For many centuries, we have seen different waves of feminism and the battles they have lost, won, and are still fighting. Growing up in Nigeria, and eventually moving to the United States for school, I witnessed misogyny ranging from the crude mutilation of female genitals to the subtle mental load of leaving the laundry for “super mom” to fold. Additionally, I have seen the different reactions to these sexist problems and the people who dare to fight against them. …
In the brotherly city of Pennsylvania, my racism did not bang on the table or step on my shoe. It did not spit in my face or scrawl mean words all over my desk and locker. My racism never told me to take my shit and get the hell out of the room, it did not tell me to go back to Africa. It had never broken down my dormitory door or I would have filed a report against it. It never called me a nigger.
My racism was always sent in between the lines, almost like I had made it up in my mind. It squinted its eyes and wore a patronizing smile as it asked me, “How did you learn your English ?”. It gave me rides to Target because the new African girl must have been lost without her family here. It looked at me like a three-legged puppy and tried to save me.
My racism could not see me. When the teacher announced that the next project would require groups, a thunder would rise in my throat because everyone would scramble to each other, across the room, colliding with the four walls of the room like atoms, with the desks and the scrawled books, jumping over tables and me. Like I too, was furniture.
My racism left condescending notes on my Blackboard. It marveled at my ability to complete my English project on my own and advised me not to move too quickly, lest I be lost in the class. It asked me how I was able to perform so well. It never saw my nine distinctions in my Final Exam, my 99th percentile in the SAT, my blog on Medium, all it saw was my third world country.
My racism would deny itself over and over again. …
Toxic Masculinity: Do you remember when Gillette released an ad telling men that they needed to do better and misogynists ran mad? Did I not tell you the quickest way to rile up a misogynist was to call him one? Didn’t I say it?
We can liken masculinity vs toxic masculinity to water.
After a long run, you feel thirsty for a glass of water. On your walk back home, you notice a swampy marsh opposite the lane that you’re walking on. Would you think about drinking from it? No. Why? Because toxic water is dirty and full of germs. …
What a man can do, a woman can do, and possibly, even better?
Sure, we’ve all known it and seen it in our daily office and home lives. With the likes of Hilary Clinton, Chimamanda Adichie, Stella Adadevoh, Malala, and many more, the world is not in doubt of the prowess of women. In the past, women struggled for a chance to read, go to war, and even vote. With all these rights given, although many girls still lack the resources to do so, female success is not a strange concept. …
When I was a little girl, I had always aimed for success: the highest grades, the shortest time, and the longest endurance. From the outside, it looked like the greatest of people were those who won in life, but now more than ever, I am convinced that those who win are those who failed, specifically, when no one was looking. However, time has shown that the most substantial gift that money buys is not the favor of success, but the privilege of failure. …
I forgive myself for
Allowing the pain to get in
For the days of overwhelming sadness
I beg for mercy
For believing them over her
for silencing my inner soul
I will lay sacrifices
At her shrine
Atoning for 10 years of blasphemy
I will spend an hour for every year
Day after day
Hoping that we will reconcile
That is who I owe my forgiveness to
To my broken self,
never to you.
Before I swallow my pain,
The only one worthy of
Patriarchy: In this article by Harvard scholar Garikai Chengu, he talks about a time in Africa before the patriarchy.
“The world’s first civilisations arose from the spiritual, economic and social efforts of African women and African women, in turn, went on to lead those matriarchal societies…The rituals and culture of African matriarchy did not celebrate violence; rather, they promoted fecundity, exchange and redistribution. Matriarchy in ancient Africa was not a mirror image of patriarchy today; because, it was not based on appropriation and violence.”
One of the most famous men that ever lived is Albert Einstein. However, not many people know that he had a wife, much less a very intelligent one. Mileva Maric Einstein has been cheated by history. The few people who had heard of her considered her to be nothing more than Albert’s wife. Nevertheless, there is more to Mileva Maric than marriage and motherhood.
Mileva Maric was born to a wealthy family in Titel, Serbia. During her early education, Mileva’s teachers noticed her intellectual gift and suggested that she be taken to a more elite school. Mileva’s parents enrolled her in an all-male secondary school in Zagreb. There, Mileva received an evaluation of “Brilliant” from her physics teachers. …
One of the greatest tools of the patriarchy is shame. Because women have been assigned the role of caregiver and emotional punching bag, it seems so weird to make decisions that revolve around their happiness and theirs alone. Women are so ruled by shame and likability that it rears its ugly head even in the most liberal waves of feminism.
Many months ago, Nigeria was shaken by the news of a popular pastor being accused of sexual assault. This one act of bravery led to a chain reaction of events: people outed their abusers, women fought against abuse, and several marches were organized. With luck, I was able to participate in one of these marches. Amid the happiness, a man-made a very weird comment. According to him, the feminists of this generation were too “violent” and “aggressive” as compared to their previous counterparts. While many people who have not had the chance to read- or have chosen to be ignorant about- feminist history are fond of labeling this generation of feminists as “bitter” or “violent”. …
The term “misogynoir” was coined by Moya Bailey to demonstrate the double discrimination faced by black women. The world has always been grouped according to minority and majority. The majority and more powerful groups being the Caucasian race, and the male gender. The minority and less powerful group being the black race and the female gender. Black women suffer double discrimination as they are members of both minority groups. Black women have long been surrounded by negative stereotypes, a common one being the “Jezebel”.
The “Jezebel” black woman is a lustful, hypersexual woman who attracts sexual attention whether she wants to or not. This stereotype is portrayed in movies, TV shows and music videos where black girls are paraded about in scantily clad material. This hypersexual image of black women is further encouraged by the obsession with black women’s “booty” and breasts in song lyrics and novels. …