In observing gender relations throughout the ages, it is clear to even the blind that for most part there has been a clear disparity in the existential value attached to each gender. While the male happened to be the Hunter, Forager, Lord and Protector, the female by virtue of the above became the subordinate, the gatherer, the nurturer, the soothing influence, and in some civilizations, the trophy available to the strongest of men in any given dominance hierarchy. As a result there were no qualms, and it seemed for a while that there was relative ease in gender relations as every gender knew and understood the roles assigned them for natural and societal purposes. In some civilizations, it must be added, the female took the role of Protector and Lord, as seen in the Amazonian Civilization, though this is widely regarded by historians as the exception to an otherwise generally widespread rule. In attempting to rationalize the assignment of gender roles, it is widely believed by historians that these classifications were made on the grounds of expediency and grew to become culture, having behind it the full force of centuries of adherence.
In another vein, it is clear that for a long time man has always sought to commune with a higher power in order to make sense of his stay and sojourn on Earth. In order to achieve this he has searched frantically for this higher being everywhere: in the Sun, on the Moon, in the Stars, in heroes, in myths and legends, and every other manner conceivable. As a result, today we have a panoply of religious beliefs and inclinations littering the expansive human landscape.
In recent times, there has been a steady increase in the clamor for gender equality, which is predicated on the premise that all human beings are created equal. This movement championed mostly by women seeks to eradicate the sub-human status to which they believe women have been subjected and as such they clamor for an equality of opportunity, a truly egalitarian society in which anyone regardless of gender can dream, aspire to, and achieve anything which is humanly possible without unbecoming societal inhibition or recrimination in any manner, shape or form. They have been aptly named Feminists and their movement christened Feminism.
In today’s Nigeria, there is a constant back and forth as regards the position of women in the society. Feminists, in my opinion, have been met with huge amounts of misunderstanding by the male folk, most of whom believe that the Feminist movement seeks to usurp their status as Premium Creatures on Earth on top of the food chain. On the other hand, most bandwagoners in the Feministic movement happen to be fuelled by misandry, a clear hatred of men. However it must be stated herein that these people are not necessarily feminists.
Under religious philosophy it is believed that God created Man to be the Head and to be in charge of the Earth which he created, and for Woman to be subordinate and subservient to the man. As such, it appears that most men and many women believe that it is the way of the world that things stay this way, and the general belief is that Feminism seeks to detract from God’s clear purpose for humanity. In the light of this belief, Feminists have tried to clarify and give voice to their belief by positing that all it seeks is the freedom of women in Nigeria to choose the paths they get to take in life without anybody trying to control them.
They also go ahead to state that feminism seeks to set the same standards across board for men and women.
One wonders therefore why men who are successful in their chosen field of human endeavor become instantly attractive and desirable to every woman around, but successful women cannot enjoy the same levels of desirability. One also wonders why women find it hard to succeed in any given field in practice, while academically they always flourish. One also wonders why single unmarried women find it hard to get and keep jobs while single unmarried men are the most sought after by prospective employers.
For me, the answer to the questions which evidence the discrepancy between both sexes in Nigeria is the fact that there needs to be a clear understanding of Feminism by everyone. It only seeks to allow women and girls to live their own lives, tell their own stories and advance their own causes. I believe that Women have a lot to offer the country if they contribute their quota to national development. I believe that this fear of successful females come from the misinformed belief that it is always men who always end up on top. The answer lies in the fact that men need to understand and clearly define what they want and expect from females. You would say you want a woman who brings something to the table, yet when you find her you become intimidated, turn tail and run. The answer also lies in the fact that the male folk need to stop seeing most women as sexual sub-human beings and start understanding that they also want to be seen and treated as humans. Rape, Abuse and these constant stories of powerful men taking advantage of women will not be the order of the day if the male folk decide to work on themselves some more.
Lastly the women also have to step up. Where there is a benefit, there is also a burden. In a situation where a truly egalitarian society is established and achieved, it follows that women would stop being liabilities but assets to themselves first and foremost, and then to the generality of society. Nobody respects anyone who is helplessly dependent; a bottomless hole into which money sinks, a hobo who takes but never gives; a collector of expensive gifts who believes it is her God-given right to receive them. Such people have no claim to freedom to determine their lives, for they are only slaves to hedonism and lucre and have no place in building today’s society and in extension, a better world.