This attack on the Nigerian woman’s character and morale is a calculated ploy to keep us in chains and we mustn’t perpetuate it ourselves. Don’t you dare say to me, “you know how Nigerian women are”
If you mean they are stunning, resilient, powerful, strong women who never give up. Who makes it work even when the odds are stacked against them. Nigerian women are the most organized female entrepreneurs in the world. No other nation has more female entrepreneurs and breadwinners. Put us on the battlefield, we win. In the business field, we win. Home front? Win. Nigerian women have built this country up and continue to build it up with little to no respect or recognition.
From the women’s war against the colonizers to the assassination of women’s rights activist Fumilayo Ransome Kuti. Nigerian women have made and continue to make great contributions to our nation. Do not see yourself as separate from Nigerian women. Whenever you speak of Nigerian women you are speaking of yourself. You are not the anomaly. We are phenomenal. Don’t allow misogynoir to stop you from seeing the greatness of Nigerian women. Stop the self-hate programming dead in its thought process. You are a Nigerian woman. You cannot exempt yourself from the status. Further playing into the false negative notion of us does not make you any better.
I saw a woman at the supermarket the other day. She was being attended to by a cashier. Now the female cashier attending to me, was a bit stressed because I was complaining about the wrong price. My cashier was also attending to another customer whilst waiting on the manager to rectify my issue. This Nigerian lady left her own cashier and said to the cashier attending to me, “find somebody to help me carry my bags,” as this cashier was scanning another customer’s items. Because the cashier didn’t immediately drop what she was doing to call the helper – the lady shook her head as if out of pity, slightly kissed her teeth, and retorted “oh Nigeria”.
I was mystified. It took everything in me not to laugh out loud. What do you mean oh Nigeria? Because she didn’t want to disrupt the flow of business to stop and find you a helper? Why not ask your own cashier? Why did you expect her to drop everything she was doing to attend to you in that second? How does that work? The western paradigm you often use when you make comments like “oh Nigeria”- would you go into the store there, and expect the cashier to leave the customer she was in the middle of attending to, to help you? Or would you ask for help and patiently wait till she was done to receive your help? We have got to check ourselves and our expectations. How do we perpetuate these white-washed negative stereotypes of ourselves? Do they make any sense even?
I am currently reading a tourism guide to Nigeria that was published in 1997 (my dad gave it to me). In the first chapter, in fact, the first five pages and the author already insulted Nigerian women twice. Made us out to be dishonest and dangerous. I laughed at the audacity and irrationality. Under the section ‘General safety precautions’, he actually advises that ‘never keep a casual girlfriend or woman in a room where you keep your foreign money and jewelry’. He then further goes on to say that they should be, “extremely cautious when using beauty salons”. No such warnings are given about keeping male friends or men in rooms or going to barbershops. This information is casually printed in a traveler’s guide to Nigeria. That is the impression they paint from the onset and it is extremely damaging.
All races and nations have people with “bad” characters, that doesn’t mean it should be attributed to the entire race, nation, and gender – because that would be slightly insane, you know. It’s wild to me that in 2021 we still don’t grasp this notion. It made me realize that time does not mean advancement. It has never meant advancement. As time goes on it is indeed possible for society to degenerate.
This onslaught on the character of the Nigerian woman is done in order to repress the powerful abundant spirit that we have. Our inability to crumble under the direst of circumstances. Our ability to succeed and flourish even when the odds are stacked against us. Even when they have attempted to snuff out our light. To come out looking like peacocks when they wanted us to shrink- is what has them all BIG mad. You cannot take a Nigerian woman for a fool. She no fit carry last. We are way too phenomenal.
To be a proud Nigerian woman is to stick your middle finger up at the oppressive system. To be a proud Nigerian woman is to be a phenomenal woman. To be a proud Nigerian woman is to be proud of yourself.
To my Nigerian sisters worldwide. Whether you live in Nigeria or in the diaspora. We are magnificent beings; we are not morally bankrupt. We are the very fabric that keeps this great nation going. Without Nigerian women, there would be no Nigeria. Let us not continue to perpetuate self-hate.
A toast to my Black queens.
A toast to my African Queens.
A toast to my Nigerian Queens.
We are MAJESTIC.
About The Writer
Teso Uwaibi is a Nigerian author, writer, blogger, publisher, speaker, and mentor with an undergraduate degree in politics from Manchester Metropolitan University and a Masters degree from Russell group university, Queen Mary’s University of London.
Besides writing and self-publishing her own book ‘Her Rantings’, she has contributed to various writing projects and is the director of independent publishing house TU Publishing & Consulting. Which allows authors to keep 100% of their royalties whilst streamlining the publishing process.
Teso is a firm believer in attaining knowledge of self in order to unearth our higher selves. She is a champion for authenticity and is often quoted for asserting, “ There is only one you. No one else will ever be you. That is your superpower!”