Why Rape Jokes Will NEVER be Funny

Why Rape Jokes Will NEVER be Funny

AY recently joined the long list of Nigerian Comedians who’ve joked about rape. He made a joke about TBoss’ sexual assault by Kemen on BBN. Thankfully, after his show, he got a lot of flak on social media; many Nigerian Feminists called him out on Twitter for trivialising rape and victim blaming. Even though he was strongly criticised, AY still had a lot of supporters defending his disgusting joke, chief among them was fellow Nigerian Comedian Bovi. Bovi defended his colleague by saying, “You can joke about anything as long as you don’t offended sensibilities” (There is no way to joke about rape without offending sensibilities Bovi).

In an attempt to redeem his public image, AY posted a picture of him with TBoss on Instagram and wrote an “apology”. In his apology, he said Nigerians have misinterpreted his joke [My response: Your joke was pretty clear so they was nothing to misinterpret. You said guys shouldn’t judge Kemen because they understand “Konji” which means strong sexual desire. So, because a man is sexually aroused he has a right to violate another person??], he was inspired to make the joke because Kemen was suicidal [My response: So, you justify sexual assault just to make the perpetrator feel less guilty – he should feel very guilty, matter of fact, he should be in prison. If Kemen is really suicidal (I don’t buy it for one second), he should seek proper counselling and psychiatric help. Your joke just made Kemen & other perpetrators feel justified in their actions. Kemen & co. need to know that “Konji” is not a justification for sexual assault and if you are that pressed find a WILLING participant or help yourself] and that he was a wife and daughters so he will never support sexual assault [My response: If this isn’t the most used excuse in the world. Almost all rape apologist say this when they are criticised by the public (as if rapists aren’t related to females too). Being related to a female or heck, even being a female doesn’t mean one is incapable of being anti-woman/misogynistic (a lot of Nigerian women blamed TBoss for her sexual assault) so you can GTFO with that copy paste apology].

Our society already has a dismissive attitude towards sexual assault. Perpetrators rarely get punished by the judicial system instead, victims are blamed for “seducing” the perpetrator by dressing provocatively, being out at night and so on. Rape jokes further promote the dismissive attitude. This might be a reach but I believe AY’s joke may even encourage a would-be rapist to assault a woman (“After all, AY, a man who is considered a role model in Nigeria understands “Konji” so there is nothing wrong with my action” they may think). So even though AY said he doesn’t support sexual assault because he is related to females (rolling my eyes), his actions did just that.

AY posted a picture of him with TBoss to show that TBoss has forgiven so we should all forgive me. It doesn’t work like that AY; sure, the joke was TBoss’ sexual assault but it affects all sexual assault victims. There are victims who heard that joke and were discouraged from reporting the incident to the police, there are police officers who heard that joke and felt justified in their flippant attitude towards victims & poor investigation of rape cases, there are judges who heard that joke and decided to give lenient sentences to rapist because you asked them not to judge perpetrators. So yes, the joke was about TBoss but it is bigger than her so taking a picture with her doesn’t win you any points AY.

In conclusion, I’m done with AY.

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My Stance on Domestic Violence

My Stance on Domestic Violence

I haven’t written about domestic violence on this blog because I think most people can already surmise my stance on it but for the sake of clarity, my stance is to divorce the bastard and press charges. I know a lot of Nigerian women are afraid of advising women to get divorces because “Divorce is a sin” but I strongly believe that God wants women to be alive more than he wants them to be married. Human life comes first for me; every other man-made institution is secondary tertiary.

Another popular argument used to dissuade victims from divorcing their abusers is that “Children need their fathers”. Now, all things been equal, children do need their fathers BUT if the father is an abuser then the children are better off without him. Witnessing a parent abuse the other leaves children with severe emotional/psychological scars & trauma that may never be healed. So, raising children in an abusive household does more harm than good.

Recently, due to some high-profile celebrity cases (Tonto Dikeh & Mercy Aigbe), there have been various debates about domestic violence on the Nigerian Internet. I do not take part in internet debates because, most times, people just end up talking over each other rather than exchanging ideas. Even though I don’t debate online, I do read the threads just to get an idea of people’s opinions. Often, the comments I read about domestic violence and sexual assault leave me so frightened that I never want to leave my house again; the threads that I read on BellaNaija and some other popular Nigerian blogs revealed that many Nigerians are rape and domestic violence apologists.

Most of the comments I read claimed that a woman’s cheating and nagging were reason enough for her to be beaten. Gentlemen, if your wife/girlfriend is unfaithful, please break up with her or get counselling if you are still interested in keeping that relationship BUT you cannot beat her into submission. “Teaching your woman a lesson” will leave your children traumatised and also possibly send you to prison in Nigeria (Nigerian prisons are hell on earth); is it really worth it?

Am the only one that notices how nagging has become a gendered term? Presently, only women are called nags. I believe calling women nags has become an effective silencing tool because many women don’t demand expectations from their husbands so they aren’t termed nags.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, nagging is constantly harassing someone to do something (Keyword being harassing) BUT harassment doesn’t have to be involved for women to be called nags; a woman can be politely persistent and still be called a nag. Consistently asking your husband for necessities is now called nagging in Nigeria. I’ve heard many men complain about their wives nagging them for children’s school fees/rent or to stop drinking so much alcohol (Before Nkor); If your wife doesn’t get the money from you, where else is she going to get it from?? Also, she doesn’t want you to die from liver cancer.

Most times, the women who “nag” about financial demands are housewives so they have little/no means of meeting those financial demands themselves. Due to the urgency of those needs, they may understandably become impolite in their requests (because no one is perfect). The woman’s rudeness is not a justification for hitting her. You can tell her you don’t like the way she is speaking to you or walkaway. There are a lot of non-violent ways to resolve conflict; it is not that difficult.

Abusers are sane people, they abuse their victims knowing that they can get away with it and most times, they do get away with it. Nigerian society enables abusers; the society and judicial system are on the side of the abuser especially in cases of marriage. In many situations, when the victim reports to the police, they say “It is a family matter so go home and settle it”. Families also pressure victims to drop the charges; guilt-tripping tactics such as “Do you want the father of your children to become a criminal?” are successfully employed.

So, the victim forgives and returns to “normal” life but in order to prevent another incident, the victim walks on eggshells around the abuser to avoid provocation because many people have told the victim that they caused the previous incident by provoking the abuse BUT because no one is perfect, the victim does something that “provokes” the now bolder abuser which leads to another incident.

In conclusion, to stop/reduce domestic violence, perpetrators need to be sent to prison to put the fear of the law in the hearts and minds of would-be perpetrators.

Wish Away Sexism

This post stems from a very frustrating conversation that I had with someone. It is very frustrating to have discussions with people who don’t know what they are talking about; people who make statements and proclamations that can’t be backed up by any sort of evidence [PSA: Sometimes, it’s ok not to say anything].

So, I was having a conversation with someone about male entitlement and how it reflects in sexual interactions between men and women. I stated well-researched facts on how male entitlement in sex is harmful to women/girls and the person asked me why I always focus on the negative. I was so shocked and disappointed that someone who claims to be a feminist will respond to the danger that many girls/women face daily with such a callous reply.

Why do I always focus on the negative?? Well, I focus on the negative because the experience of females in Nigeria is negative (that is not to say we don’t have positive experiences). We are trained from birth to be subservient to the men in our lives, we are groomed to be polite even to our abusers, we are blamed when we are raped, we are blamed when we are cheated on, we are blamed for provoking the man when we are victims of domestic violence, we are coerced to exchange sexual favours for employment, we are shamed when we are infertile, our genitalia is mutilated to ensure that a man gets to marry a virgin and the list goes on; I can publish an Encyclopaedia on how the life of a female is negative in Nigeria.

I am sorry (not sorry) if highlighting the discrimination that my fellow Nigerian women/girls face makes me a negative person (or whatever adjective people are using in place of “angry feminist” these days) but I will continue to advocate for the rights of women in Nigeria and if you don’t like my “negative” approach then…..(fill in the blanks)

According to this person, my approach to feminism was too negative and they were going to adopt a more positive approach to fighting for women’s rights. I asked this person for the alternative method(s) that they are/would use to fight against sexism and no alternative was given but instead, they told me that I ALWAYS talk about the problem and NEVER offer any solutions (This is textbook anti-feminist derailment tactic); which was not true (#alternativefacts) because, in my previous discussions with this person, I had offered several solutions to the problem that I mentioned.

Also, and more importantly, to fight/cure any social problem, one needs to make a proper diagnosis. To fight the social disease that is sexism, its cause, symptoms and even mode of transmission have to be identified for the disease to be treated properly; incomplete diagnosis will lead to incomplete treatment. As many feminists scholars have lamented, patriarchy has spread its tentacles to every facet of our lives and the full extent of its damaging effects on the lives of women/girls is still unknown and under-researched because people have shut down feminist social scientists by calling them man-haters, angry feminist and negative people. So, focusing on the “negative” is essential to raising the consciousness of people especially women to the harmful effects of sexism.

Also during the discussion, the scientifically unbacked idea of positive and negative psychic energy was brought was brought forth as a reason for me to change my method of operation (sigh!!!!). The whole idea is that if you think positive thoughts, positive things will happen to you and if you think negative thoughts then negative things will happen to you. The truth is everybody will have positive and negative experiences in life regardless of how positive or negative they think; We have little to no control on when and how these events will occur. I think people come up with such beliefs because it can be very heartbreaking to accept that we have no control over the things that happen to us and so they decide to believe that our acts/thoughts will protect us from bad circumstances and situations.

To be honest, since the person I was discussing with is a Nigerian, I was surprised that they didn’t suggest that we pray away sexism like we’ve been praying away corruption for the last 57 years (Look how well that has been working out).

In conclusion, institutionalised discrimination cannot be wished away.

Women can be sexist too

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.

Dear Anti-Feminists,

It recently occurred to me from reading the comment section of BellaNaija and from interacting with anti-feminists that many people are ill informed about the ideals of feminism. Just to clarify, feminism is a political movement that aims to establish political, economic, personal and social rights for women. From my discussions, I believe a lot of people who oppose feminism learn about feminism from anti-feminists; they don’t even know the ideals of the movement that they so vehemently reject. It is ok to oppose any political movement or ideology but it isn’t very intelligent not to know the actual ideals of the movement that you oppose.

Nigerians often use the excuse of culture and religion to dismiss feminism as a foreign ideology/movement. I simply ask those “keepers of culture” who are somehow Christian/Muslim (Yes, Christianity & Islam that are used as a basis to reject feminism are also an imported ideologies/systems) to read about Queen Amina of Zaria, Nana Asma’u and Emotan. Before the Europeans invaded our lands and forced their culture and religion on us, they were women who dared to be more that what society told them they could/ should be, there were women who fought against their subjugation; we all have that one ancestor that ran away from home to escape an arranged marriage. So, feminism is really not that foreign to Nigeria, also PSA: Culture is not static; it is subject to change. When evidence shows that certain cultural practices are dangerous or offer no benefit they should be dropped.

I hope people will stop using that “It is not our culture” argument from now on but even if it is a foreign movement what is wrong with that?? Nigeria has adopted several foreign beliefs and systems; democracy (even though Nigeria is democratic in name only – that is a topic for another day), religion and our current formal education system were all adopted from foreign countries. If a belief or system being foreign is basis enough for rejection then I suggest we close all the churches and mosques in Nigeria (No, Right?). Nigerians are willing to accept foreign ideologies and systems so why is feminism the exception?? I wish the people who use this shaky argument as an excuse will just be honest about why they don’t support the movement.

Another group of ill-informed people often reject feminism because they think feminist are trying to be men (Huge Sigh). First of all, Feminists are not trying to be men!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We just want equal rights as men; We want girls to be sent to school just like boys, we want women to earn the same salary as male coworkers at the same level, we want to be able to rent an apartment even though we are single or even get medical treatment without a husband’s permission.

Secondly, we acknowledge that there are biological sex differences between males and females that cannot be changed but we don’t want those differences to be used as justification for hindering our rights especially since it has been proven that those differences do not make women/girls any less capable than men/boys. We have breasts and we menstruate but how exactly does that make me unsuitable to inherit my parent’s properties/ go to school/ earn as much as male coworkers and so on. (It doesn’t)

The last group of people I am going to address in this post are the “My mother is in charge of my household so there is no need for feminism” people. This group of people claim that there is no need for a feminist movement because they haven’t personally experienced gender discrimination (Selfish much). To them I reply “Congratulations, you are one of the lucky ones”. These people remind me of people who defend PHCN [Power Holding Company of Nigeria] because they’ve had somewhat constant electricity for a week even though the rest of the country is experiencing serious power shortages. It is undeniable that there are women/girls who are denied certain rights and forced undergo certain inhumane acts like FGM and child marriage just because they are girls and it is unbelievable and quite sickening, that people will dismiss the movement that aims to protect the affected women/girls just because they aren’t personally affected.

I believe this post is going to have a second part because I have heard so many fallacious arguments against feminism that can’t be addressed in one post.

PSA: Pleases stop calling FGM “female circumcision” because it minimises the cruel and inhumane nature of FGM. The clitoris and sometimes the entire vulva is removed and the victims experience severe psychological trauma and most times physical pain and bleeding during sex for the rest of their lives. Male circumcision although unnecessary is still unharmful and it doesn’t affect the function of the penis.

Beware of the male feminist

Beware of the male feminist

Before you start writing your essays to tell me that male feminist exist, let me start off my saying that I believe men can and should support gender equality in society. This post isn’t denying the existence of men who support gender equality so don’t bother typing.

I decided to write about this after I had a conversation with a male acquaintance. We were discussing marriage (for someone who doesn’t necessarily want to get marriage, I do have a lot of conversations about marriage) and he said he wanted to marry a strong independent woman. Because I’ve heard that ‘wash’ a lot, I decided to ask what exactly he meant by a strong independent woman. He said he wanted a wife who worked and earned her own money and he doesn’t want a woman who would ask him for money to buy frivolous things like human hair and Oh, he doesn’t want a housemaid. I then asked if he would be fine with sharing the household chores with his wife since she would be working and he doesn’t want to hire help. He said no because it’s the woman’s duty to take care of the house (surprise surprise………not).

I wasn’t surprised at all by his position because I’ve met a lot of guys that claim to want a strong independent woman/feminist but are vehemently against the idea of sharing household chores with their wives because apparently sweeping reduces the amount of testosterone in their bodies (insert side-eye emoji). Beware of those guys who claim to be feminist just to get girls. They know that most Nigerian ladies are becoming more aware of gender injustices and they pretend to care about gender inequality just to get into our pants or marry us. When a gentleman tells you he wants a strong independent woman, ask him what exactly he means by that because I guarantee that 9 out of 10 times, he means a superwoman feminist. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I don’t subscribe to that brand of feminism because I think it’s same old socio-cultural expectations of women in a brand new enticing package. Even though women help men bring resources home, they are still expected to be in charge of all of the household duties.

[Sidebar: Why do Nigerian men claim to hate weave so much but still go after the ladies with weave?? I think they actually like weave but they don’t want to have to buy weave for their significant other(s).]

Beauty is Pain…………..NOT

Beauty is Pain…………..NOT

I believe most Nigerian girls have heard the phrase “Beauty is Pain” several times in their life. I heard it a lot whenever I cried when I was getting my hair braided or relaxed. I heard it enough times that I started to believe it; I thought it was normal for a woman/girl to be in pain just to please society. So, I wore bras even though my shoulders hurt like hell. Over the next few years, I came to understand that beauty is not only pain, it is expensive; beauty products marketed to women cost more than beauty products marketed to men even when the amount of product is the same and they contain the same ingredients (coughs**Heads & Shoulders**coughs)

I don’t wear bras anymore; I wear bra tops. I stopped wearing bras because they hurt my shoulders. My first year of university was stressful and I absolutely hated all of it: I would say I was depressed my first year of university. I didn’t understand the university’s system so I was very lost. I found out that eating KFC and watching TV shows online cheered me up. Eating KFC every day is not economically sustainable so I decided that watching TV shows online would be my source of joy. The dorm I was staying in at that time didn’t have Wi-Fi and I wasn’t about to buy data on a modem just to watch videos online. There is Wi-Fi in my school campus so I used to carry my laptop to school every day. My laptop is heavy and so my shoulders hurt a lot.

One day, I wore a bra top to school and I noticed that my shoulders hurt less than usual that day. I decided to wear a bra top the next day to figure out if wearing a bra top was the reason for the reduced pain and it did hurt less that day as well. So, from that day onwards, I decided to stop wearing bras every day. I’m not anti-bra: I’ll wear a bra if the outfit I choose calls for one. I know someone is going to say if you buy the right size of bra, it won’t hurt. I’ve found that to be untrue; sure, it would hurt less but it isn’t completely pain-free (FYI, I got fitted at Victoria Secret).

During my most recent visit to Nigeria, my mother and eldest sister lectured me about my decision to stop me wearing bras: they told me to start wearing bras because not wearing a bra will make my boobs sag. I was also told that I was young so my breasts should be lifted. I didn’t say anything and for the sake of peace, I wore bras for the rest of my holiday.

Let me give another mini-PSA: wearing a bra doesn’t prevent or slow down the rate of sagging. Bras just temporarily lift the breasts. If you want to slow down the rate of sagging ( because it is impossible to prevent breasts from sagging), focus on improving your skin’s elasticity.

Whatever your take is on femininity, you can’t deny that is unfair that women/girls have to be in pain and spend a huge percentage of their income on makeup and the rest (even though we earn less than men) to be considered attractive and even professional. There have been several instances where female employees are asked to wear heels and makeup to work to be more professional.

Our ideas of beauty/professional looks aren’t innate; we are socially conditioned to accept certain things as beautiful/professional. Using my myself as an example, I used to think dreadlocks were ugly & unprofessional because I was raised in an environment that conditioned me to think that way. Now, I want to lock my hair but I am reluctant to do so because I know it will affect my employability; they are still a lot of people who have the same ideas misconceptions about locks that I used to have and some of those people could be a potential employer. It is unfortunate that what society has been conditioned to find beautiful/professional in women puts us in a lot of pain, consumes our time and empties our pockets.

Women have been made to feel ugly and inadequate without makeup. Everybody has seen memes making fun of women/girls that wear heavy makeup but has anyone ever asked why those women/girls feel compelled to wear that much makeup. The truth is beautiful/sexy women get treated better in society (Google pretty privilege). Who the hell wants to go through life being treated like crap when there are ways to make your life easier? Being made fun of for wearing too much makeup is not nice but that is way better than being called ugly and treated awfully for daring to go out with your bare face. Even though girls that wear makeup get made fun of online, they get treated better in society, for example, they are more likely to get employed/promoted.

Sidebar: I don’t like to call people ugly but when I see the pictures of the guys calling girls ugly, I’m just like “What hubris possessed you to call another person ugly? Have you seen yourself?”

My decision to stop wearing bras was not a ‘feminist statement’. I just noticed that a stimulus caused me pain so I decided to remove that stimulus. That is why our brain sends us pain signals. Our brains send us pain signals to indicate that something is wrong and to dissuade us from performing certain actions like touching a hot stove. I guess in a way, I’m making a feminist statement by not wearing a bra because I’m not going to put my body in pain/do things that make me uncomfortable just to appeal to do the male gaze.