By Mercy Okoye
In our world today, it seems that with every season and period, comes a new trend. In the entertainment world, we have seen all kinds of dance styles evolve; from gwara gwara to leg walk, shaku shaku and lots more, each coming and going in its own time. Not to mention, the craze in the fashion and technological world which are all a passing fad. But we see people dying and killing their fellow brothers to covet a trending phone or gadgets. This is not with the exception of Movements and Beliefs which seem to saturate every common man.
As we all know, the feminist craze has become a common trend in our society today, majorly amongst women. All over social media, you see some women bashing men. And it’s quite amusing that some women just follow in the craze without even fully knowing what it’s all about.
The big question is this – What really is Feminism? And why is the movement so much associated with hate from the public and surrounded with much controversies? I’m not a feminist, but I believe that true feminism should not seek to undertone men but to give voice to women in places where they are unduly marginalized. I believe that every gender or persons, be it women, men or children, should have a fair space in vital and leading areas in society.
Feminism could be defined as a doctrine advocating for the social, political rights and other rights of women being equal to those of men. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, it is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
Now, let’s look at the various arguments and controversies surrounding this movement:
…Some argue that women are being marginalized in the area of politics, education, and other vital areas.
…people fear that feminism means that women would control the world and put men down, thus causing men to lose out of power and impact in society.
…While others believe that equality has already been achieved so feminist movement is just a hype.
… Some believe in equal rights but find in feminism a word that doesn’t align with their personal beliefs and values.
The first wave of the Feminism Movement started in the 18th Century with the liberal feminism which advocated primarily for a good and noble cause such as right to vote, hold public offices, access to education, protection of women and girls from rape, sexual assaults and domestic violence, as well as access to good health care. But in recent times, feminism has evolved into monstrous and extreme angles.
Such radical feminism doesn’t recognize men as the head but seeks equality as with authority between men and women, heterosexual feminism, cisgender, white, black feminism which seem to have overwhelmed the good cause of real feminism. Real Feminism shouldn’t bash men. Real feminism acknowledges men as the head, all it seeks is for women to be heard and be given a space in vital sectors of society.
The Scripture acknowledges men as the head, and that women should submit to the authority of men. This doesn’t give license for men to harass and marginalize women.
Bringing it home to our society, in Nigeria, according to the International Parliamentary Union, less than 6% of women make up the parliament which is critically poor as half of our population consists of women.
In the words of popular gender activist, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, and Kiki Mordi, the Founding members of Feminist Coalition, “Nigeria has the highest maternal mortality in the world… even though women are half the population of Nigeria, they do not hold half of the political representation.
But when it comes to political rallies, women are sought after… So many girls are out of school because of some cultural beliefs, menstrual hygiene, and some parents refuse to educate the girl child… women are not safe, they are faced with all kinds of violence daily… Even some women who want to run for political space don’t have capacity to fund themselves”.
Mordi also states that “Women are not properly documented as to how much women have influenced leadership, and they are not properly compensated for their contributions in society”.
Clearly, as a country, we still have a long way to go in this area, thus, there is need for our government to take drastic steps in these areas. Nonetheless, its worthy to mention the progress we’ve also made as we’ve had some remarkable women in Nigeria and all over the world who have broken records and barriers.
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala – the first woman and first African to become the head of the World Trade Organization, served twice as Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, worked at the World Bank for more than twenty years. Also served on the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Lois Auta: A polio survivor and Nigerian’s first disabled legislative candidate. She was named Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2017.She’s also the Founder of Cedar Seed Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the disabled.
Malala Tousafzai: At age 17, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, following her heroic struggle for girls to have the right to education in her home country of Pakistan and around the world. She survived an assassination attempt from the Taliban for having blogged for the BBC on what life was like under the Taliban Regime.
Bottom line is, it’s not a crime to fight for a good cause but when this good cause mixes with some certain opinions that are contradictory to the laws of nature and humanity, it becomes a problem. As we advocate for whatever cause we believe in, it should be done with a balance. All forms of extremities should be avoided