By Isaac Asabor
In as much as Mr. John Chizoba’s article with the title, “I Am Not A Misogynist, Not All Men Are” can be said to be interesting and scintillating, the tone; beginning with the title, suggests that the social menace which misogyny is characterized with is not problematic enough for government and civil society’s attention to be drawn to it, and in that vein make it a focal point of discussion.
After going through the article, I literarily pinched myself, and ask no one in particular, “Could it be that I do not understand the depth of literary style and language employed by Chizoba to express his view. To me, since he is communicating to the masses he ought to have created a mutual line of understanding. The reason for my suggestion cannot be farfetched as Misogyny is fast moving to the top list of the problems which women are by each passing day facing in our society.
Societal issue does not deserve to be written in the format only advanced literature students can understand. Rather, it should be written in every day’s language.
I am advocating for simple language of expression by virtue of the fact that unlike other forms of writing or speech, literary works do not attempt to present the world from a perspective that is equally accessible to both the writer and the reader. Instead, a reader succeeds in engaging with a literary work only through imaginatively setting aside aspects of his own perspective and engaging with a subjective perspective different from his own.
Be that as it may, it is expected that write up such as this, when well understood pave the way for conversations within the general public nationwide on the issues of sexual harassment and misogyny.
The reason for the foregoing cannot be farfetched as power of conversation helps to bring into the mainstream the many problems women face on daily basis in their social lives, workplaces, and even their homes.
As gathered over the years while trying to bring my journalistic skills and experience to bear in helping the women to allay their plights, it dawned on me that being a woman is tough. The streets are filled with unwanted stares and catcalling. But sometimes women do not even need to exit the safety of their own homes to come face to face with misogynic behavior exhibited towards them. Sometimes it is at the hands of their parents and siblings, and sometimes relatives, that they witness misogyny rear its ugly head.
There is no denying the fact that one of the biggest challenges facing women in Nigeria today is patriarchy, and it has remained one of the socio-cultural challenge that women are facing. This is especially evident in most families. There is no denying the fact that most men are not usually pleased and thankful to God when their wives give birth to a baby girl. Whenever a child is born, the first question that is asked by well-wishers is “Na boy abi na girl?” Regardless of a woman’s experience, education or abilities, the patriarchal nature of our society has no doubt created the erroneous perception that women are less qualified and less competent than men. What patriarchy has done is to convince people that a strong and intelligent woman represents a problem; a disruption to the social order, rather than an integral part of it. Biased media coverage of career women with stories that focus on women’s fashion and looks at the expense of their intellects and experiences underscores this point.
It is therefore not a coincidence that women are not well represented in the realm of politics. While women have maintained the highest office of leadership in Liberia, India, the United Kingdom, Dominica and many other nations across the globe, the same cannot be said of Nigeria. To buttress the foregoing view, the recently concluded gubernatorial election in Edo was no doubt characterized with low female candidacy. Of the 28 gubernatorial candidates (governors and deputies) that participated in the election, 12 of the 14 governorship candidates were males while two were females. It also showed that only two of the deputy governorship candidates were females. The two female Governorship candidates are Mabel Oboh of African Democratic Congress (ADC), and Agol Tracy of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), while the two female deputy governorship candidates are Mogbelehan Pauline of Labour Party (LP) and Omion Omonye of Social Democratic Party (SDP).
A Misogynist so much hates women that he does not believe that women should be given formal education beyond the secondary school level. He does not believe that a woman should inherit the property of her late husband or share from that of his late father. He equally does not believe that women should work in offices or engage in other businesses. Rather, he is often driving his point home on why women should remain in the kitchen and be absolutely domesticated. He does not even think of anything good on women sexual life. It is therefore not surprising that he has remained an ardent crusader of women circumcision.
On the traffic, a misogynist is naturally disgusted seeing women driving cars. To him, all women on steering wheel are bad drivers. When he sees any woman arguing with a man he would sigh and instantly mutter in Pidgin English, “I know say na woman, e no go gree” without having any understanding of the issue been argued upon. A misogynist, for instance, shares the notion that women police are unforgiving and that they do not accept bribe. By extension, all women security agents are seen as wicked, unforgiving and uncompromising.
In most offices, a misogynist sees her female colleagues who are regularly promoted as those who are wont to sleep around with top male managers. This, to me, is apparently discouraging most career women from being hardworking since they are always seen suspiciously whenever they are promoted through hard work. Even in some homes, the husbands find it difficult to trust their wives when their promotions become rapid. Many a husband may become paranoid to managers that are close associates to his wife.
In the Nollywood sector of our entertainment industry, actresses who are naturally and divinely gifted in their make-believe profession are seen by the society as those that are sleeping around with film producers. In the same vein, producers among the actresses are seen as sleeping around with marketers who may bankroll the production and marketing of their films.
Without any iota of equivocation, the society in general is misunderstanding womankind, and this has become a collective stumbling block on women’s path to progress.
This writer is a man. I know you may have asked, “What is this writer’s stress?” The plight of women is the plight of all of us since we all have wives, sisters, aunts and mothers, and some of us, in addition have daughters. Somebody has to speak for them or add voice to the already sounding voices of various women-focused non-governmental organizations that are at the moment working round the clock to address the gender-issue of women.
The discrimination against the woman by the misogynist is so pervasive that it is at the moment negatively reflecting on the proportion of women holding political offices across various tiers of government in our country. The majority of the women that are today holding various political offices were appointed, and not elected.
The reason for writing this piece is to correct the impression that misogyny is not problematic enough, and to appeal to misogynists to renew their minds towards women by giving them a chance to succeed in every ramifications of life. They should not be always seen as inferior. Also, misogynists should try as much as possible to begin to bequeath the best education they can afford to their girl-child. They should eschew discriminating against the female gender.
The reason for the foregoing view cannot be farfetched in this context as there is no difference between a man and a woman. God created them to complement each other while on earth.
Isaac Asabor is a Public Affairs Analyst.