Critical Thinking

The Spotlight: A Letter To Chimamanda Adichie About Feminism, Egalitarianism And Me


Hey y’all!  It’s been a long, long time, but I’m back spotlighting an article I read this week.  I know some of you will already be rolling your eyes thinking this issue has been beaten to death already, and maybe we should just give Chimamanda a break already.  Hold on, I am with you there…  Not trying to flog anything.

The title on my spotlight is the title of the article I am spotlighting, and well, I had to put her name up there.  But she’s not the one I am addressing.  I am sharing my thoughts, likes and dislikes on the article by Blessing Abeng.  She’s the one I am addressing, and I also hope to shed some more light and a different perspective on this Feminism debate.

Okay, so, with that out of the way, let me properly introduce today’s Author – Blessing Abeng.  She blogs at www.eisteinette.com (I guess she’s a brain box :)).  Actually, according to her, “Einsteinette is a brand name that has become a personality.  It means female Einstein as well as social geek“.  I think I was close :D.  She’s the author of The Diamond of Life, which she sells on her website.  She’s an avid reader and blogger, and we will soon learn how she’s not so much a Feminist, but an Egalitarian.

Alright, I came across her post by a contact of mine, who sent the link to it via Whatsapp.  I found it very interesting, although I felt that it didn’t go quite deep enough…  But, before I spoil her letter, why not take a read of it yourself!  You can link it here: A LETTER TO CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE ABOUT FEMINISM, EGALITARIANISM AND ME.  Here’s and excerpt for you:

My first issue with feminism is the name. You can’t ask for equality of the sexes and have bias for one of the sexes. What you would end up doing is creating reverse oppression because the women will grow so strong and oppress the men, and the cycle will continue. In finding my path, I first blamed women, because in my short time of existence, women raised me and most of the people around me. They chose that I cook and clean while my cousins played. They said “you are a woman, no man will take this from you”.

They said “with this your attitude, you won’t find husband”, “your opinions are too strong for a lady, you need to listen more when your man is talking”, “ Don’t buy a big car or live alone o! You will chase men away” “why are you not married yet?” “You need to learn to cook o”. Women told me all these but never did I hear them tell the male kids around me the same thing. Instead I heard “you are supposed to be strong for your sisters”, “are you not a man? Why are you crying?” “The older babe slept with you, ahn ahn you are enjoying o”. While these are different reactions, they are also different forms of oppressions and as I have learned, you can’t compare oppression. Pain is pain, our thresholds are different. We are all victims of the society. Even from Gender roles, the foundation of our future is laid.”  Read more…

Okay, you done?  I shared a few thoughts with the person who sent me the link.  While I quite agree that perhaps “Feminism” wasn’t the best name to choose for a movement that was supposed to make the sexes equal, and her appeal for respect for our humanity and differences as the main objective of Egalitarianism, I felt that the blame to “society” greatly undermined the need for the fight and women’s empowerment movement.  I wrote:

I read it and it made me think again about a few things. I like what she said about respect being what’s needed, but I think she seriously overlooked or grossed over the Cause and Effect phenomenon that made and still makes the Feminist resistance essential.  It’s become a chicken and egg thing.  Is Feminism a real reaction and response to real oppression?  And who instigated this oppression?  Saying that it was “society” is damnably vague!  So women and men agreed that women would be objectified, oppressed, sexualized etc?  History tells a different story…

I like that she pointed out the ways that men have also been victims of sexism, which is what I believe the real issue is, and is the monster that Feminism is trying to overthrow.  With every decision we make, there’s a cost and benefit, and sometimes, the cost outweighs the benefit, but we can’t see that because the benefit is so attractive, and the cost is so deceptive or hard to predict.  I believe that’s what happened when men, in times past, put it upon themselves to rule over women.  The benefit was that they were in charge, in control and women served their needs…  The costs is that they gave themselves a load they couldn’t carry, and also cheated themselves out of having a complementary, partnership relationship with women, that should have made the world a better place for all.

Now, because it has been going on for millenia, we say “society” oppresses men and women.  But at the time that women realised that they were oppressed and needed to stand up and defend their rights, it was MEN, not society that were their resistance.  Sure, many women had bought into the male-domination mentality, and were even staunch defenders of the status quo…but with education and enlightenment, more women and even men have come to see that WOMEN need a voice.

It’s like the Black Lives Matter movement, and how people are trying to shut it down because of the emphasis of “black lives” instead of all lives.  But trying to say ALL LIVES (which is obvious), when black people are still struggling for representation, is actually a WICKED thing to do, because it bullies them into silence, back into the background, where their lives are being overlooked and disregarded.

So, I think the name Feminism is a reminder of the CAUSE for the fight.  It is women’s liberation and empowerment.  Men count too, and most of those who are victims of sexism didn’t choose to be sexist, but grew up in a sexist society.  Yet, let’s not send the women back into the black hole of silence, by trying to tell them not to promote the issues that matter to them and trying to change society’s attitudes in the process.

Those are my thoughts on the matter.  I’d love to hear yours 🙂

Photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com

If you like this post, you might like THE SPOTLIGHT: CHALLENGING FEMINISM

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