So, I haven’t posted in a while because my school has resumed so I have less free time now but I shall make an effort to publish posts fortnightly unless I have midterms and projects.
This short post was prompted by a long comment that I made on a BellaNaija post a while ago (Yes, I comment on BellaNaija posts- make fun of me if you want). The post was about the negative reactions that Dabota Lawson got for congratulating Melania Trump on Donald Trump’s win. There were several comments by women critiquing Dabota’s congratulatory message/shout out to Melania on Instagram. In response to the negative comments by women, one commenter decided to type “Women shaming each other. Okay”. I wrote an epistle as a reply to that comment but the basic gist of my reply was that “women supporting each other” is not what feminism about.
Somewhere along the line, someone decided that the definition of feminism is women supporting each other which is incorrect and even a hindrance to the achievement of feminism goals. Once again, feminism is a political movement that aims to establish political, economic, personal and social rights for women. Women can be classist, racist or sexist, so denouncing the problematic acts of women is not antithetical to feminism. [By giving a shoot out to Melania Trump, Dabota was indirectly endorsing Trump, a man who is an unapologetic KKK and Neo-Nazi sympathiser and the criticism she got for it was not unwarranted. So, in that instance, feminists did not owe Dabota our support.]
Women are raised to view each other as competition for male attention in our male dominated society and so it is refreshing to see women not tearing each other down. I also acknowledge that “women supporting each other” is a tool for accomplishing feminism aims because men often overlook the competence of women in the workplace and society in general (gender bias is real) and so it is usually left up to women in positions of power to give other women a chance to shine but as I previously mentioned, women can be sexist too: For example, the women who perform FGM rituals on girls, the female landlords who refuse to rent houses to single ladies, the women who blame victims of rape and sexual assault and so on.
I strongly believe that all Nigerian women/girls have some form internalised sexism due to our upbringing but some of us are making a conscious effort to unlearn our internalised sexism but others have accepted it and now enforce it on other women.
It is the responsibility of feminists to denounce discrimination against women/girls regardless of the sex of the perpetrator.