It is undeniable that Nigeria runs on patriarchy. From the elevation of male children to the continuous minimizing of the basic rights of girls and women, the patriarchy is everywhere.
Driven by a our unyielding hold of religion and a pervasive culture, the issue of whether men and women should be treated equally continues to remain a topic of heated debate. It is for this reason that feminism continues to be a contentious issue amongst the Nigerian polity.
However, feminism exists in Nigeria; and contrary to what a lot of people might like to believe, it is not a new age concept. Mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers have often stood their ground and fought for their rights to exist on equal footing, simply as humans.
Social media has, however, taken feminism in Nigeria beyond the Aba women’s riot, and other radical movements; social media has united feminists in the country with their counterparts abroad. With social media, the stories have become amplified and highlighted at a scale that is almost inconceivable.
Feminists found each other and shared experiences of their work, their differences and the single thing that unified them – equal rights for all women – poor women, black women, transwomen, queer women, rich women, disabled women, and everyone within the different intersections. Equal rights for all women.
With feminists finding each other on social media, one thing is constantly brought up: “Who will marry you?” (And this applies to both men and and women who align with the movement). Why does it seem so unbelievable that someone would marry a feminist?
It is for this reason that BellaNaija has decided to turn its spotlight on the partners of feminists. In this series, we chat with people who are married to feminists — learn their highs, their lows and their whys.
First off, we speak to Deji A, a telecommunications consultant who was born and raised in Lagos, and is married to the feminist Ahunna N. Deji had both his primary and secondary education in Isolo, Lagos, studied Computer Science in the University of Lagos, and although he was raised to be open minded, his background held no traces of feminism.
Deji describes himself as a feminist, believes feminism in its most basic form is the quality of all sexes, with women afforded the same level of access as men to wealth, the same opportunities, and way of life. He has two kids.
Hear more from Deji.
How did he meet Ahunna?
I met her on Twitter. I heard a friend talk about her and I was intrigued. So I searched for her on twitter. I replied one of her tweets with a corny line and she responded. I sent her a DM and after numbers were exchanged, I called her. That’s how it all started.
When did he find out she was a feminist?
The first day we met actually. She drove to my place on a Sunday. She talked for a while and I listened. Everything she said made sense and it was like I was hearing it for the first time. She already had me from when Sess spoke about her, but I confirmed it when we met and talked.
Do they both share the same definition of feminism?
Yes, we do. I do have to say that she understands it on a deeper level because she experiences it every day while as a man, I am shielded from it
How is it different, being married to a feminist?
Well, she truly is an excellent individual. I believe that is only possible because she is a feminist and her mind is more evolved as a result of this. It changes the power dynamics and allows me enjoy more of everything in my relationship.
What does he believe are the downsides to being married to a feminist?
Feminists are the minority of the population here in Nigeria. Same as LGBTQ people and any other group that is considered as different. Minorities are in all cases oppressed. In my case though, apart from some backlash on social media, I am not accessible to people or situations where I am made to feel a downside to being feminist.
Has there been a distinctly memorable event from being partnered to a feminist?
My life from when I met my wife has been a series of memorable stories and events. Nothing is the same.
Does he think their relationship has changed as a result of Ahunna being a feminist?
Yes, it has. Like I said before, a relationship where both parties are working as equals can’t be the same as one where a partner thinks he/she is superior
What’s Deji’s experience discussing feminism with friends and family?
I haven’t discussed it as a concept or topic with friends or family. It shows in my discussions with anyone.
Would he do it again? If he had a do-over, would he again marry a feminist?
Everyone should be a feminist, so, of course, I would do it again.
Do you or your spouse want to be featured on My Partner is a Feminist? Please send an e-mail to features(at)bellanaija(dot)com with the subject line “My Partner is a Feminist,” and we’ll proceed from there.