Growing up in a fully patriarchal household may have given me a twisted sense of entitlement as a male child, however exposure to a lot of external forces and ideals has straightened my reasoning. The birth of feminism as a way of life has proven that women can live their lives outside of the shadow of their male counterparts and even compete with them in most, if not all, segments of everyday life.
Feminism is the advocacy for women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. In other words it means that a woman should not be denied an opportunity on the basis of her gender, nor should she be given such an opportunity on the basis of such gender, but rather be given such an opportunity because she has met the prerequisite requirements for such an opportunity and is therefore qualified for it. However the actions of some individuals who call themselves feminists, has made many question the credibility of this ideology. It appears that rather than advocate for the rights of women, many have launched a war on the opposite gender for a system they did not create.
The patriarchy is a system in which men hold primary power and for the most part encourages the discrimination and oppression of women in the society. And this system of oppression is what the creation of feminism was intended to correct. However, as I stated earlier on, some action of this said feminists may have drawn a question mark on the nobility of this course. For those who are avid users of the twitter social media platform, the case a certain young Nigerian man simply known as Izu who allegedly committed suicide after being falsely accused of rape by a certain rocked the airwaves for weeks, with calls for the arrest of his accuser. How the case was decided, I do not know, my focus was on the comments and reactions of different individuals amongst whom were “feminists”. Notable was a tweet of Judicaelle Irakoze, the executive director of choose Yourself (a feminist community organization), on the issue. The tweet read thus: “If you think, I, Judicaelle Irakoze, daughter of odile, daughter of Bernadette, would regret taking a woman’s side even when the case was not true, YOU ARE FOOLISH….. I will always give women my full benefit of doubt. Yes I will intentionally believe a woman until proven I am wrong”. Implication of this statement being that even when there might not be evidence to support any such claim, she was going to take the side of the woman without hesitation. Following the case of a tweeter influencer and UK based doctor Dr. Olufunmilayo falsely accused by Bola Ayetan another tweeter user, a feminist, whose handle, I cannot remember, commented thus: “in the case of a rape accusation, the man is guilty until proven innocent.” Such toxic comments only drive deeper the nails in the coffin of the African brand of feminism as it seems to be advocating, not for the equal rights of women, but for the total domination of human existence of the human race by the female gender.
Despite my liberal views, I do not see feminism thriving within the African society now or in the near future. This is not because of the pre-existent stereotypes of culture and/or religion, but due to the actions of women themselves who do not seem ready for the equal burden of responsibility that comes with the equal gender rights and opportunities as advocated by feminism. Their level of subscription to the patriarchy and assigning of gender roles further affirms this.
To the question of what end of the scale I favor, I would answer none. In as much as I cannot fault the patriarchy in its entirety despite its oppressive nature, I cannot stand to undermine the work of the true feminists, like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Angelique Kidjo, in African society. My position as a liberalist wants to see a society where everybody has the right and freedom to carry out any course of action, with regard to ideology, religion, education, sexuality, etcetera, without any form of prejudice provided they are not breaking the law or infringing on the human rights of their neighbors. In all I have continued to implore my friends, and foes alike, who have chosen to take either side of the divide that in their true and non-toxic forms, patriarchy is not misogyny and feminism is not misandry. Both genders need the other to survive and must therefore respect each other.