On this fine Saturday afternoon, as I have finished my usual chores of washing and cooking for myself; I decided to sit behind the music videos of my favorite artiste: Beyonce whom as we all know has released an album which went platinum in less than 10 days.
There is this particular track: Flawless which features a Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This particular track gets to me every time I listen to it. It’s not exactly what Beyonce’s sings about that makes me wonder (not that I think what she says is irrelevant) but it’s about what this particular Nigerian author says that intrigues me. I will confess this: I love reading but I am terrible at sampling African novelist which Chimamanda is.
So today I decide to take my time and google her.
I came up with a long list of news on her but specifically related to Beyonce’s track which I thought was a good thing. Women from no matter which race should stick together. Anyway; what intrigues me to google her today? Is her use of one word: Feminist and also of course: her contribution to African literature thus far. According to what I gathered: Chimamanda is declining all interviews as at today regarding Beyonce’s track: Flawless. As to why? The media is guessing she didn’t like the use of her words in Beyonce’s track but I don’t think so. I just think she is a simple but elegant novelist who just doesn’t want the attention. It’s just my guess.
What made me curious this afternoon is her words and definition of Feminist? So I listened to her whole speech on youtube and I must say this: It was like listening to my inner voice.
I remember not too long ago; I was arguing with a group of people (male) whom wanted me to take back the word Feminist, which I use to describe myself. They were like: Tammy, trust us: you are not a feminist. And I was like: Huh? But I am.
Why do they think I was not a feminist? Because I like to wear high heels and pink gloss? Because I like to wear cute dresses and stay in tuned with hair trends? But are feminist supposed to be unhappy and angry and gloomy looking? This baffled me. And listening to Chimamanda; I realized this baffled her as well.
Today many women have turned Pretense into an art form. They are pretending to be less angry and accept whatever is thrown at them as a woman because society has made us believe; you cannot have desires or dreams lest you threaten or scare a male. You cannot be a feminist and realize there is a problem with gender because you will scare people especially men away from you. And more importantly; you cannot be all pink and pretty and BE a feminist because once you open your mouth and speak your mind; people will think you have a personality disorder.
Nevertheless: it’s her definition of Feminist that I took away as today’s lesson. Note that: We can all practice the art of Feminism. Feminist is a man or woman who says: Yes there is a problem with gender as it sits today. (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
And to those who are not familiar with the track Flawless and Chimamanda’s speech in there: I copied it here for you:
“We teach girls to shrink themselves: To make themselves smaller. We say to girls: ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man’. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices: always keeping in mind that: Marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to each other as competitors not for jobs or for accomplishments which I think can be a good thing but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are: Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes”
Every day, I wake up and wonder God’s plan for me. I have been this fortunate, I have been lucky in every single way.
I have a bubbly attitude and barely get sad. I believe in no matter what situation; I should smile. But sometimes it hurts to.
I look around my life and I feel a loss. I have nothing but yet everything. I have good looks, great physique, a very nice job with benefits and packages and awesome friends whom think I am adorable. Yet I feel empty.
I feel empty because I am almost 30 in 9months and in the society that I was raised in; all my intelligence, smartness and career status mean nothing if I do not have a partner and a little family to show for it. For this independent and strong woman; it hurts.
It hurts because I was raised to believe and hope that all this would fall in place easily…… No one told me it was this hard. No one told me that society judges you, cruelly. They judge the woman whom brought you into this world. They pass comments on her: “When is your first daughter getting married”? And she in turn passes me her looks. Her hopeful stares.
She thinks this doesn’t affect me? I want to be married, no doubt. But I also know what I DONT want.
I am a Christian woman; I believe Marriage is the greatest institution created by God. It is not for our benefit alone but it is also to prepare us for a union with Christ. I want to be unified with God one day, but before that I want to teach my children the right things; hence they can make better decisions.
But how can all this happen with the wrong partner? Is there anything too hard for the Lord to resolve? No. Yet I would not lock my life with a man who has attitude, thinks he’s doing me a favor and sees me as a weaker vessel and not his best friend.
This is the world we live in today. African women like me and you are being judged because they do not want to settle for less. Because they do not want to be in an eternal prison of companionship. Because they do not want to get married and then get divorced.
And yet many of us give up; along the way because it’s the only way to receive any sorts of respects from our society. We give up and settle for whomever and then we say to encourage ourselves: Hmmm… we will leave it up to God.
Well, newsflash: God doesn’t settle for compromises. He wants us to be happy; we are His children and He is our father. I do not think He enjoys being blamed at all times for our failures. He will help and direct you if you truly are patient and call on Him.