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Woman, The Second Class Citizen.




This is in no way novel. I've written about it before. Kemi Adetiba once penned a similar rant. Many a woman certainly have written something similar in a fit of rage. And if you haven't written about it, at least you've experienced it, if you're female in Nigeria. 

Last night my friend called me up and asked if I want to accompany him to a birthday party. I had other plans but I hadn't seen said friend in a while and the party venue was somewhere I'd always wanted to visit so I asked him to come and get me. On getting there we had difficulty finding a place to park, the only slot was really tiny and would require focus and expertise to squeeze into. My friend who had already been partying had the expertise but lacked focus. Well, I had both so I offered to do the parking which he gladly thanked me for, put the car in Park and handed me the keys. We both stepped out of the car so that I could take the driver-seat, and then I heard them guffaw, "Nawa o, why him go give woman key to drive". "Wetin woman sabi do? Him nor no say that woman no sabi drive?" "This one go just scratch him car".  

I ignored them. 

As we walked into the party, and when we walked out, I noticed that all the staff; parking lot attendants, ushers, waiters/waitresses, greeted him. Nobody greeted me, not one. Now bear in my mind that in size I'm more conspicuous than this male, for all they knew I was probably older too, still I was insignificant. What I also noticed, which really bothered me, was that even the female attendants failed to acknowledge me, while being excessively genial to him. This is really worrying. If men treat women like fixtures, it's sad but not unexpected. But when a fellow woman does same? Now that's pathetic. 

We left the party and went to Cubana. I'd had this chicken there a few days ago and I was dying to have it one more time, there's NOTHING like it in Lagos. On getting there I needed to alight from the car before my friend could park, otherwise I wouldn't be able to after he did. As it was drizzling I went and stood under a shed just beside the bouncers. When my friend approached the gate, I walked to the gate from where I'd been standing beside the bouncers and tapped one of them, asking for passage. He turned and looked at me. "Where you wan go? No entrance. The place don full!" He said gruffly, immediately turning his attention to something else. 

I stood there staring, a frown already forming on my face, I'd done nothing to deserve being spoken to that way. "Oya open your bag!" Another one ordered, this is standard procedure so I handed him my bag but still not smiling, because I was still being barked at. 

"Why you dey squeeze face? Oya go house, no entrance. Dey go!" another one said in my face, and then I blew my fuse. 

"What rubbish? What are you saying to me?" I shrieked. 

"I say you no dey enter. Dey go!"

"Are you ok? Is there something wrong with you?" I asked. 

"She's with me. She's with me" my friend quickly cuts in. Immediately the bouncers make way for me to pass, without even checking my bag. But I wasn't having it, I faced the other bouncer squarely and asked. 

"Wetin you been dey talk? Say am again make I hear"

"I say you no go enter because you dey frown", this, he still barked at me, as though that was a really legitimate reason to deny someone entrance into a lounge. 

"Is it my face I'm frowning or your own? What if I want to frown my face?"

"Madam but why you dey frown? Na because you dey frown we say you no go enter. Oya Oga say na una two follow come, make you enter" another said, placatingly. 

"What that actual fuck? Oh. Because a man has come to claim me, you people now want me to enter? You people can now talk to me like a human being abi? Before I couldn't enter because I was frowning?" I was still pissed. 

"Madam sorry nau" one said, not necessarily apologetic but because I was causing a scene. 

"Woman. Abeg carry your wahala dey go! Women, una too get wahalaThe other one barked. 

"No, I'm not going anywhere until you tell me how whether I smile or I frown is you people's business"

They saw their manager (I think) approach and then began to apologize, my friend was also tugging at me, trying to cajole me so we could go in. 

"Nawa o! So those ordinary bouncers can make you this angry" he said teasingly when we were finally seated. 

"That's not the point, it's not the bouncers, it's the principle. But I don't expect you to understand, you're a man. Maybe one day if you have a daughter she would explain it to you better; what it feels like to be treated like a second class citizen". 


So like I said there's nothing new here. This has happened to me before and most of us, in one form or the other. Isn't it sad that it's almost shocking when I go somewhere alone and I'm treated with courtesy. I mean, I should be treated with courtesy, I'm a paying customer. But it's rare that it's shown to me when I don't have a man on my side, whether I'm the one paying or not. 

Speaking of payment, last night I tipped the waitress that attended to us. I love to appreciate people who manage to smile under pressure. So when we were leaving, I, on my own volition, reached into my wallet and took a crisp 500 Naira note and handed it to the waitress. And collecting it, she turned to my friend and thanked him. How surreal is that?

Equality between man and woman is a concept that might never actualize, but I pray that a day will come when women would be almost equal to men. A day when I don't hear news of a man scratching a woman's car and insisting she call her husband on the phone so that they can talk, because he cannot talk to a woman. A day when I don't need to work twice as hard to get half the respect accorded to a male counterpart. A day when I, being female, is treated better than a second class citizen. 

Do you think that day could ever come?  

Comments

  1. It wouldn't never come, that day would never, maybe in the next world, but in this, never because this whole thing started from the Bible. As long as it exist and the Bible supports it then no story. Good morning house.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Maybel, I was about to say the same thing, This whole thing started from the Bible.

      Delete
  2. It's been so from the days of old, biblical times boo, let me let me defend the lady that saw u as a fixture, she probably did that because in her experience working as an usher, women have probably been the nastiest to her, ask around, women don't know how to handle success and being in a position of small power, then for the lady that thanked ur date when u gave her the tip, she probably doesn't know better, maybe that's all she sees from where she is from, women being the shadows and men being the pillar. Now this is just an honest opinion on a good Sunday morning, with Holy Spirit in my head without trying to sound annoying.

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    1. Lol@ holy spirit in my head without sounding annoying. Okay now

      Delete
  3. I would have collected my tip back from the waitress!! Arrant nonsense. It's a pity they have found it difficult to move into the present century. Women are not or should they ever have been second class citizens. It's sad when your fellow women have that mentality and persist in dragging you down. God dey

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  4. I slapped a man in traffic who hit my car and asked for my husband. Then I called Mopol to come and handle it and I drove off telling him "there's my husband".

    Truth is this thing is not just Nigerians that do it, it is far more common. My husband has gotten to the point he humiliates people by making sure they interact with me. The likes of waiters etc...he tells them to bring the bills to me since I am the one carrying our money. It throws them off balance.

    www.pynk360.com

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    Replies
    1. Wait o. So this thing is real? A man hits a lady's car and instead of apologizing to her, asks for her husband? Hahaha. This is the 2nd time I'm reading about this. I be correct JJC...

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    2. Last year, I hit a woman's car and she asked me the same question.

      There's also the discrimination on marital status not just gender.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I left a budding relationship that might have gone somewhere because of this issue. He won't accord me respect because I am a woman. Can't say certain words coz I am a woman and so many other examples. When I give my opinion, I am being disrespectful, funny thing is I never did raise my voice, never insulted him, deferred to him on many occasions but on the days I assert myself, I am being disrespectful. Will this issue end! Maybe not in our generation, the good thing though is we are no longer docile and just accept it as our fate, we are questioning this things and more people are becoming aware and conscious of it. That's a good step in the right direction

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  7. It's a lie, if you see the long tin I typed ehn and it vanished. Well as I can't type it again I'll just apologize to women on behalf of humanity. Sorry

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  8. Women will always be the source of other women's criticism and downfall. Men are wired to support each other. Women.....well, we are wired to compete... especially with each other. And majority of us are nasty when we feel threatened.

    I go with Mrs Fab....I would have politely collected my tip back. That will teach her next time to thank the hand the tip is coming from. Some people just don't have common sense....as common as it is.

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  9. I have not experienced this issues before, but when and if it happens, I sure won't keep mute.

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  10. Hahahaha....steele pele I feel your pain. So funny

    Some peoples brain needs to be reset back to default setting...at least women are beginning to speak out against it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would have collected my tip jejely. Let me even pour out my rant o with this annoying men. That's how one day I decided to retrieve my Mtn sim, but on the way to do that I bought food first. On a norm I frown but that day I was nice w particularly tired as I had walk round Lagos so the frown was deeper. That's how my bobo customer service said, 'orobo, is it because of your food you're now frowning'. I took it p with him. A customer relations officer has no business commenting about my weight. This guy wouldn't even apologize and when it looked like I was going to tear down the place he started grumbling. Like he has my age mates as his younger sisters at home. It was even the other girl that was now apologizing on his behalf. Stupid arrogant egoistic men that wouldn't do their job well . acting like because they're men they can just run their mouth anyhow. God help the guy that would ask for my husband when he hits my car. Mtcheew..

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  12. Its the same reason why a young guy can have galfrnds but its unaccepted for girls nd dey suddenly expect you to get married, to whom if I may ask. It is well with this our country o.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I havent really paid attention to this, maybe its cos I go out alone most times. Attendants can be rude, both male and female, if I have the time and energy, I will give them a piece of my mind before leaving but if I dont, I'll just walk away telling myself they're probably frustrated.

    But the day I read that woman in traffic story ehn, I was livid! I think I even took my anger out on one of my male colleagues sef..lol. The one that the woman was crying, me? cry? For what na? The guy will see crazy right there and then! I dont think I have liver to slap a man but I have family friends in high places and that my DPO ore who also happens to be a woman will most definitely teach him respect that day. How will you bash someone's car and then go ahead to disrespect them!? Simply because you have a pole dangling between ur legs... that man will surely know whats up that day, rubbish and nonsense!

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  14. I think this really happens in Nigeria a lot, a couple of times i ask my colleagues when i visit from Accra, where have your people left their African manners,. At the airport, at restaurants, the cap driver i can go on and on and on.

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  15. Nigeria must be a very difficult place to live in for women. I know it's an African thing but it seems worse for you guys. I have had issues before but I no one has ever stopped me from entering a public place. Can I blame the behaviour of those guards on illiteracy and backwardness?

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  16. I tend to stay away from a lot of places to avoid embarrassment from bouncers, I go out when I'm with my brother or male friends, they seem more relaxed. I've heard about the craziness that goes on at GATP so i always make a mental note to end up there anytime I'm out.
    I think some Nigerian men are just rude, I was verbally assualted by a Senior Advocate of the Federal Republic in Surulere. I was going to the Adeniran Ogunsanya mall, it was in the evening and I was not i the mood to queue for hours so I decided to park on the street and pay double the fee. While I was parking a car stopped beside me and I thought he was just trying to make enough space to park in the spot behind me and the next thing I know he started with the insults.
    HIs reason I was driving recklessly and if you how cars turn into streets, reversing out of shops and keke napep drivers. So i was trying to avoid them and that was what he called reckless driving. My dad is a member of the House of Rep or should so I have a government plate number to stop police from hassling me, The man kept on commenting about me been a no body and how i had no right to having the plate number, my dad was in the house for 16 years and a well known politician in our constutuency. But i felt he didnt need the explanation as he indirectly called me a prostitue as kept going on about where i got the car from, that it was from a man who and i had no right to it. The touts on the streets kept telling him calm down and i found out he is a lawyer since they called him the Law and one later explianed he is a SAN . He threatned to threat my F up , when i got tired of him, Iocked my car and walked off .If a man with such positon in society reactes in such manner what do you expect from bouncers and waiter. Sorry for the long comment and typo's, since I've been away for so long I thought I would come back with a bang.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome back! We're glad to you...

      Delete

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