by Victor Terhemba
A little over two years ago, I wrote a short article on the fallacy of feminism; I never thought I would ever have the need to write a sequel. However, recent developments have made me decide otherwise.
I am worried that a noble cause such as feminism will be hijacked by misandrists, whom by all means believe they are advocates of feminism. Misandry is the hatred, contempt or prejudice against men. Misandry is the parallel of misogyny. However misandry is by no means restricted to women; men also practice the act of misandry against their fellow men. The misandrists are the people who have taken over the war of feminism and have desecrated everything that feminism stands for – hiding under the guise of feminism to spew hate and contempt for men.
Feminism as a noble cause only seeks for equal rights and equal opportunities of women with the men. Feminism does not seek the hatred of men; neither does it seek to place women above men, nor to prove that women are better than men. True advocates of Feminism just want an egalitarian society where women will be treated and given equal opportunities and rights as the men enjoy.
In many parts of the country, the female child is denied the right to inherit her late father’s properties because she is a woman who will one day marry and go off with her husband. In many Northern (and other) parts of Nigeria, the girl child is denied her inalienable right to education. In these areas, they ignorantly believe only the boy child is worthy of education while the girl child is just good for domestic chores and farm work. Also in some parts of the country, female children are given out at very young age in marriage; at an age that the girls lack maturity, mental capacity, biological capacity and physical strength for marriage life. At an age they are yet to grasp the full concept of marriage.
We cannot deny the ancient fact that women have been most, erroneously, considered the weaker vessel and unfit to occupy certain jobs or positions. The woman who is seen to be an exclusive property of her husband and her only duty is to always defer to her husband. For several centuries women were denied seats at the table of men. Certain jobs were reserved exclusively for men; these were jobs women were not permitted to do. Women could never assume positions of power and authority unless in a monarchy. Women were not allowed to participate in the electoral process either as voters or contestants.
The above instances were exactly why Christine de Pizan (author, Epistle to the God of Love) wrote in defense of fellow women. But the feminist movement did not start until 1848, during the first Women’s Conference held in Seneca Falls. Since then, the wave of Feminism has picked up with momentum that has forced re-engineering of the society that was once heavily skewed in favour of men. Today, the dynamics have changed such that we now have more girls in schools in greater number; and women now have and keep jobs previously reserved exclusively for men. Also, today we have more women in positions of authority and power (two of them are leaders of the free world), today we have more women represented in governments, today women can voted and be voted for. That is the power of the feminist movement.
On the other hand, misandry tends to undermine men. Misandrists advocate hate, contempt and prejudice against men. These are people that feel no obligation to cook for men, they don’t believe they should be respectful to any man for any reason, misandrists just preach pure hate against men.
Most Misandrists who claim to be feminists seem not to understand that they are suffering identity crisis, since they express the very opposite of what they claim to represent. Although, some misandry is likely to be grounded in personal bitter experience, many women who have had unpleasant experiences with men: fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands, lovers, co-workers, Bosses, etc are most likely to become misandrists. Ladies who grew up in dysfunctional homes, or who have been heartbroken from their husbands or lovers, or who have been mistreated by the male folks tend to become resentful towards men and suddenly declare themselves to be feminists. But I suppose we have all been hurt by members of the opposite sex; however, to extrapolate from a minority to the general is rather unwise.
Feminism does not advocate abdication of duties and disrespect for men unlike misandry. A woman can be a feminist and still be respectful to the men around her. A feminist never abdicates her duties and never undermines the authority of her husband as the head of the house. And neither does she sheepishly submit to the dictates of her husband that may be inappropriate. A woman, while enjoying her life and taking advantages of the equal opportunities that feminism represents, will still avail herself the time to take care of her family. Chimamanda Adichie is probably the most known feminist from Nigeria; she has been a source of inspiration to many women around the globe. Although a feminist, she is however a married woman with a wonderful family that she looks after.
While feminism has gone on to inspire a lot of women and improve the conditions of women generally in the society, misandrists (who confuse themselves as feminists) have misled some naive young ladies to unwittingly destroy their homes and develop unhealthy relationship with their opposite sex. This is how not to be a feminist.