There are a lot of things I don’t like when it comes to gender relations. But if there is one thing I dislike the most, it is the idea that women exist for men and as such we should live our lives making decisions that appeal to the idea of what men find attractive.
In coming times, I want us to get rid of that notion and in particular stop saying things like “No man wants a liability” or “Men prefer..” when we want to advise girls. The first statement is often said when we want to encourage women to have careers and not be stay home moms. I find both very detrimental. And I would tell you why.
First things first, who told you that being a stay home mom is a “liability”. Honestly do the people who say this realize how physically and mentally tasking it is to manage a home and raise healthy happy children?. Most men would not know because all they do is work, sleep, eat and have sex. Moreover, the home would not stand in any way if not for the woman y’all reduce and call a “liability”.
Truth be told, even as stay home moms, most women still do more emotionally draining work and all they get is to be referred to as “lazy” and “lacking ambition”. The only thing I don’t appreciate is the husband telling the wife not to work. This is because most times when the man tells her not to work, it is because he doesn’t want her to have money of her own. Our society has raised men to believe that having a lot of money is what makes them men and as such most men feel that if a woman has money of hers especially in larger amounts, that she would disrespect them. Some men also refuse to let their wives work because they fear that in going out she would meet men and cheat on them. Some men just think plainly that a woman’s place in the kitchen.
All of these do not make sense at all. It doesn’t matter who earns more. Your spouse’s success should be your success too. Also a woman can cheat on you regardless of whatever you do if she sincerely wants to.
However, some women do decide to be stay home moms for a myriad number of reasons that we must respect. Some women decide to become stay home moms because their kids are special needs children, others want to dedicate more time to them. Whatever the case, she deserves as much respect as the working woman.
In this conversation, we must remember that it is not about what a man finds attractive or wants. I for one would encourage women to have careers majorly because of financial security. It is because it is beneficial to you as the woman that you should pursue a career. Being economically dependent on another human being is risky especially given the fluctuating state of the Nigerian economy.
It saddens me how this idea of women existing for men permeates even our littlest discussions. I find it shocking how women hold off on important career decisions because they are scared they won’t find husbands. In my secondary school, I was once advised by a male staff there that I should go for a Law career and not a Journalism one as I would have more time to “take care of my family”. In the same school I was also cautioned again by a male teacher not to go for a doctorate(PhD) degree as men would find me less attractive. Wait what?
What infuriates me about the aforementioned examples is that the first one makes it appear like childcare and home managament are solely to be undertaken by the wife. The second example is even more disgusting as it pushes the idea that a highly successful woman is a threat to a man’s supposed power. This is as though men can’t be good husbands if they are not lording and “heading” over their wives in every aspect including achievements.
It is very annoying because boys are never told to cut down on their dreams or reduce themselves to be found attractive to girls. No one ever says to boys “Don’t have a doctorate else you won’t find a wife”.
When it comes to relationships there is always my one guiding principle which I would love my female readers to take note of. It goes: “If a man finds me intimidated or tries to get me to shrink from my core values or tries to get me to reduce myself to please him, he is not the man for me”. This is because if a man is intimidated by me, nothing I ever do would be enough for him as his eyes would be fogged with the mists of a weak ego and fear. A man who truly loves me would want to see me succeed and would want to see living the best version of my life. This man would understand that whatever is good for me is also good for him.
My beautiful Nigerian ladies, I want you to stop waiting for a man to choose you or to notice you. Instead of waiting, why don’t you choose yourself. Make the decision to exist for yourself. Understand that this choosing of self is not so that you can be more attractive to a man but rather understand that it is beneficial to you as a full human being.
Finally and most importantly, I want each and everyone of us to imagine if marriage and children did not exist. What would our conversations be about? What would our dreams be? How would we dream and make decisions? This year, I want us to work towards achieving those dreams.
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