Why We Must Not Be Feminists

Why We Must Not Be Feminists

Why We Must Not Be Feminists

Editor's note: In Nigeria, the topic of women's rights and women empowerment is gaining weight and popularity, occupying the minds more and more often. But do we have to be defined by some term to count ourselves as advocates for equality? Is it necessary to start contraposing genders to prove some point? Ebuka Onyekwelu, the Legit.ng columnist, shares his thoughts on the sensitive matter.

In recent times, the word feminism has so invaded the Nigerian social space that one really wonders what again does feminism mean. To say that it has gotten to a point where you struggle to remember what precisely feminism means to be able to juxtapose with what it is associated to is only but saying the obvious. It has, in fact, become more difficult, so much so that if you do as much as ask its campaigners a serious question as to what really it means, be ready for needless arguments. At the end, you will be labeled a male chauvinist, or a mole for men, with attendant bitterness.

The problem with feminism is that the idea itself has become so polarized and fractionalized to serve and suit every event with sexist colouration. Put differently, its champions have an eye for construing any sore event between a man and a woman as just a case for feminism. Therefore, feminism has been interpreted as female liberation.

At another point, it has been interpreted as women’s right of equality with men (whatever that means), and it has been explained as a movement against perceived male victimization and domination over the years. This idea of feminism has taken the shape of a movement in Nigeria of late and has committed followership as well as stern opposition from both male and female on both sides of the divide.

The dimension of the argument has taken dangerous twist, such that if care is not taken, soon even simple matters of social justice will be interpreted from that prism. We will sacrifice humanism on the altar of sexism because of our tendency to overdo things.


Does feminism matter?

Without prejudice to women or men, I am of very strong persuasion that women are not only powerful, but indispensable, not only in their ability to convey procreation, but in their very nature.

Today, in the name of civilization and enlightenment, marriage in many parts of the world is interpreted differently from the traditional order of things. In any event, women will remain apparently the most viable force in shaping the society. What is more honourable? When we see ourselves as feminists and ones being bent on liberating women, do we mean that being a mother is bondage, or being wife is slavery? Do we mean that the men are out to dominate and subdue women? Is it a camouflage to settle scores with men?

If feminism is saying that if a man goes against recognizable boundaries in official and family space against a woman, then the law should prevail, isn’t that a case of justice that everybody should embrace? Rather than paint a picture of struggle between men and women, shouldn’t feminism make a case of injustice against women and focus on it?

Feminism redifined

You can go on to identify yourself as a feminist, it is okay. But we don’t need to be all feminist to stand by the truth. We don’t need to be feminist to kick against social injustice against any woman or any man.

Those who argue that the society victimizes them as women and therefore makes a case against the male folks may be the ones who have placed a limitation against self. This is needless, you can make your point that you too matter. Go ahead and make your point, don’t destroy any man or any woman in your bid to prove any point, just conquer the odds, distinguish yourself and stand out.

There has never been a time in our history since 1960 that our women were not allowed to vote, for instance, or participate in the political or other bases of societal order. In fact, many years before then. in 1929, it was our women who led the war, a ground opposition against colonialism — the Aba women riot!

We have had countless women who never identified with the catchy word, yet, they stand out anywhere and everywhere beyond our shores. We have these women in all areas of life, they were never feminists but held their heads high and represent complete womanhood.

Today, because of economic hardship, most families depend on the woman for provision of daily needs; those women do not know anything about being feminist, and yet, they are champions and giants in their homes.

Should we separate women from humanity just because it sounds or looks good to be feminist? I do not need to be a feminist to know that I have a duty to stop a man from battering a woman, that I have a duty to prevent any form of mischief targeted at any woman as long as it is within my power. The same goes to the man, too. These are issues that one need not be a feminist to oppose.

Why We Must Not Be Feminists

And when feminism is about supporting those things that unite us as a people, when it is about ensuring justice and defending the dignity of man and woman, then we must not be feminist to do the needful.

Why We Must Not Be Feminists
Ebuka Onyekwelu for Legit.ng

Ebuka Onyekwelu is a political scientist. He is a public affairs analyst and activist with concerted interest in Africa’s crisis of development and leadership. Follow him on Twitter @ebukaequity.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Legit.ng, its editors or other contributors.

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Source: Legit.ng

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