Does Being A Feminist In Nigeria Require You To Hate Men?
Although feminism is a trending topic in Nigeria, it is still highly misunderstood. What does it mean to be a feminist in Nigeria? Read on to know.
Feminism is a hot button topic in Nigeria. Nothing quite divides like it, both online and offline. The reason for this can be mostly attributed to a misunderstanding of feminism as a man-hating, emasculating movement. Then throw in a certain stubbornness to let go of socialization, a certain way of life you've known and accepted all your life. And there's also a group that rejects feminism for the simple fact that they can't bring themselves to lose the perks that come with patriarchy. Whichever thing it comes down to, this article provides a guide on how to be a feminist in Nigeria.
What exactly is feminism?
In her book Feminism is for Everybody, bell hooks defines feminism simply as a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. Her definition is simple and straightforward, with sexism and sexist exploitation at the heart of it, which is to say that the sum of the problem is sexist thinking and actions. Irrespective of who does it, whether it's a man or a woman, a child or a grownup.
How to be a feminist in Nigeria
To be feminist is to embody what the feminist movement is seeking to do, which is to bring equality and do away with sexism and sexist actions in all its forms.
- You Must Believe In Equality
Equality is at the heart of what feminism is trying to achieve. A world where nobody is denied anything or assigned specific roles simply because of their gender. So to believe in equality is to believe in a big part of what the movement is trying to do. Women and men should have equal political, social, economic rights and opportunities. A levelled playing field for everyone irrespective of their gender.
- Practice What You Believe
For some people, practising feminism is where conflict with self comes in. But it is not enough to just believe, you have to put it in practice. Though just as important, believing is just one part of it. Occasionally, you might find yourself reaching for your old fashioned habits or way of seeing things, and you might start to feel like a fraud. Indeed, old habits die hard but you must insist. This is why it is important to know why you believe in the movement, and on the days when you think you're faltering, you can find steadiness in that belief.
- Learn More About It
Even the feminist movement itself evolved as new knowledge surfaced. A lot has been written about feminism and how far it has come. So there's a lot you can learn about feminism, which would continue to inform your mind on what feminism is. A lot of people twist feminism into shapes that agree with their biases. So it's important to read as much as you can to know things for yourself.
Look out for women around you
Whether as a male ally or as a woman who is a feminist, you should look out for women around you. Patriarchy takes different forms, some subtle and some not, to oppress especially women in their day to day lives. If you find yourself in a position where you can do something about it, you have a responsibility to.
- Practice sisterhood
Feminism is about sisterhood right from the onset of the movement. A sisterhood that enables you to look out for the interests of one another. Feminism is something the world needs, and sisterhood is a chance to bring others in.
Contrary to popular belief in Nigeria, feminism is not out to get men. And feminist women aren't difficult women looking for men to emasculate. Feminist women have the full range of feelings everybody has.