by Alabi Adewale
It’s hard to believe that in the year 2020, women are still being bullied to live according to the statutes of a patriarchal society. How you drink, eat, sit, dress, even breath is different when you are a girl because she must attract the right husband. That’s what we have reduced women to. To better explain what we are doing to women, let’s take a look at Police dogs. They are basically trained from a young age to perform certain tasks, it could be to sniff out bombs or narcotics. Whatever the case may be, they basically have no free will and grow up just to serve the purpose of the police force.
Is there any man in the world who would want to live a life like this? I highly doubt that. However, this is exactly what society does to women when they are ‘trained’ from a young age just to fit the stereotypes set for them by society. This brings to light what happened recently to Northern Nigerian actress Rahama Sadau who posted a photo of herself in a backless gown with her hair open. This singular act of a woman simply living her life became a source of worry to religious zealots who saw her pictures as going against the law of God and the culture of her people.
Rahama was bullied, by a lot of people from her faith and particularly Northern Nigerian men, who hurled insults at her for her disregard of culture and bringing shame to the Islamic faith. Rahama was bullied so much that she eventually released a video of herself begging for forgiveness for her transgressions.
She was literally bullied for just existing. This has probably been said a thousand times but we need to just let women be. Stifling women is stifling their creativity and genius. Putting women down is not what any forward-thinking nation should be doing at the moment and if we are being sincere at the moment, Nigeria is plagued with too many problems to be thinking of what women are wearing.
How can Nigerian women break free from this yoke?
The government definitely has a large role to play in this. Creating laws that protect the rights of women and making sure they are adhered to, is one major step to take. Sensitisation by governmental ministries is also important at this juncture.
The common man on the Nigerian streets needs to understand that he is not lord and master over a woman. Maybe then we may start seeing a change in attitude.
Lastly, religious groups need to understand the role they play in the safety of women. Christianity and Islam which are currently the major religion of Nigerians may be the last stumbling block in changing the ideology of Nigerians. However, if the government can also ensure that the teachings of these groups do not put a target on the backs of women, then maybe Nigerian women can finally have a breakthrough in the fight for their freedom.