If you have not watched the video below of the Ooni of Ife’s current wife chastising feminism and the female desire for equality, where have you been? The Olori spoke meagrely on the subject of equality and why it is an achievement that no woman could attain. Anti-feminists began wig snatching on the Internet, and Nigerian women worldwide began to argue.
She had no choice
Permit me to say that she is the second wife of a traditional Yoruba leader. Although her husband is educated and has displayed signs of creating an educated change in the Yoruba community, she has no such option. If she makes too many moves and upsets too many elders, she will be replaced quickly like her predecessor. Do not forget she is a new bride. She needs to secure her place before a junior wife arrives, and I will not be surprised if one comes soon. After all, it is expected of traditional rulers to marry several women. She lives by a different order of laws and regulations; decorum demands that she abides by them. What is it that elders say? You do not bite the hand that feeds you!
What is equity
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines equity as ‘fairness or justice in the way people are treated’. This is the entire point of feminism; it is about EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. This means everyone being given an equal opportunity to basic human rights. It means that a girl in a Northern village in Nigeria should be allowed to go to school with her brother. It means she should not be forced to marry a 60-year-old man when she is only nine years of age. It says that every girl child should be given the same opportunity as her male counterparts when it comes to pursuing her dreams. Your majesty, it does not mean feminists have penis envy. It is not to say feminists want to be men; it does not mean we want to usurp their choices. We women just want to be allowed to make our choices! Is that such a bad thing?
This is where education comes in, the well exposed and aware woman would pause before making such a statement. Some women paved the way for her to deliver a speech in such a setting. I thought women were not supposed to be heard? I know of several women who desire traditional gender roles, yet enjoy the freedom that the feminist movement has afforded them. Some of these women do not agree with the current direction of extreme feminism, but they consider the need for people who champion women’s rights. They are aware that when girls are suffering worldwide, some women still need to be outspoken. But to remain silent, you have to be aware of why you need to be quiet.
The Olori should be feminist
She should be championing the rights of the girl child in her community. Perhaps she may not be afforded the opportunity to be as vocal as the western feminist, but she can make a difference. She can promote better education, fund health promotion programmes to reduce maternal death, fight underage marriage and prostitution, stop the murders of children labelled as witches, encourage illiterate women to take up a trade. The room for her to create equity is endless. Theresa Kachindamoto a female Malawian traditional chief annulled 300 child marriages and sent the girls to school. Kachindamoto said ‘no child should be found loitering at home or doing household chores during school time’. You can read more about Kachindamoto here. If Kachindamoto can do that, why can’t a Yoruba Olori?
Your Turn to Speak
What do you think? Was she right? After all, she is entitled to her opinion. Is equity important? Do you believe equity goes against gender roles? Do you believe in the education of a female child and equal opportunities? Do you think all feminists want to be men?
PS: Thanks to the Olori of Ife for giving bloggers something to talk about, people who weren’t aware of her existence will certainly be now.
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image credit – bellanaija.com