of prowess by some females.. others don’t want to see it differently they fear that it might disrupt the patriarchy of the Society and would rather want to remain macho.
    It’s laughable that some men say ‘men cannot be raped’ I think its in their bid to display superiority of gender, there are several cases of men that were raped. Next time just Google it to shut their mouths, if they still want their stance, then they are probably living in denial.

    I want to agree with you that men are victims of patriarchy themselves and I would try to explain what I think you mean to @anon. @Anon it is widely believed that we practice patriarchy in our economy. However males fall victims of perceived gender crimes (e.g rape) in the Society. These are sometimes suppressed out of fear of mockery of gender position. This simply makes them victims of the same system. This statement in the article explains it ” Letting go of the privileges The Patriarchy bestows on them scares them: they do not want to change the status-quo that deludes them with the lofty notions of their superiority” ( Cisi can I applaud this sentence? 🙂

    • LemmeRant

      May 16, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      “I have tried in diverse ways to tell people that feminism is not a strive for dominance but a way that we can all co-exist better and appreciate gender”

      What you say and what we see are entirely different things. Why should I take your word as truth when reality is very different.

  5. xtra

    May 16, 2018 at 12:54 am

    For the misogynistic men that will come and bash a well written article

    Biko when you pay school fees and lodging/boarding fees for your children, do the school charge you cheaper for your daughters as compared to your sons?

    • @xtradumb

      May 16, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      You are not a very bright person. When clubs and bars charge men 5k for entry and women free, you don’t see? This point isn’t even a point of entry for feminism talk

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