So, someone started the never-ending “is it solely the wife’s responsibility to cook” argument today. And he was furious with his tweets. The angry chap went rambling about how our mothers used to do all the cooking while our fathers did the providing, hence his wife must comply.
Anyways, I have been on Twitter since 2009 and honestly I am tired of seeing this issue, so, let me talk about it (for the last time, hopefully).
Let’s go back in time a bit.
Once upon a time in this world, women were not allowed to hold political office or even vote. It took the efforts of people who were enlightened enough to know that women are as affected by politics as men, to lift that barrier.
Wait, not really. It took the efforts of angry feminists to get women on the ballot and on the voting lines.
Once upon a time in Nigeria, young women were told they didn’t have to waste time going to school since they would eventually end up in a man’s house (and kitchen).
Their myopic …ignorant parents would send them to primary and secondary school just so they can get basic education, then match them with a suitor who can put a roof over their head and turn them to breeding machines. Yes, a woman’s worth used to be measured by how many children she can bear her husband and how well she can take care of the house. It took the efforts of those who realized that the “value of women in various industries cannot be quantified” to get women going to Universities, earning degrees, actually working and earning a living so they do not solely depend on a man. Not really again. Angry feminists led that revolution. No, not the way you see it on Twitter. It took some girls to revolt, run away from home to go to school, refuse to be married off to some man who thinks his penis gives him right to own her, etc etc, to change the system. It took girls who did it to convince other girls they can do it too.
Once upon a time, (after breaking the Higher Institution barrier) women used to quit their jobs to raise their kids. Now, this is not such a terrible idea, if that is what the woman wants. But if a woman wanted to have kids and still pursue a career, it felt like she wasn’t serious. It took the efforts of women who valued their dreams, (and sometimes, men who are enlightened) to prove you do not have to abandon one for the other. They showed it could be done. It wasn’t easy; many of them had to go for family counseling/meetings where they were chastised for being bad wives; many had to endure living in loveless marriages, many got ‘chased out of the house’ (because the man feels if he helps out with domestic tasks he will lose his manhood), many got cheated on (if wife will not be domestic, aunty on the side will be).
As was in the last two scenarios, I wish I could say Nigerians have evolved past the stage where women have to discard their dreams to be ‘good’ wives. I wish we had gone past the stage where men weren’t filled with this sense of entitlement, and women weren’t fueling it by wanting to be nothing but aides who bear children and spend the man’s money. I wish men and women understood that marriage is a partnership; two individuals coming together to make life better for each other. If people understood this, we wouldn’t be having these gender-role-based arguments.
If your partner loves doing domestic things and refuses to let you help, well, enjoy. If she wants you to help, how dare you refuse just because you feel you’re the man and it isn’t your job? Would going to the kitchen to cook or cleaning the house make you less a man? Does she even have to ask before you have sense?
So, what if you grew up in a house where your mom did all the work while your dad watched TV and chilled? Do you not know the meaning of enlightenment/evolution? Must you do it because your father did it? Back in the day it was expected of a woman to just take care of the house while the man brings the money. These days women are CEOs, captain of industries, leaders, bosses, earning just as much as their men and even more. Women are doing what used to be a man’s job. Why should men be afraid/ashamed of doing what used to be (solely) a woman’s job?
Evolution means what used to be obtainable in the past would no longer suffice. Enlightenment means you have an opportunity to know more than your forebears did, and be more open-minded. Ask those American men what they thought about women voting in the early 1900’s and they would have laughed at you. A woman is likely going to be their next president come November. It took years, but look at how far they’ve come now.
Every generation experiences paradigm shifts; so if ours is the understanding that EVERYONE is equal in the sight of God and man, let us embrace it, and educate the ignorant ones.
Something as mundane as ‘who cooks’ should never be an issue. Whatever your schedule is as a couple, the important thing is that your marriage works. And if it means you have to do the dishes or cook, do it sir. Don’t be a patriarchal idiot.
Originally posted on Medium – bit.ly/Patriachial