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“I will always stand up for my right because I am not only a woman but human”
“I am woman and human” by Oriaifo Bianca was first published on her Facebook Timeline in December 2016.
Being a woman in a developed society is a struggle, however, being a woman in an underdeveloped third world country is tougher and more challenging.
Living my everyday life as a young twenty-seven-year-old, my daily interaction with my colleagues at work, the mother of seven who sells corn and pear not far from my house, or the seemingly intelligent CEO of the reputable firm at the heart of the city fills me with growing dread as I can hear from otherwise harmless conversations, outright insinuations projecting the female folks as nothing but objects and trophies.
Some say I have a warped thinking just because I strongly support the notion that women are humans too. In societies where developmental growth is a habit rather than a theory, strategic laws are firmly put in place to safeguard the life and rights of women. It must be noted that I am not propagating women as superior to men; I am merely stating a fact that they are both human and entitled to equal rights and aspirations as well as judgments.
Why will a male politician who has managed to ascend to the top be given a hearty pat on the back, while his female counterpart in the same situation would become a subject of several conspiracy theories notable among them is alluding that she only achieved such a feat by sleeping her way to the top.
Why will a widower be advised to remarry quickly for the sake of his mental and physical state of mind, while a widow receives a spew of harsh rebukes at the thought of starting a romantic relationship several years after the demise of her husband? Along the line, you start hearing utterances like ” you sure say nor be she kill her husband?‘
Why is there so much hullabaloo over the virginity of a woman being intact, while her male counterpart is given resounding applause whenever he brags about his numerous sexual adventures with women?
Why is it that when a driver of a vehicle who happens to be a woman drives recklessly, the words that leave the mouth of other drivers is “no wonder, na woman sef”
The wife of a colleague of mine bore a baby boy recently, while we were celebrating over the birth of the baby, someone walks in and asks, “wetin e born, na full current or half current?
There was a resounding response of “na full current oohhh” Later on that same day at work, I shared a joke with the new father and he out rightly said to me to give him respect now that he had a baby boy, while my own child is a mere girl.
For a split second there, a wave of disappointment overshadowed me, then I asked myself, I have a child, be it boy or girl, that child is human, she brings me joy, makes me laugh and there is a very high chance that she is on her way to becoming a prodigy of some sort, so I snapped out of it and instead felt pity for those who relegate women to the background and peddle them as objects merely to serve as slaves and second class citizens.
I see no reason why a boyfriend or married man is given a cheating pass, and if the girlfriend of wife discovers and stays angry with her man for too long, she is regarded as no good troublemaker out to destroy her relationship or break her home, but God help a woman who is found cheating on her significant other.
I go through pages on Facebook where couples in relationships seek answers and solutions to different issues that crop up within the relationship, more often than not, the women are sternly advised to turn a deaf ear, pray for their man, dress sexy, and initiate random professional sex acts to keep their spouse and all that, irrespective of the fact that the complainants may have been battered, cheated on, deceived and all what not by their partner, however when a man comes up with his own complaint, he is advised to divorce her, to knock sense into her head by avoiding her meals for some time, to make her jealous so that she would know there are hungry wolves out there ready to devour him if she is not willing to play her role as a dumb fool.
I used to think that maybe our leaders could fight for us, but such hopes crashed when a notable member of the National Assembly in some of his numerous rants revealed his ignorance by objectifying the female folk and likening male colleagues who he perceives as weaklings to women. Often I hear sayings like,” why are you behaving like a woman?” Stop handling this issue like a woman” “why you dey drive motor like woman?”
When Emperor Haile Selassie gave the famous speech which was eventually turned into the song “War” by Bob Marley, this particular line rang a bell in my head “until there’s no longer, first class or second class citizens of any nation, it’s a war” prompting me to sit, think and conclude that unless the female folk as a body come together to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, we would never be regarded seriously.
In Africa and Nigeria in particular, a woman’s pinnacle of success is achieved only when she gets married and she has to do that before approaching the ripe old age of twenty eight, bagging a doctorate degree or becoming a rocket scientist would certainly be of no relevance if the woman is not married, acquiring properties or emerging as one of the most recognized sports woman on earth is balderdash if she does not possess the symbol of her marital status boldly emblazoned on the fourth finger of her left hand.
To many a Nigerian, the status of ‘runs babe’ is bequeathed to successful go getters like Linda Ikeji, Mo Abudu,Genevieve Nnaji and Rita Dominic amongst others. These are women who knew what they wanted and went for it through fire and brimstone, harshly criticized by a society at odds with accepting the fact that we are humans too.
I do not want you telling me not to style my hair the way I want, I do not appreciate you criticizing me for applying makeup, and no, I do not welcome your unsolicited advice encouraging me to adopt a subservient role in society when mother nature has already bestowed me with the mental and physical prowess to think for myself and act accordingly.
Marriage is good, but must not be used to define my success, choosing to keep or relinquish my virginity should not be used to dictate whether I would turn out to be a good wife or not, deciding to study mechanical engineering should not cause a stir, being able to stand up to a male counterpart when threatened by his behavior towards me does not mean I am a terrible woman, it only portrays a natural phenomenon that humans will always defend themselves and protect their interests, I will always stand up for my right because I am not only a woman but human.
About the writer
A graduate of Mass Communication at the University of Benin, Benin-City, Nigeria, Bianca Aigbibhalu Isibhakomen Oriaifo is a mother, and short story writer.
Born on February 21, Bianca aka Bibi writes beautifully well, she hasn’t really taken writing as a profession.
Her “I am woman and human” was first published on her Facebook Timeline on October 1, 2016.
A Christian, some of her favourite quotes are:
“The stone that the builder refused shall be the head corner stone.”
“The harder the battle, the sweeter jah victory”…Bob Marley
She is from Benin-City, Edo State, Nigeria.