20th February, 2012
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English succinctly defines misogynist as “hater of women”. There is no denying the fact that many misogynists have been waging several wars and equally campaigning against women’s freedom, emancipation and empowerment.
A misogynist does not believe that women should be given formal education beyond the secondary school level. He does not believe that a woman should inherit the property of her late husband. He equally does not believe that women should work in offices or engage in other businesses. Rather, he is often driving his point home on why women should remain in the kitchen and be absolutely domesticated. He does not even think of anything good on women sexual life. It is therefore not surprising that he has remained an ardent crusader of women circumcision.
On the traffic, a misogynist is naturally disgusted seeing women driving cars. To him, all women on steering wheel are bad drivers. When he sees any woman arguing with a man he would sigh and instantly mutter in pidgin English, “ I know say na woman, e no go gree” without having any understanding of the issue been argued upon. A misogynist, for instance, shares the notion that women police are unforgiving and that they do not accept bribe. By extension, all women security agents are seen as wicked, unforgiving and uncompromising.
In most offices, a misogynist sees her female colleagues who are regularly promoted as those who are wont to sleep around with top male managers. This, to me, is apparently discouraging most career women from being hardworking since they are always seen suspiciously whenever they are promoted through hard work. Even in some homes, the husbands find it difficult to trust their wives when their promotions become rapid. Many a husband may become paranoid to managers that are close associates to his wife.
In the Nollywood sector of our entertainment industry, actresses who are naturally and divinely gifted in their make-believe profession are seen by the society as those that are sleeping around with film producers. In the same vein, producers among the actresses are seen as sleeping around with marketers who may bankroll the production and marketing of their films.
Without any iota of equivocation, the society in general is misunderstanding womankind, and this has become a collective stumbling block on women’s path to progress.
This writer is a man. I know you may have asked, “What is this writer’s stress?” The plight of women is the plight of all of us since we all have wives, sisters, aunts and mothers. Somebody has to speak for them or add voice to the already sounding voices of various women-focused non-governmental organizations that are at the moment working round the clock to address the gender-issue of women.
The discrimination against the woman by the misogynist is so pervasive that it is at the moment negatively reflecting on the proportion of women holding political offices across various tiers of government in our country. The majority of the women that are today holding various political offices were appointed, and not elected.
The reason why women hold positions of appointment more than elective positions cannot be far-fetched. Most women are seemingly afraid to vie for elective positions because as it were, they would not be voted for by all the misogynists among the electorate. Most women that are today in active politics literarily rode on the wings of their husbands, who are no doubt politically powerful, or rode on the goodwill which their profession bestowed on them.
If a woman is married to a man from a different state of origin, she would automatically find herself in a dilemma. She cannot easily declare her intention to run for any elective political position within the political constituencies of her husband as she would be rejected by her in-laws who are invariably misogynists on the ground that she is not a direct indigene or “daughter of the soil”. On the other hand, her relations would also reject her from vying for any political office in her own fatherland for the mere fact that she is married to a non-indigene.
The foregoing summarises one of the biggest political problems women are today facing. I suggest this issue should be constitutionally addressed to protect women from being marginalised in this democractic dispensation.
That women are marginalised in corporate offices, apart from political offices, is no more news. Apparently to demonstrate that the issue is of national concern, a meeting was recently held between commercial banks and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). At the meeting, it was agreed that qualified women should be given the chance to occupy at least 40 per cent of top management positions and 30 per cent positions at the board by 2014.
The activities of the misogynist laughably extend to the pulpit of most churches as women are seen and not heard. The doctrines of most denominations clearly forbid women from becoming pastors. Misogynists in these anti-women churches are always quick to defend their actions by alluding to the scriptural injunctions in the book of 1 Timothy chapter 2 verse 11-13 which says “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed then Eve.” With these scriptural verse, it is little wonder that women are mostly seen to be heading children departments in churches.
One may not be wrong to say that a misogynist regards women as “pseudo-human”. If he does not regard them as such, one would then ask; why is it that anything that has to do with women often become storm in his tea cup?
It is common to see fathers who are supposed to be in a happy mood looking very sad at maternity wards because their wives had given birth to baby girls. Recently, a man was reported in the news to have killed his wife in the northern part of the country for giving birth to a baby girl. Also, when a couple could not bear children of their own, the infertility problem is unjustly and unfairly attributed to the wife.
As if he (misogynist) wants women to go into extinction, he has already made them his new focal point in violence incidents, probably in an effort to make a point that he never in the least admire womanhood. Women have been noted to be the major target of the criminal misogynist. He has brutally murdered some of them. In 2011, Titilayo Arowolo, a banker, was stabbed to death by her husband. Precisely on February 5, 2012, Damilola Sowemimo, also a banker, was murdered by hoodlums right in front of her parents’ residence at Ajao Estate, Lagos, on her way to church. These cases cited at this juncture, are no doubt, isolated as similar cases abound across the country.
The reason for writing this piece is to appeal to misogynists to renew their minds towards women by giving them a chance to succeed in every ramifications of life. They should not be always seen as inferior. Also, misogynists should try as much as possible to begin to bequeath the best education they can afford to their girl-child. They should eschew discriminating against the female gender.
There is no difference between a man and a woman. God created them to complement each other while on earth.
•Asabor wrote from Lagos