I remember when the first wave of (millennial) feminism hit the shores of Nigeria. A lot of (misguided) women not really having a full grasp of what its was about saw it as an anti-men propaganda. It was like a platform for which women came to express their grievances. A free-for-all. Make-it-rain. Champagne shower. Whatever you want to call it. It was nasty. It was sickening to watch. And up till tomorrow, I look at Nigerian feminists with a bit of a side eye. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some feminist energy. I feel Roxane Gay should be my godmother
What really ticks me off is how this has left some of us who don’t identify with the label unable to have opinions on gender and equality without being tagged as one. It has sort of become a team feminism vs team anti-feminism world. What is this? A ping-pong game? And to make it worse, the average Nigerian feminist has been tagged ‘angry and bitter’. Haba!
I was having what I felt was a decent argument with a friend concerning how a lot of advertising companies use sex appeal to sell products and how I feel it’s a form of objectifying women. Next thing, he pulled up the the whole feminist card and I thought, “How exactly did we get here?” Why is it so hard for me to have a say on a gender related issue without getting slammed as an angry, blood-thirsty feminist? He wasn’t the only one who has done this as I’ve had people tell me that in the heat of an argument.
I know Chimamanda suggests we should all be feminists but I’d rather not be identified as one. Yes, I’ve had really strong opinions since I was a little child in a cruel world about the marginalization of women and how they get trampled by men and society just because of their sex. Yes, I’ve realized from a tender age what inequality was long before I knew there were actual talks about gender inequality and feminism. And while some of my ideologies were based off a one-sided narrative, I’ve adjusted them over the years as I’ve gained more insight on these subjects.
But…I am not a feminist. Never have been. Never will be. I don’t like complexities and feminism is shrouded by a whole lot of it. Feminists to me are like The Dora Milaje. For those who don’t know, those are the women warriors who are assigned to protect the king and royalty in fictional Wakanda. I’m too lazy to bear the responsibility that comes with being one. Maybe it’s because half of the time, I feel more alien than human. Or maybe it’s because I’m too conservative for anything that pulls so much crowd and attention. I sort of practice a subtle form of individualism…if that makes any sense. (ps: I was today years old when I realized this was a real word).
The most difficult part is having to tell people I’m not a feminist. I think it confuses them knowing just how much I sound like one. I try to make intelligent arguments but I don’t engage in feminist debates. This is my first time (and probably the last time) I’ll be talking about this subject. I’m just a woman with some opinions on how we should all be decent human beings and make this world a better place for all.
I have friends who identify as feminists. I also have friends, who like me, don’t identify as feminists. I love women who support and fight for other women. I love men who support and fight for the women. I love how together these groups of people are working together to change narratives. And I’m looking forward to a world where my daughters will not feel like sloppy seconds.
But I’m not a feminist. Femme fatal maybe. But not a feminist. And it’s fine if that makes me uncool. Or an outcast. Or whatever. I’m really unbothered. Plus sounding intelligent all the time is so much work. I just want to stuff my face all day and nurse my upcoming pot belly.
I don’t think my opinion will be swayed anytime in this life time. Or the next eight life times. Yes, I might be a cat. Deal with it. So…take note. In case you find yourself in an argument with me. DO NOT call me a feminist. I could rip out your tongue. Lmao. Just kidding.