Stephanie C Odili is a feminist writer and author, whose work focuses on writing, speaking and advocating for gender equality, education, nation building, climate change and productive living. She has written over 200 articles and is now a top writer in feminism on Medium.
Womanhood surrounds what can be offered and controlled. In our world, womanhood is the absence of personhood.– Ashley A Cummings.
I want to start by saying that I am deeply sorry for not attributing each of these lessons to individual people. I have been collecting these notes for about a year and lost track of who said what. But most importantly, I have grown from these words and I hope that you do too.
Here they are:
- Foot soldiers of the patriarchy: These are women who uphold the patriarchy and make other women feel bad for not wanting to be awarded the ‘ultimate price’ of male likeability. Footsoldiers stand guard, enforcing daily the tragic messages of oppressive patriarchy. They hate feminism so much, maybe because they love to still be in their chains. ‘Manvocates’ is another name for foot soldiers.
- A pick-me isn’t defined by being picked yet or not, but as a woman who bases her worth around sexist/romantic affirmation from patriarchy/men,
- Feminism must start at home, with the men in your life. Some people think it’s okay to be a feminist at work and come home and be submissive. It doesn’t work that way. Start from the house and teach your fathers, brothers, cousins, husbands, partners, and sons to be allies and to be feminist, before you start preaching at the office. It makes no sense that you’re a feminist online and offline you’re letting yourself be a second class citizen to massage a man’s ego.
- Teachers in all levels of education must not be sexist. Teachers are the second point of contact with children after their parents. Therefore cannot afford to be sexist. They should never be caught segregating or promoting archaic gender-based roles in the classroom and in conversations. This is why gender studies must be a part of our primary and secondary school curriculum. Sexuality is for both sexes so let us be fair and equal in teaching it.
The word feminism itself was first coined in 1837 by a French philosopher, Charles Fourier (as féminisme). It originally referred to as “feminine qualities or character,” but that sense isn’t used anymore. Toward the end of the century, the word came to refer to equal rights for women and became inextricably linked to the suffragist movement.
- Overly religious women refuse feminism because they totally enjoy being subservient. They’ve been taught to see it as being a good woman/wife. They glorify and bask in the slavery that men don’t even put them in. Read about The cult of the Christian woman written by Sarah Olsen.
- There is a specific language used by women who were raised, Christian. We use these words when we are around one another. “Bless,” “community,” “authenticity” and “sisters.” None of them are precise enough to say what we mean. But the language that is used to define women — helpers, partners, submissive — is a language of precise and belittling condescension.
- Many Christians believe that Christianity and feminism are incompatible. But this assumption is drawn from biased definitions of both feminism and Christianity. Some Christians have an extremely negative perception of feminism. They believe that women are already equal, but need to accept their different roles. With this skewed definition of feminism squarely in mind, it is easy to see how some Christians feel that the subversive nature of feminism does not fit the purpose of Christianity. There are also feminists who reject Christianity because they see it as advocating for oppressive patriarchy at worst and soft complementarianism at best. The idea of Christianity reinforcing feminist ideals is ludicrous. They see Christianity’s doctrines as a relic of the past with no use in a progressive society. Well, it’s somewhat expatiated in this piece of mine.
- Male privilege (which by the way is a serious disadvantage to women) is being able to publicly cheat and people will either blame your partner for being dumb enough to date you or flood your side woman’s mentions with death threats and slurs. Worst of all, they even congratulate you on “upgrading”. A woman must always suffer for the stupid sins of men and we don’t know when this will end.
- The worst thing that is used to justify men’s behaviours is by saying “boys will be boys” or “men are dogs” or “it’s just not how men are wired”. Stupid reasons made up and followed through to excuse unforgivable and non-condonable behavior. It’s wild as fuck that no matter what men do or how fucked up their actions are, no man will actually condemn it. Imagine blaming someone who wasn’t part of a marriage union of ‘ruining your marriage, rather than the man you made the vow with. You leave the man and focus on the woman who ‘broke up his family’; who’s bad for ‘fucking a taken man’. You call him a poor wayward soul. Oh, and God forbid a woman cheats. She receives none of the same understanding or pity. Nobody wants to know why, and we damn sure don’t EVER blame the men. Side dicks NEVER have to face thousands of people in their mentions for “breaking up her family”.
- Men are held to such low standards that they and ‘pick me’ women make stupid gifs about how a man deserves more things for basic faithfulness or washing the dishes. I have never, not ever, seen the same for women.
- Gender roles which include: the expectation of submission from the woman, the delegation of the bulk of domestic work to the woman, and the emotional and devotional labor of caring for and spearheading the spirituality of the family; are literally the entire bedrock of the patriarchy’s tool in the attack against women. Women are groomed, from girlhood, to be these things — mothers to children they don’t have, religious for a man they have not met, to clean, sweep, and cook for him and his family one day. So, where do women learn to be equal to men when we have only been taught to serve them.
Women are more disadvantaged than men in so many ways. That’s why there is feminism.Outside of the exceptions like women bodybuilders and Sigourney Weaver, women have less physical strength. We get paid less. Promoted less. Assaulted more. Raped more. Talked over. Abused more. Killed more.
- Feminists in Nigeria, there are other feminists/ feminist theories and protests to look up to. This includes The Egba Market Protest, Nana Asmu, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and the Aba women who resisted the shackles their hands are legs were in.
- Notice how “girls mature faster” is never stated as a reason why girls should be given more positions of power and authority? It only works to hold girls to greater accountability than boys and to justify men’s pedophilic attraction to them.
- I bet you’re not aware of the laws that prohibit violence against children, girls, & women in Nigeria. The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015, prohibits female genital mutilation, harmful widowhood practices, harmful traditional practices and all forms of violence against persons in both private and public life. The Child Rights Act prohibits all forms of violence against children in Nigeria! So why the hell do these evil things still happen and nothing is being done by law enforcement?
- Let us all stop teaching your daughters that their “virginity” is a special gift to give somebody, it’s fucked up and gross. We were taught that our bodies were a tool of reproduction, a temple for man, for God, for children, instead of our bodies simply being our bodies. Let’s not repeat bitter history.