[NB: This post is perceived as seen in the African setting, particularly the Nigerian socio cultural environment
It is no longer news that times have changed and that not many people have adapted to this change. As humans the earlier we recognize this change and quickly adapt, the better for everyone. For the sake of this post, we would try to evaluate what womanhood was and what it is now. We would be looking at three major Era’s, at least to the best of how I know or have experienced it, the 80’s, the 90’s and the present.
The girl child in the 80’s: The girl child in the 80’s was as innocent as they come, they were taught to close their eyes whenever a racy scene was shown in a movie. This girl child was so upright that even in the absence of her parents, she would still close her eyes when such a scene was on and that of her younger ones or else “she will tell mummy for you” and you know what that meant. They had plenty games like suwe and ten ten etc.
The girl child in the 90’s: This girl is a little more exposed and is not as innocent as the former, she knows what romance is but knows that romance is for adults only. She hasn’t only seen romance on TV but she has also seen it in real life, when uncle Bleep came to visit aunty yyy and gave her lollipop and Fanta not to tell mummy, and aunty yyy is always watching movies with all this romance scenes and would always utter words like am missing my “sugar” (the word back in the days before the advent of “baby”) so she had seen all this before but instead of stern warnings not to try them with grave consequences from aunty instead she gets a bribe to keep quiet. She re-invents suwe and ten ten to mummy and daddy play. I needn’t explain what mummy and daddy is; many of us were partakers in this game and everybody wanted to be mummy and daddy (winking).
The girl child at present: This girl is from the information age, now there are mobile phones, internet, cable TV and even computers at her disposal. She is not that naive girl from the 90’s there is simply too much at her disposal for anything to be hidden, she knows everything and can even educate her parents. She is crushing on boys already knows what a six packs is and knows that sex is a pleasing experience without even tasting it, she knows that uncle Bleep doesn’t just date aunty yyy but also aunty xyx ,aunty abc and aunty yyx and is also checking out aunty dcx. Armed with this knowledge she moves into the next stage of her life.
The adolescent girl of the 80’s: As a result of the absence of technology and plenty of information this girl is armed with the knowledge of the “girl child at the present”. She has seen Aunty Bleep cry a couple of times because Uncle Bleep left her, and went after Aunty xxy which he also left so she is armed with the fact that love is fictitious. She has also seen that the man is the head of the family, as she notices that daddy is the one who really goes out very early and comes back home late, when the fees are late, mummy will say ‘let’s pray that daddy gets money’ even though mummy works. It all seemed like daddy dictated what happens in the home and his words were law and once mummy had to use the phrase ‘I will tell your daddy when he comes back’ it spelt doom. Every major decision was daddy’s to make.
The adolescent girl of the 90’s: Is armed with all of the former and has learnt to flirt, she is aware of her hormones, she is self-conscious and has started watching what she wears and how she carries herself. Due to the training of the mothers of those days, they had much time on their hands to notice their daughters’ new carriage and they quickly tell her the old time fable “ at this age if a man touches you, you’ll get pregnant “. This singular belief keeps her in check with promises of ‘if you get pregnant you will stop schooling’.
The adolescent girl at present: This advanced young lady is armed with knowledge that can create a nuclear warhead just by owning a device called a mobile phone. Don’t get me wrong; this is not to fault the mobile phone, just saying this for enlightenment sake. She can read up on the fables of pregnancy, she is self-conscious and can advertise herself to the world from where she is seated in the corner of her room. The only kind of play she knows is called pre-intimacy and the word play in any language you put it is sexual in nature to the best of her knowledge. She disconnects the meaning of female empowerment to mean freedom of a woman to do whatever pleases her, she subconsciously becomes an advocate for feminism and knows that men come and go. So she constantly dates different guys with no remorse, more and more guys praise her with one sole objective. She meets men of different strata of the society and soon she starts to wonder why her father and mother treat her like she is some little girl, after all she is dating their age mates or close, and gets more money than they give her. Therefore she becomes rude and unruly.
The woman of the 80’s: Let’s assume she is married and has kids, just like she has been taught to know/think that the man is the head of the house. She is very hard working domestically and is probably a house wife, or has a shop that doesn’t take all her time. She is fully infused into the lives of her kids and is present at almost every important moment, prays for her husband to bring home the earnings and while the husband fights for the family’s livelihood, she defends the home front. Her husband is King and is treated as such, hot homemade meals and personal efforts are made to make him feel welcomed, in critical decisions her’s is just an opinion while the man’s decision is final.
The woman of the 90’s: At this critical time in history this woman wasn’t so much different from the woman of the 80’s. Due to the fact that technology of the two time periods weren’t so different. However the woman of the 90’s had more media exposure and had started to become more ambitious, the emergence of women like Margret Thatcher had emboldened them and had they had started chasing their careers at the expense of the family. The jobs made them men and the man had started feeling some kind of insecurity, however the society still kept many top roles for the men relegating women to the bottom of the career chain.
At this point we have to quickly remember the title of this post “The modern woman” this is where all the emphasis would be made, for this section we would look at what the modern woman should be, and what she is .
The modern woman now: Well looking back at history we can simply say this woman has come a long way from her growth. We shouldn’t quickly forget that the modern woman is that little girl of the late 80’s and the adolescent of the 90’s. Confronted with all the technology of the present time, she feels like she missed out on something, like she didn’t have enough fun like the modern adolescent and is forced to try to make-up for the days she thinks she missed. However confronted by the economic realities and evolution she is forced to be a career woman with little or no time to have fun as social functions take up the weekends but she now has technology at her disposal and that in itself helps her advertise herself from the corners of her office. She starts to meet up with different kind of men that soon make her see her husband as incapable in so many areas, besides she earns her own pay and feels a sense of independence. When it comes to decision making she wants to be heard first, after all her numerous toasters out there who are more capable than her husband in many aspects always give her prominence when she speaks so who is this man that won’t listen?
Soon the children who are supposed to be her biological responsibility are shifted to the man because she brings in a portion of the income then she says the house chores should also be shared equally. Once the man starts to challenge her stand she tells the man he can bite the dust and the marriage comes crashing because of her numerous suitors and her celebrated achievements in the office.
The modern woman as should be [/I]: I must make mention here that the views expressed here aren’t mine but that of a lot of men out there .Economic times have made it imperative for the female folk to assist in making a living and so the woman is mostly a working woman. The modern man as a result of technology is exposed to a lot of women, and thinks that cheating is his birth right and that the modern woman should accept him because according to him, ‘it’s no fault of his’. These women keep throwing themselves at him and he can’t seem to fight it, however he wants his wife to remain faithful as long as he doesn’t bring the concubine home. The modern man also wants his wife to be the biggest career woman celebrated all over the world and still earn under him, he wants to come home after she does and gets served his meal hot and be welcomed like he saw he parents did in the 80’s. He wants her to take time out to listen to the children and their needs, be there when they need help and still submit her salary to him when she gets paid, he wants to dictate what she can wear, eat and who she can see and call, while he can do anything, after all he is the head of the house. He wants his word to be law, sometimes he feels he is doing her a favor by remaining in the marriage because of the numerous girls chasing him, and with time if she can’t make him Emperor Supreme and cannot submit to the above laws, he ends the marriage.
[I]The modern woman, my view: Well since women have started achieving feats as men have, and have started having a fair share of contributing to the family finance its only fair that the law of “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal” comes to play. In this context the man still remains the head of the house as ‘the more equal animal’. I think marriages shouldn’t just be on the assumption that everybody’s roles are clearly defined. I think every marriage should become unique and should be clearly defined before going into the institution.
Let’s face it, today marriages have become an organized arrangement where two people live under a common roof irrespective of what happens under such a roof. Successful marriages are just the ones who remain together irrespective of what happens under such roof. Times have changed and so has everything including the institution called marriage, the emergence of technology and economic times can never bring back the institution of marriage to the period where everyone assumed to have natural roles. I think a man and a woman should clearly define what they want from their marriage and even have something like a partnership deed that helps govern the do’s and don’ts, instead of all the disguised organizations under a common roof.
Nowadays a man and another man can live under same roof and still call it marriage and there are even people here in Africa calling for this kind of marriage.
I think until couples can clearly define what they want from the marriage, divorce will continually prevail.
Gospel of the Anthill by the Antman.