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The Raging Feminist vs Mrs Subservient Wife (The Opposing Views OfChimamanda & Omotola )



This week I've read the interviews of two very talented and successful strong women; Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Chimamanda Adichie. Inasmuch as I hate to stand in the middle and find 
myself neither here nor there, I find that I don't agree wholly with either views of both women. The parts of the interviews I'm referring to are :

Omotola: I don’t believe in gender equality. I do not believe that God made man and woman to be equal in any way. I believe that in every organised institution, there is always a head and and an assistant. .....I believe the husband is the head of the home and the wife is an assistant. 

ChimamandaBefore we start, please, I just want to say that my name is Chimamanda Adichie. That’s how I want it; that’s how I’m addressed, and it is not Mrs but Miss........ My name is Chimamada Adichie. If you want to put label for me, put Ms.... Some women won’t do it (change their names). I am one of those women, and nobody will come to use culture to tell me that I should do what I don’t want to do.


Although these women are speaking on two different matters one cannot help but notice the glaring disparity in their views of Womanhood and feminism. 
      One who doesn't believe in gender equality (in marriage?) and says that there can only be one head and that is the Husband. And the other who refuses to be addressed as Mrs, or called her husband's name. 

       Like I said above, I don't wholly agree with either party. I strongly believe in gender equality, I believe in the equal treatment of, and equal opportunities for members of both genders.
      I would like to believe that marriage is a partnership where both parties work together as a unit, for the good of the whole family. 

      On Chimamanda's refusal to be called Mrs; initially I tried to convince myself that this is because her brand is actually Chimamanda Adichie, calling her something else might cause unnecessary confusion. But reading that interview again, it becomes obvious that this transcends just her brand and name as a literary artist. The words that formed in my head were "raging feminist".
       Unfortunately, in her interview, Chimamanda did not give any reason for this request, except simply that it is her choice (which quite frankly, I cannot dispute) and people should be called what they want. It made me wonder; does the husband have no say in this? Should there not be room for compromise, for instance Mrs Chimamanda Adichie, Chimamanda Adichie-Esega etc? (For all I know Mr Esega might be completely indifferent, or in total agreement with this, and I'm here drinking Panadol for someone else's headache). Yet, I simply could not ignore these thoughts. 

I would like to hear your views on this? Do you think Chimamanda's feminist views are extreme? Do you think Omotola needs a reorientation? Do you believe in equality in marriage or that, as we are lead to believe by morals and religion, the husband IS the head? Does it matter who's name a woman bears, and does  the title Miss or Mrs have any significance?

Let's talk. 

Comments

  1. Marriage is like a sports team,everyone has to be a team player for the success of the team but they still recognize and respect the team captain.
    As for name and co,people shld respect peoples wishes and judging from igbo history,she has a valid reason to back her point.
    If u name ur child what u want,that child has a right to change it to what they want (after all they are the ones answering the name not you the parent)
    We are in the era of open mindedness...lets see how far exposure and enlightenment wld take us. Lol

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  2. I'll say it again...Chi baby went too far. "I'd prefer to be called Chimamanda" or something along those lines would have sufficed. For me, there was an undertone of some sort of desperation, aggression? or maybe something else....Then again like Thelma said, her husband might be in support of it and we are here killing ourselves o.

    The whole debate of what name a woman bears is a non-issue as far as I'm concerned. If sticking to your maiden name is fine by your husband, then why should we be bothered?

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  3. My question is this, what harm does answering your husband's name cause? Is it really such a big deal. In my opinion Chimamanda stretches her feminist views and take things a bit to far. I'm all for being a feminist outside and a wife at home, and in that light I would have to say I agree with Omotola.

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    1. What harm does NOT answering it cause? The queen of England isn't answering King Philips name. Angelina Jolie isn't even answering her fathers name and chimamanda's father/grand father isn't answering the fathers last name but that of the mum and these three examples are from 3 continents and culture. So chimamanda's decision is both personal and cultural. Respect and don't question/judge/condemn her wish.

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  4. @ Sasha, on the contrary, she says it has nothing to do with culture. She says it's personal. What about her refusal of bear Mrs? I have and will always maintain that women will be their own undoing all in the name of feminism. I am in support of feminism and equal rights, but when you start acting irrationally all because you call yourself a feminist then one has to step back and wonder.

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    Replies
    1. Her refusal to bear Mrs is also as personal when a guy refuses to wear his wedding ring. I believe what she's saying is don't put a title like Dr,Engr,Barr,Mrs,Rev before her name...is that too much to ask and people not question?

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    2. I know that in some countries u keep ur maiden name she may have a point,my parents have been married for soo many yrs and she is still addressed in official docs as her maiden name. I am married and the hassle I am with one country accepting my marriage name and the other not makes me wonder if it was worth it changing name

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  5. I refuse to drink panadol for the unknown Mr Esega on his wife's name or lack thereof. That being said, I believe relationships between the sexes is designed to be of mutual benefit, and like any other mutually beneficial relationship, respect is the watchword. As Sasha said its like team sports: every1 works together to win but that does not mean we all don't recognize the captain as what and who he is. And just lik in sports, every1 gets to shine and lead in different ways n @ different times in the relationship.If the captain feels he is the be-all in a football match, let the goalie walk away and we'll see how strong he is then. A good marriage I'll say is where all the parties recognize and respect what the other is bringing to the table. It may not be the same as urs but that doesn't make it any less important. And that goes for who does the bringing; may be the man or the woman, both are important, equally. Ziggy.

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  6. Its in this part of the world that most people believe men. And woman don't have equal right,marriage should be equal,I don't agree with omotola too but what do we do when majority carries the fucking vote ?

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  7. Personally I think this is just a storm in a teacup. The fact that Chimamanda Adichie doesn't want to have the prefix Mrs, or bear Esega as her last name doesn't mean she's any different from Omotola or that she even disagrees with Omotola in the slightest way. She doesn't want to be addressed as "Mrs". Shikenah. I have a very good friend who has changed his surname officially to Snailz. Yet he and his parent/siblings are in excellent rapport. So what's the ish about a name or title? To me, it doesn't imply anything, and who knows, Chimamanda might be worshiping Mr. Esega at home while we're all here racking our brains over nothing. Lol.

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    1. Thank you Memphis,case dismissed!!!!

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    2. If it doesn't imply anything, what then is the point?

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    3. Thelma, I'm trying to understand your question. "What then is the point (of a woman bearing her husband's last name?)". I said "it doesn't imply anything" out of context and I'm sorry about that; that was a misleading clause. I should've rather said it really is no big deal what a man/woman decides to be called, whether married or single. I have a cousin named Tony Onwu. His father is Igwebuike, mum is Onwu. He's been bearing his mum's last name for the last 42 years of his blessed life. I hope I'm making some sense though. If I've said any other thing out of context please point it out. Be Blessed :D

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    4. Memphis, I actually read you correctly. What I meant was that, if it doesn't imply anything; if there's no reason behind this particular action, then why not just answer the husband's name? I'm just wondering, because reading the whole and concluding part of the interview, it's obvious there is a reason: "it's a brave new world, let's change things up". No problem with that, just want to satisfy my curiosity beyond any doubt. I think the only person that can do that is Chimamanda herself. On to other things please mail me Memphis, there's something I want to discuss with you privately. Thanks. thelmathinks@gmail.com

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    5. Thelma, let me throw that question back at you and the journalists. "if it doesn't imply anything; if there's no reason behind this particular action, then why not just call her her name?

      It's not by force to answer Mrs. or one's husband's name, and there's no achievement. Since answering Mrs. does not signify you have a happy marriage, why not simply continue answering the name you have always been called and known by?

      I know a lot of Nigerian women who will fight anyone who dares to leave out their title meanwhile, they will also fight with their husband when they get home. Next you hear they're separated and their husband moved in with another woman, and they're still answering Mrs. SMH...

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    6. Myne, I agree with you, and your last paragraph is basic truth. My point however is, if you're going to make that decision, go beyond convention and refuse to answer Mrs, and your husband's name, then should there not be a reason, should it not be for a cause? What's the point in doing that for no reason at all? Somewhere in my mind it just doesn't make sense. Yet, I seem to be attaching too much to the title and name. Maybe really, it's merely a choice within one's own right to make.

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    7. Very soon all these things ll be history, wen men marry each other in gay rships, who ll change name?. Watever rocks her boat.

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  8. The point is people respecting the wishes of people. Is being a Mrs a title achievement? If people see things totally different from others,does that make em less human from others? It wld be hard for "society" (you and I) to understand and accept but its a personal choice of hers...whew!

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  9. First and foremost,with all due respect I think Omotola does not understand the meaning of "gender equality" in effect she just said a man is a superior human being than a woman.Guess she was carried away as being seen as.a good submissive wife.I agree the man plays the role of the head in the family,that does not make him superio or. The wife inferior to him.like someone pointed out,the guy that plays the role of a captain in a football team is a player just like the guy on the bench.so I want to assume she does not know the meaning cos if she does she would not have said that.As per Chimamanda ,its no big deal.Mrs is a title given to a married woman if she does not want that included in her name its no biggie.It does not make her less or more a married woman .I'm a lawyer I don't like people including 'Barr" to my name,It does not change the fact that I passed my bar exams and called to bar.My uncle a titled chief prefers "Mr" to. Chief.The managing patner of the firm I served wants people to call him by his name alone so.....

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    Replies
    1. Thank you too Nwanneka,people make so much ado bout nothing...
      Just like a phd lecturer in my uni who nearly ate my head for not putting Dr to his name. *whatever floats ur boat*

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    2. My question is the reason behind this choice. Note that I am not against this, as I said above it is beyond me to question her choices. She stated, at the end of the interview "My point is that it is a new thing. Things are changing. We live in a world now where women have a right to bear the name they want.", to me this goes beyond mere choice but also introduces dimensions such as feminism and dare I say, a new world order (please do not let your mind wander as far as Illuminati.). If this is the case then it goes beyond it merely being her choice or *whatever floats ur boat*. In my opinion.

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    3. If its beyond you to question her choice,why then do u feel her decision " goes beyond it merely being her choice..."
      So far,her decision hasn't affected humanity and its existence so why shld I really be bothered with how she wants to be addressed? People need to understand there's no hidden motive behind personal decisions/choices

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    4. Well Sasha let's not generalize on hidden motives and people's personal decisions. That said, I don't think Chimamanda has hidden "motives".

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  10. Most of our stars are not well read.This Omotola's answer calls to mind the numerous interviews of some of our stars and the glaring realization that most of them are shallow compared to their counterparts abroad.recalling the interview genevieve did(I love genny) on her role in Chimamanda's "half of a yellow sun" movie I was ashamed on her behalf.like seriously if I get a call that I'm to speak abt somthn I won't sleep till I'v read everythn I can lay my hands on on that topic.yet she played a character in that movie and can't say much on the Biafra war.topics like gender equality,women traficking,child abuse,rape and other related topics should be something every female celebrity must be able to talk about at any time without prior notice.Seriously what do you guys think or is it me or am I expecting so much from our female celebrities.Listened to one of Lupita's speech in addition to her interviews and realised how shallow the likes of Omotola and the rest are.There are exceptions o,the likes of Joke.Biko when they are going for functions,inteviews do they just think of dress shoe and makeup????like seriously what exactly was genny thinking when she was preparing for that interview ???I'v read Achebe's book,chimamanda's and some stuff on Biafra in between,I was very disappointed watching that genny's interview.

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    1. Nwamaka I think it's pretty obvious that the priority of most nigerian celebrities is to rock the trendiest designer dresses and carry the new channel Lego bag and look as flawless as possible. No thought is given to what's on the inside, because it's the package that sells and for most adoring fans, it's the package that matters. This should be far from the case. (But really what do you expect from a country that has illiterates as legislators, is it our barely educated celebrities that you expect to be held to high standards? Genevieve is almost deplorable (for the lack of a better word) when it comes to interviews and I say this with love. Long before the interview you mentioned, I watched the one she had with CNN and I was embarrassed on her behalf. I cringed every other second. She was nervous, uneasily, inarticulate and at some points, simply clueless. She hardly had answers to any of the (easy) questions asked. She kept on shuffling and sounded so flat and unsure. It would make one who doesn't know who she is wonder why they are interviewing "this person". I don't expect our "celebrities" to be such great intellects but they should at least know something and have opinions on some topical issues, at the very least.

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    2. ...and speaking of Biafra,it still remains a part of our (Nig nd Igbo) history no matter how much we wanna be ignorant or silent bout it. I just wonder if and when the movie "half of a yellow sun" wld (ever) premier in Nigeria...

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    3. Thelma on Genny s interview I disagree with you, face facts everyone has a bout of nerves where the simplest question becomes a problem. That she is an actress in front of the screen doesn't mean that she doesn't get nervous. Think of it she was on CNN!! That's enough to make one uncomfortable knowing that the whole world is watching no do overs!! Most of the actresses abroad have coaches!am back in school for a second degree and I had to take a communications class! So imagine the kind of training the celebrities have

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    4. She was on CNN, exactly. Don't you think that was reason enough to come prepared and be calm and collected? The fact that you're on an international platform should incite you to appear your best, and it's certain that it wasn't an impromptu interview. I certainly understand nerves, she's human, but when you're not able to answer basic questions with a bit of intelligence and composure then one has to wonder why. When you're a public personality you should go the extra mile to add to value to yourself, come prepared, and do what it takes. She was on CNN and that was reason enough to (appear) to be in control. Just like Nwamaka said, you cannot tell me that you'll be questioning me on Sanusi tomorrow and I won't spend all night mentally and psychologically preparing myself. How much more a celebrity that's representing Nigeria on such a huge platform?

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  11. My dear...*sighs*

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  12. Lmao as Channel Lego Bag. I think its an individual thing they don't aspire to be more than they are at the moment.No matter how bad our educational system is Nwando,if I tell you this night that I'll be interviewing you on Sanusi's suspension you'll read up everything on that before the interview.In this internet age where you can educate yourself on almost everything there is no excuse.

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  13. I don't know what to make of Omotola's reply, seriously. She got married at 18, and according to her husband, she was fresh and untouched (or something along those lines). But Chimamanda's own completely stunned me. What the ??? What is her husband saying about this? I like her, really I do, but as much as I do, i beg to differ from her views. Anyways sha, she is married, and I'm sure she has her reasons for that. I really hope this her extreme feminism doesn't affect her marriage. Amen.

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