Eunice Atuejide is a presidential aspirant. Hopefully, she would contest under the platform of the National Interest Party. She is the founder of the party and also the Chairman. Eunice Atuejide is not a feminist. We know that because she said so.
She didn’t belittle feminists because somebody accused her of being one. But the way she sounded, you get the idea feminism was a very bad thing; something that is so bad it shouldn’t be associated with a presidential aspirant who had all their nuts screwed on properly.
Apparently, she wasn’t too happy that three male presidential aspirants had rubbed minds together on how to put up a united front against Nigeria’s political hegemony without inviting her. After all, she was also a new breed aspirant with a mission to change the status quo
The three male aspirants were Fela Durotoye, Kingsley Moghalu and Omoyele Sowore. Durotoye had tweeted the three of them holding hands and smiling like men do in a regular men’s club.
In two different tweets (she’d already deleted one) she went on a rant, apropos to nothing, that she wasn’t a feminist. Clearly, she thought her non-invitation to that meeting was a result of being perceived as one by the men.
And clearly too, she thought the men were not comfortable with hanging out with ‘feminists’. So she had to make that declaration so that any future parley would include her.
This sort of reductionism of whom or what is a feminist encapsulates the general outlook of Nigerians towards the issue.
Generally, most Nigerians don’t have time for a woman who has publicly declared herself a feminist. The concept to them is alien and strange and has no place in Nigerian culture.
To be sure, most women harbour the same view. Feminist, like gays, are an anathema to the cherished values of Nigeria.
Nigeria is a patriarchy. That is fact of life we don’t even try to obfuscate with fancy words. When President Buhari jokingly mentioned that his wife belonged to ‘the other room’, he was echoing the mindset of tens of millions of Nigerians males.
Forget the fact that many people, including men, criticized him for that. That is normal as it is now fashionable to take a shot at him even if he farts quietly. But, just like in religion, we are hypocritical when it comes to the issue if feminism.
Declaring herself a non-feminist was Atuejide wrong notion of ingratiating herself to the patriarchal culture of the nation. She was looking for acceptance by denying something that is basically a concept.
She missed the point big time. And that is why acclaimed feminists in the country are not happy with her.
Atuejide is very educated. She has several degrees in foreign universities and is a successful woman by any standard you wished to measure her by. She is so successful and confident in herself that she could vie for the presidency of a country like Nigeria.
Some decades ago, these ‘achievements’ in education and the workplace that she takes for granted wouldn’t have been a possibility. Not just in Nigeria, but all over the world.
The inequality of the sexes is a real thing. That is what the feminist movement is all about: how to break down the social and cultural barriers preventing women from fulfilling their potentials.
But for the tireless work of feminist around the world especially in Western countries, the best women would aspire for outside the kitchen (and the other room) is a minor secretariat job. Men did not take them seriously enough to entrust them with important tasks.
Feminists are simply fighting entrenched discrimination based on sex.
Many men wouldn’t understand this because they are not women. They point to people like Eunice Atuejide and claim there is no discrimination against women.
It is the same as putting Obama on a pedestal to show that racism no longer exists in America. Blacks know it is patently false but whites who use that crutch find that puzzling. Why won’t they? They have never experienced what it means to live as a black man in a society articulated by whites to benefit white folks.
People like Chimamanda Adichie (Nigerian men dislike her thoroughly because of her feminist views) are not saying women should be recognized as superior to men, they simply want to be treated the same. Level playing field anyone?
As a man, you would never know the challenges women go through socially and in the workplace. For them, it is always a constant battle to prove they are more than what lies between their legs.
It is good for prominent women like Atuejide and Adichie, who had had the benefits of feminist gains to continue the fight for the sake of other women.
The unending battles against patriarchy, culture, and religion (yes, religion is one of the biggest weapons against women) are always dealt a fatal blow when women like Atuejide publicly denounce feminism.
Atuejide should have kept quiet if she had no idea what feminism is. That would have been exceedingly better. At the moment, she can’t be trusted to lead a nation if such a simple, straightforward concept eludes her understanding.
Or perhaps, she really understands what it is all about. Perhaps, she understands the terrain completely and wanted to massage the ego of the society she is forced to work in.
Whatever it is, she should have kept her mouth shut.