I have been looking for the right opportunity to rant on an issue that has been bothering me since my adult life. And just recently, a double celebrity social media beef seems to have presented the most opportune time. I came back from church on Sunday and as my job demands, I went on social media to get updated on issues making the news.
For those who are still late on the Wizkid-Linda Ikeji beef, get acquainted (http://www.lindaikejisblog.com/2016/04/oh-wizkidwhat-child-my-response-hehe.html) , for I have no interest in the factual basis on the report by Linda on the state of Wizkid’s apartment. I just want to comment on a trend in much of our African society.
A picture circulating on social media captures Wizkid’s rant on Linda’s report. In summation, he practically reduced an otherwise clarification opportunity into a baseless slut-shaming post. We have seen men of all ages and caliber slut-shame women for no apparent reason. I have no issue with this but that most men, by default, live with this sense of entitlement that reduces women to nothing but for their personal pleasure goals, so that if you are of no use to him pleasure-wise, you should be of no use to any other man (pleasure-wise).
Almost every girl who grows up in our society has had her own share of this. You are walking on the street, a man hisses at you, you decline his invitation and the next moment, a man who was literally hailing you as “princess” a minute ago switches to call you an Ashawo, and every unpleasant sexually related stigma women have been socialized into avoiding. Overtime, we have watched these young boys grow up into these petty, bitter adults and nothing seems to be changing that. Specifically with this issue, here are my concerns…
1. Why do some African men think the highest form of insult to give a woman is to call her an Ashawo (Prostitute/Slut) or insinuate that she is one? That a man I know from nowhere, and has no direct bearing on my livelihood calls me an Ashawo and at that instant, everything I have worked for and earned on my CV must come tumbling down.
2. That society still holds fully-accomplished women to a marriage yardstick so that instead of acknowledging and celebrating the social, political and academic achievements of women (like we do to men) we still hold and tie their “essence” to the presence of a man (any man for that matter) in her life. To wit, that a woman is incomplete until she has someone she calls a husband.
3. That any man can pull the Ashawo trigger despite his own shortcomings, so that Wizkid at the age of 25, who has two kids with two different women finds it legitimate to call Linda Ikeji “a bitch” and insinuate that she is an Ashawo.
4. In 2016, most African men are yet to grasp that there are indeed women who are liberated and independent in any sense: physically, financially and sexually.
5. Why do some African men reduce every issue/beef with a woman to her sexual history? When will our boys grow up?
In all of this, there are some women who unfortunately equally play by this rule. Sometimes, they are even the first ones to call out an unmarried or childless woman in any circumstance. Can we first have a united women’s front to combat sexism, while our men begin lessons in argumentation to avoid the “ad hominen” fallacy they keep falling into? After all, having logical arguments on the issues at hand cannot be too much to ask for.
It is imperative for men (and society) to deal with their insecurities and discomfort around self-made women who are genuinely happy with their single lives. This is clearly a sexual politics and it needs to be addressed as that! When did sex become a man’s business only? Why do men find slut-shaming as the only way possible to bring a woman down?
And why have we accepted it to be so?
Efe Plange is founder and editor of Sankofa Reviews. She is a Graduate Teaching Instructor, and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Rhetoric and Technical Communication at Michigan Technological University. She is passionate about the Arts and Cultural industry and her background in the field is fueled by a longstanding dream of seeing theory work together with practice. Connect with Efe on social media.
Source: Efe Plange