Why being a lady in Nigeria is not easy.

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By Nelson Paul-Akhabue.

I know it is often said that to be a man is not easy and of course it is not. But really, is being a woman (especially a Nigerian woman) any easier? I think not. From informed observations and empathetic experiences, I have identified below, five simple and almost basic modes of challenges Nigerian ladies experience.
I approach from what I consider the least serious to the most serious.

1. If you’re fair skinned and beautiful many folks fear you may possess negative spiritual vibrations. All that grammar is just me trying to sound like my mystic friends. But I’m sure you know what I mean? I remember back then in our undergraduate days some of my friends were very wary of flashy ‘yellow’ girls. A friend/classmate once took such a girl home to his boys’ quarters where she spent the night. The next morning after she was gone, his very ‘spiritual’ mother called him to the main house and sternly instructed him not to have any more to do with her.
This is still a thought in the hearts of a lot of men concerning certain ladies they encounter even if they may never say it, because really it sounds pretty cheesy.

2. If you’re rich and successful many folks (especially men) think you must have slept your way there. Just as many still consider that men with great wealth must have played dirty along the way, so also do a lot of folks ascribe the successes of a lady (even when she’s obviously brilliant) to the power of the bottom, better known as bottom power.
It’s just the way we are. Our default is to think the worst about people who have something we want. If you are not that way, then you probably have reset your default by training your mind.

3. If you’re over 30 and unmarried, many men want to do you a favor… Many of us men may deny it perhaps because we do not often set out to manipulate and exploit such women, but we in fact do it. Here’s the thing, a man approaches a woman of that age (especially in church) and asks her into a relationship, his lips spilling ‘marriage’ at every turn. He is decent (at least he appears so), and has a job. But deep within him he feels he is doing the woman a favor by dating her; after all, she’s an emergency case. She should be glad he is with her when he could be with someone much younger. The lady, oblivious of these innermost thoughts of the man, thinks God has finally answered her prayers. But then six months- no, three months later, we find her bitter and devastated. Brother has bounced, taking a piece of her heart and ‘body’ with him. Painful, right? It happens every day. Just look around.

4. They may ignore it in your man but for you, infidelity is abominable and unpardonable. I was at a wedding reception a few hours ago and in a conversation I had with a dude, we got talking about his lack of trust for his girl because of something she did. I playfully asked him if he wasn’t guilty of the same and here is what he said: ‘She has never caught me. And then, I’m a guy. You know on the average girls tend to be more faithful.’ He was right. I mean he was right about our society’s double standards around the issue of infidelity which is very unfavorable to women. But we all know the truth. Infidelity hurts both ways and it isn’t cool. Not for women. And definitely not for men.

5. If you’re abused, you may have to chin up and take it like a woman…in silence. We’ve all heard stories of young girls who have been (many still are) sexually violated by fathers and other relatives. How many of these incidents are even ever reported, much less dealt with legally? Not many, if any at all. How many cases of date rapes or rapes within marriages are ever heard about? It’s not because the victims will rather suffer in silence. Their silence is the consequence of a society that is rigged unfairly towards women particularly on sexual issues such as this.

And even as I approach my final full stop I know there are several other challenges peculiar to the Nigerian lady that you wish I had written here. You can have your say right away. Leave a comment.

Nelson Paul-Akhabue is a trained philosopher and Nollywood screenwriter with deep interests in spirituality, romance and entertainment. You can read more of his articles at www.fitphysiqspirit.blogspot.com. Follow him on twitter @NelP_Akhabue

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