Dear Opinionated Nigerian: I met Patriarchy face to face and said nothing.
So you know those opinions and thoughts that you are passionate about. Those ones, you argue heatedly about on social media and among close friends. Those ones, you sometimes beat yourself about for not speaking your mind when it came to it… Yes! Those ones! Sometimes, they are all just ideas or ideologies in your mind, Not passionate opinions, not values. No! Just opinions.
So, let me tell you why I think that they are just ideas or ideologies you have not values or passionate opinions you can die for. Well, here’s my reason cum experience.
I hate patriarchy. I hate the fact that we live in a patriarchal society. One that places the beliefs, opinions and thoughts of the amazing male folks over that of the females. See, this isn’t even born out of feminism or any feministic ideology. It’s just my refusal to accept that one gender is owned by the other and can be controlled by the other especially if it's not on the bases of class or status. I mean, you could say you are better than another human being because of the class (economic/intellectual) you belong too or because of how much influence you’ve created but doesn’t mean you own him or her… No! I don’t agree.
So, I recently had an encounter with patriarchy at its lowest level. Like a level of sheer ignorance and stupidity and I didn’t try to fix it or influence it in my own way(how I engage in heated arguments about it with some male folks or become the social media warrior that I am), I just sat there quiet. So, let me share my encounter.
Recently, on my way back from work; I boarded a commuter bike and along the way, we encountered small traffic which put us in a cluster with other commuter bikes trying to get home.
While waiting for the traffic jam with other commuters bikes for the traffic jam to ease up, I noticed that 2 passengers on the 2 commuters bikes ahead of me were women and one of them was quite physically attractive (bodily appearance, if you get what I mean). This brought out the perverted nature of the bike man and so he began a body-shaming and sexualizing commentary on the woman’s body. This wasn’t even the main problem, there was also the fact that her blouse was hiked up and some part of her skin was showing. Now, the second female passenger closest to her noticed this and called her attention to this, asking her to close it up and that’s where the drama started.
My bike man suddenly got upset that his viewing pleasure had been cut short and started to boil over, foaming in the mouth over the other lady’s kind gesture. The lady responded and asked him what she thought she did wrong and this got them in a seemingly heated argument. The lady went further in her argument, illustrating the opinion that if it was the man’s wife that happened to, would he ask men to ogle her like that and to this, my seemingly daft and drunk man responded “ yes na, na she wear the cloth, if dem like make dem look” and this earned him a distasteful look from the lady throughout the ride even after the traffic eased up ( I found out we were going in the same direction).
Guess what guys?? I, the queen defender of women and breaker of the Patriarchial law of Nigeria, sat there, saying nothing! Like, I didn’t say ZILCH! Look, I had my reasons for saying nothing, and trust me, they were quite valid. For one, the argument was becoming heated and inputing myself in the conversation would lengthen it and may cause him to go on a rampage which would cause an unnecessary scene.
Two, if the rampage happened and got quelled in time, the one between us wasn’t going cool over. Remember, I was stuck with him for at least 15 minutes more and that was enough time for him to kill me( (those who live in Lagos, know how Lagos bike men are, they care less of their lives).
However, the reasons seem insufficient to me. I should have spoken up if only to inform the lady that he was ignorant and was foolishly talking. My voice would have buttressed the woman’s point and at least given me more kudos in the “women supporting women” hall of fame…lol
Above all, I could have politely influenced someone with my unapologetic view of the evils of patriarchy.
So, this brings me to the core of this post, are we really that passionate and opinionated about what we say we are?? Do those opinions, we want to constantly fight about, truly our opinions, or are they ideas sold to us by an overly expressive society??
Please share your thoughts below!!