A tale of three men: a Locker-room, a Cooking room, and the 'Other' room.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Growing up in the urban 80s - 90s Nigeria was a tad bit scary. Things may have looked 'fine' on the surface..but scratch a little deeper, and you saw the palpable fear; that you could be summoned on 'oga's orders'. And that was your end.
Very few things cushioned this fear. The Cosby show (along with 'the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' and 'the village Masquerade) was one of those things. We loved the representation that a black family had their act together, in a white world.
Which is why it was quite difficult seeing our very own 'Dr. Huxtable' being prosecuted in the Court of public opinion, as a pervert, on various allegations of assault and non-consensual sex. The majority of us were (at the least) heartbroken. At the most: enraged. How dare him be that base as a youngster, and dream of retiring as a respected entertainer?
His colour did nothing to help. Agree or not, there's something about our chocolatey-ish colour that puts us at a disadvantage in the 'white' world. Any deviant behaviour is the final nail in the coffin. Make that two if you have the nerve to be black and female. Don't agree?? Argue with your salad cream.
But that is rant for another day.
Fast-forward to 2015-2016: enter a towering, wealthy, Caucasian, billionaire male into the American political scene. What blew people's minds (and was his major selling point) was his non-conventional approach to politics. From his mockery of the mother of a slain American soldier, to insulting a former Miss Universe (whom he referred to as 'Miss Piggy'), Mr. Donald Tump left no doubts in the minds of people as to his utter and arrogant disdain for most other mortals. Particularly women.
His soldier ants cheered him on.
Until the tape surfaced of his 2005 remarks denigrating women. Talking about grasping appendages of their lower anatomy, and objectifying them as toys easily tinkered with.
Well...the most of the soldier-ants kept cheering him on... dismissing the comments as 'who he was then'. Mr. Trump on his part dismissed the remarks as "locker-room banter", indicting male folk world-wide (particularly the husband of his opponent) as being party to such base actions. Women and men all over the world have expressed disgust and anger over his words caught on tape.
Me... I have been chewing my fish biscuits (and pop-corn) at the unfolding drama.
But there's more.
The goddesses of entertainment ensured that Nigeria was gifted with her fair share of misogyny-laden drama via the first couple.
The First Lady had the nerve to suggest that she may not support her husband's re-election, if things did not change for the better.
(Please spare me the 'yay feminism!' chants. While I support free speech, it goes beyond cheap talk borne out of the need to score points in domestic skirmishes. If you want to whistle-blow on the presidency, do so properly. Give facts. Give figures)
If we doubted that Nigeria's President was the king of clap-backs... he settled that once and for all; chuckling that his wife had no place in politics, as her place was in the kitchen, being a Stepford-hostess in the parlour, and a ‘Kama-Sutra’ in 'the other room'.
Photo Credits: @247entertantainment on Instagram
Blue murder! Nigerians have been screaming. The world is in shock. Men nationwide are quickly declaring their wives' place by their side.
Meanwhile…my supply of fish-biscuits is running low.
I find the horror and mortification quite (honestly) amusing, and a bit irritating.
You mean... you are not used to the reality that from childhood, women are configured to be objectified; instructed (consciously or subconsciously) that the sum of their existence is to fulfill the culinary and otherwise desires of the opposite sex?? That the large number of them have resigned to a fate of being 'groped', and being relegated to the wallpaper position?
I AM shocked that people - the Nigerian people especially - are 'shocked' that the clap-back to a declaration of independence is "common go back to the kitchen! And take off your clothes while at it". Can people be truly shocked...in a society where we have ‘gotten used’ to children 'consenting' to being married off to potential ancestors, under the justification of Religion and Culture?
(El Oh El!) I am amazed.
Come... gather round. Sit down.
Is this 'mortification' or 'shock' some validation for the lot of us termed 'feminazis', who have always screeched from the rooftops against the unfair wave-of-hand manner with which women are regarded; the objectification of their physiology and relegation of their intellect? Does this justify when women are generally defensive and battle-ready, having being subjected to a life of being groped at every turn, for the sin of discovering puberty, with the 'innocent' response of "but I thought you wanted me... the way you smiled at me".
No gender has the right to pretend to be mortified. We women have become too 'used' to this. Covering up for misogyny, chauvunism, sexism, discrimination, abuse and unfair treatment. Promoting hip-hop videos and songs that extol gang rape and non-consensual sex. Acknowledging that your co-female is equally (if not more) qualified for a position, yet, letting the male have it... just because. Accepting 'that is the way things are' as our daily palliative. Mortification will not cut it. Speaking out and standing up against it... refusing to be slut-shamed or husband(less)-shamed will.
No, men. You do not have the right to act mortified. You have at some point been (or dreamed) of being a Bill Cosby. The Donald spoke the truth. It IS what you say in locker rooms, behind closed doors. The fact that yours has not been caught on tape or you do not wield enough public clout to make your words matter does not make it different, or turn you into a saint. Admit it to yourself: you think it. It screeches from your eyes when your female colleague stands up to your bullying...and all you can retort is “I have your type at home”. (How dare her? She who should be nothing more than the kitchen doormat). Do not feign surprise. Not now. Not ever. When you are done playing to the gallery and saying your piece of "I stand with women", we are left to daily deal with you sitting against women.
I will not get involved in this one day activism against locker rooms, living rooms, or OTHER rooms. (No pun intended).
I eat my fish biscuit and sleep today, so that I can generate and conserve enough energy to continue the daily struggle for gender equality. Wake me up when the world is truly serious about ending all forms of hate (subliminal or overt) against women.
There is nothing new here.