Friday, January 02, 2009

I had planned not to start the year with a rant but any case...

I was jeje-ly and rora-ly enjoying my New Year and trying to connect with my roots by staying glued to the poor audio-visual bumbling attempt that was NTA. On air was the traditional recap of events marking the entry to the new year (mostly in various churches as if non-Christians did not enter the new year) with a special focus on the annual visit of the nation's first lady to the newborn babies of the year.

After carrying the poor infants who were oddly enough clothed in winter gear, the first lady took some time to address the camera. When asked what her message was to Nigerian women, our lady responded (and I am going to try and remember the exact quote):
"Err, to the Nigerian women, in the new year, they should take care of their homes, obey their husbands......."

I must confess, at the last part of the statement, I was so stunned, I did not hear the rest. I was just too amazed that giving the opportunity to speak to 60% of the country's population,from diverse ethnicities, relgious backgrounds and personal pursuits, our first lady whom I had been told had a formal education could only see fit to advise all women to take care of their homes and obey their husbands.
She was saying...

To the single mothers: obey their husbands
To the lawyers, doctors, engineers, fashion designers, writers, editors, entrepreneurs, prosmiscous women, prudes,nuns, athletes, mothers, students, daughters,wives, sisters,nieces,aunts, grandmothers, architects, actresses, film producers, directors, chefs, drivers, inventors,readers, manufacturers, philanthropists, nurses,medical practitioners, scientists, researchers, shallow women, traders, kidnappers, child traffickers, preachers, religious zelots, religious leaders, bloggers, illiterates, singers, artistes, investors,sex workers, mistresses, bankers, 419ners, travellers, planners, lazy females, hardworking females, employed, unemployed, whatever-you-could-possibly be: obey your husband?!!!!

Apparently, the Nigerian woman is only a homemaker. She cleans the house, tends to her children, obeys her husband and that is the extent of her existence. It is no wonder why the Nigerian female consciousness is the same as it was in pre-historic times because even the woman--our first lady--who is the ultimate example of our identity cannot see herself outside of the definitions of a marital status. It is all she probably ever aspired to be and cannot even fathom a word of encouragement or inspiration for the woman coming after her that does not mirror her own private achievements.
(sorry i could not find a picture with a dutiful nigerian wife but you get the picture)

I am sorry and not the least bit surprised to say that I have never been inspired whether in deed or words by any first lady my state or country has ever had. When I was little, I looked to Margaret Thatcher, Indira Ghandi, Benazir Bhutto, Winnie Mandela and until recently, Hilary Clinton. Right now, I am inspired by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia because she represents a future that seems like it might never happen in my country: A woman who leads the people. I don't even know if she is married and frankly, I don't care. All I know is that she has taken some mantle of leadership and is doing what she can to repair a hurt nation.

These women were (and still are) doing things, making waves and changing lives as they led their people. I am not going to analyze whether or not they executed good governance, I am talking about the impression their attainment of their positions had on me.

In Nigeria, first ladies belong to a sorority whose accomplishments include supporting philandeering husbands who abuse power, setting up organisations that take more money from a society (CASE IN POINT: BETTER LIFE FOR ROYAL WOMEN and whatever other scheme there is out there) that needs it and becoming fashion icons. Titi Abubakar, was not first lady but I think she did in her own way make an attempt to do somethings with her position but even that was marred by the constant power struggle between her and her husband's second wife, Jennifer...we are not going to start on the mistresses...(to the Nigerian woman, they don't count abi?)

This is always the case. Nigerian women and their power struggles for positions defined by men. The men don't even have to degrade us. We already degrade ourselves and then wonder why they don't see us as anything other than what we defined ourselves to be.

So then, you might ask: What, dear Catwalq, after your long diatribe would be your message to the Nigerian woman?
To which I would answer( with the knowledge that the next time I go home to Nigeria, there might be a squad waiting for me at the airport as is the norm these days for Nigerian bloggers who criticise anyone in government/power):
Someone once said that there are only two very important days in your whole life. The day you are born and the day you figure out why you are born. To the Nigerian woman I say, figure out why you were born and make sure that you are the best of it or you can simply OBEY YOUR HUSBAND and call it day!!!!


Kafo said...

i can't believe i am first
it's a new year

okay i'm loving this ooo

jeje-ly and rora-ly LOL

obey our husbands
i'm with u on this one

happy new year

Waffarian said...

Thats why you deemed it fit to disturb my own jeje early morring coffee with dis kain post?

I'll be back to comment properly. Let me finish my coffee abeg.

Mogaji said...

Haha I realized long ago that an educated nigerian woman doesn't translate to an empowered nigerian woman. These days I listen to my mother talk and just shake my head. There's something about Nigeria that beats inspiration out of women. Fuck it the men beat inspiration out of their women.

exschoolnerd said...

i totally feel u on this post..and just like u i admire Sir-leaf Johnson and some of the other women u listed..sadly enuff i too cant pick a Nigerian first lady who has inspired me...

its funny i wrote a post about this a while ago...


lol! I just got lectured by a fierce 'feminist' for a joke I made.

Look, I say, women figure out whaty ou want to do and do it because you want to do it, not because of what others expect or demand from you.

Its 2009, ladies, we all need toget withe Senior Babe program.

Anyway, Sista catwalq. How far? Have been traveling but thought of you and will by God's sweet grace, give you a call.


lol @ Waffy.

'Yar Mama said...

Happy New Year. Your blog was one of my favourites in 2008. Thanx

Anonymous said...

LOL, crazy ranter I have missed you, you know.


Anonymous said...

Men did nothing to women without our approval. A Nigerian Woman told me in early 2007 before Obamania, that she would never vote for Hillary Clinton simply because a woman cannot run a country. I was so shocked I had my mouth opened for a coouple of hours. Even my mother who has 2 master degrees does not believe that a Woman will run Nigeria in my lifetime although she knows that She can. Although Feminism bores me, sexism scares me.

teediva said...

wow, catwalq.

i pity the poor woman in her confusion and apparent ignorance of the weight her statement carried. if she reads this, she will definitely cringe and cringe...oh well, life is about learning.

longest time.

StandTall-The Activist said...

Hmmm o ga. I wonder why women existence has to always be limited to what they can do for others ad by saying others, I mean of course their husbands! And this "obey your husbands" message is killing me cos I wonder in what contest.

Women are individuals created by God to do exploit! It's high time we took the bold step to do just that.

And I so much agree with Mogaji

ablackjamesbond said...

@ Mogaji...not all men. Some of us believe in and support women's need to self actualize. Heck, self actualization is a human need. It is neither male nor female.

Anonymous said...

Ooops! sorry, I didn't see the the ladies only sign.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I was meant to laugh but I did but I completely agree with your rant. Attitudes like that can hardly take Nigeria forward, obviously, and there's nothing that angers me more about Nigeria than its abuse of power alongside with the theft that usually accompanies it. I'm part Nigerian myself.

Anywho Happy New Year, sorry you had to start off with a rant.

Take Care,
Therapy x

Miss Definitely Maybe said...

Its dissappointing when we have powerful females who have the potential to influence and shape the position of women in society and all they do is encourage the attitudes and stereotyping of women that we are fighting so hard to dispel. Her message should have been about women stepping up to the plate and taking advantage of opportunities etc

bumight said...

LOL, you have heard our first Lady, WE MUST OBEY OUR HUSBANDS!!!


LASGIDI/ NY said...

Catwalq i need to give u a BIG HUG, Honestly, It is amazing the way nigerian women in this day think, I cannot begin to tell you the type of things i have heard and made me wonder if i am the only same person. I think this craziness also exists among the younger generation, I am all in for respecting ur man and all but pls when u decide to turn him to God or rather let him turn himself to God and most times becos of money i begin to ask myself if people actually realise what yr we are in ?

Anonymous said...

ah ah am i missing something here????? kini big deal o??? wives obey your husbands since when did that become a taboo o??? husbands love and respect your wives isnt that how its meant to be???

nobody is saying wives obey ur husbands so that they can kill u and quash ur dreams and ur existence as a woman or obey them so u can suffer abuse and all the otha rubbish that some foolish husbands do

21st century women can still obey, respect and love their husbands in a loving relationship o, without fear of becoming a mumu or all the other fears of feminists rantings

my parents are a a fantastic example of a sucessful influential carrer woman who is OBEYING, respecting and loving her husband, (despite his occasional scoin-scoin) and a husband who in turn thinks she is some kind of queen that fell 4rm heaven lol juding by the way he loves, RESPECTS and treats her and is not afraid of her sucess as popsi continues to push her up her carrer ladder to the point where she starts to earn more than him (no jokes o) (despite her small scoin scoIn 2)

so i think u r pushing wat mrs first lady said to only one extreme o

miz-cynic said...

anonymous:- i believe tht of ur parents are 1 in a million o....cos average nigerian men want to lord it over u to the point whr they see ur own success as the beginningf their failures and woes....tht is not to say i also agree completely with bumight....i think everyone woman shd strive to be like ur mom first and see if she wont get the reciprocal response before towing the other line.cos i believe if u dont tow the oda line in the second scenario...ud be taken for granted for ever.

miz-cynic said...

slip of tongue thr...i wanted to say in i dont agree completely with catwalq

Ms. Catwalq said...

Anonymous 1:03

If you want to obey your husband that is your choice. I am not in a dictatorship or a monarchy. My relationship is a partnership and that means that decisions and actions are done in agreement. If there is anything to discuss, it will be discussed and options will be weighed. If you feel like you need someone to give you orders, by all means go ahead and live happily with that person. I don't come from that school of thought.

My issue with the first lady is that in that moment, she had the opportunity to give a message to all Nigerian women everywhere. With all the issues that we have before us, all she could think to impart as knowledge was for all women to obey their husbands. What about those who are widows? Should they go sit by their late husbands' graves and await instructions? What of divorcees? What of the young unmarried women?

A woman's entirety is not based on whether or not she is married...unless that is how she chooses to define herself.Such thinking is for simple minds and it is simple thinking that keeps the Nigerian woman where she is: in a state of perpetual obedience. We obey our families and our children. We obey society. We are never encouraged to instruct them to consider us as individuals whose ideas could be obeyed as well.
But if anyone wants to kowtow to a man all her incarnation, bikonu, the stage is yours...

SHE said...

The poor first lady was probably caught unawares and thought she was giving one-size-fits-all advice.
It sounds like what's expected of a first lady of Nigeria!But then, I see your point.

N.I.M.M.O said...

The poor woman was obviously unprepared for the questions which shows the kind of minders she has.

'Obey your husbands'. What is wrong with that? Those who don't have husbands should go and find one.

Its instructive though that the most successful, influential women in the world -including Nigeria - are married.

[Sigh] The sacrifices that we men make; only GOD can reward us.

Ms. Catwalq said...

Nimmo, if I were to beat you now you would not know what hit you...better still, I am reporting to Mrs. Nimmo

guerreiranigeriana said...

...well stated...i was going to respond to anon but you already adequately addressed what i felt anon failed to grasp-this assumption that women are supposed to be married to be able to have meaning in their lives...

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