I am often referred to as being ‘too westernised’. I have lost my Nigerian roots and therefore need to reacquaint myself with my roots and culture.
Generally, statements like this wouldn’t bother me. However, in this particular case, it did. The last time I was referred to as being westernised was during a discussion about marriage. Basically, I had complained about the lack of consideration that I sometimes noticed in Nigerian marriages and I was making it clear that I was not going to stand for it. I gave a clear example of how husbands inevitably treat their wives as slaves. I’m not saying all Nigerian men do it, but it is definitely something that the culture encourages. The woman’s job is to keep the home and the man’s job is to bring money into the home. And this is taken as the norm regardless of what the situation is.
This might have worked in our parent’s age, when the man worked and the women were housewives or as I like to call it now, ‘domestic engineers’. But in these times, when both the man and woman work or the woman is the breadwinner, are we still suppose to stick to the old mantra? The response I got back should not have surprised me, but it did. It surprised and angered me. To summarise it, I was told that I needed to go read about women in the past and study how they lived their lives. A woman’s role was to take care of the house and her husband and she should be happy doing it regardless of the situation.
I’m sorry, but no. I want to make it clear that I have no problem taking care of our home. I have absolutely no problem taking care of my man either. In fact, it will give me great pleasure doing it. However, I don’t see how asking for your partner’s consideration is westernised. It isn’t just my home, it is OUR home. In a situation where the man isn’t working, he still expects her to come home after work to make pounded yam and efo for him. The efo is in the fridge, processed pounded yam is there, why can’t he boil water and make food for himself or even better, for the both of them. Why does she have to come home and do all that? It is acceptable for him to sit in the house and do nothing all day, and still, wait for his wife to come home and wait on him. Because he is the head of the house. Lies. That’s not marriage. It’s slavery and I’m not interested.
I don’t understand how a person can claim to love another person, while putting them in constant discomfort. If a person truly cares about you, they should want to make things easier for you, not more difficult. And sometimes making things easier, isn’t about giving me money to cook. Sometimes, it is about picking up the hoover and hoovering. Sometimes, it is about cooking a meal because I am wrecked. Sometimes, it is about cleaning the bathroom. Sometimes, it is about attending to the crying baby, rather than passing the child to me (why can’t you change the nappy? it takes two to tango!). Sometimes, it is about letting me sleep in on a Saturday morning. I don’t care what culture says, times have changed.
Sometimes our roles in the home changes. When it does, what worked before might not work as well anymore. Sometimes, couples need to go back to the drawing board and find something else that works for everyone. I don’t see this happening in a lot of Nigerian marriages. I see a lot of unhappy and tired women. For me, it is a problem. One that I am not willing to get myself into.
Till next time