Annie Idibia And The Philosophy Of Feminism By Joy Isi Bewaji

18 min read

There’s a certain kind of praise for lazy writing. People hate to think, hate to read. In Nigeria, we see this behaviour in religion mostly. There’s a book to read on how to walk the path to salvation, yet people would rather hear it from a man on the pulpit who manages to insert his personal philosophies.

“It is a long and narrow road, yes, but don’t forget to buy some olive oil along the way to enrich my pocket- I sell in gallons- else you may not have enough grace, which is in short supply, to meet your saviour.”
We take our lazy thinking and aggravate self, family and society. Nobody questions. We accept whatever we get, because it is so damn hard to think for self.

It is probably why poverty persists; why pastors can get a congregation of sometimes intelligent people with impressive CVs good enough to clinch jobs at Schlumberger to eat grass, swallow snakes, or endure the pain of the man’s shoes on their backs.
We do not like to think, to question, to change. It is an African communal malfunction that we pass from generation to generation.
Ask the University student studying petroleum engineering about the narratives around her space. It is the same narrative we heard growing up. The same narrative our mothers shared. The same narrative stretching back to decades of stiff culture that should be reviewed…

“Why do you want to study a male course? Can you survive?”
But who amongst a people will make the effort to ask the right questions? In certain societies, when women interrogate traditions and social stereotypes, they are stoned.

It is a lot of work to think differently…actually, it is not. It only appears that way. People get uncomfortable.
Whether we accept it or not, society brandishes gender scripts. How we respond determines the labels we get.
One of the gender scripts for the woman is to be a wife- a longsuffering, subservient, quiet, resigned, self-denying, self-deprecating individual. Half the time denial is comfort. So let us not push this narrative too far.

However, if you decide to step out of the box to define your own ambitions; to define self… there will be the constant reminder that you are not in any position to place any value on yourself, to personalize your pursuits, to dignify self, to find your own happiness away from the script that society has for you- there you must fulfil all purpose. It tells you to find happiness and fulfilment within its tenets, else your happiness is no happiness at all.
It is on this foundation that Chukwudi Iwuchukwu must have written his Annie Idibia piece.  A slice of bad PR that does more harm than good for the actress. Six sentences long, saddled with the trouble of comparing oranges and apples.
There is good in Annie Idibia, I am sure; but when deficient PR meets abysmal writing, the consequences are dire.
Chukwudi is not a writer, he is a Nigerian blogger. Half the time his job is to source for news from another source that sourced from another; he replicates news. It’s the system here in Nigeria. Sometimes plagiarism is involved.

In essence, it would be suicidal to expect his writing to smell like roses, or expect any meaningful or beautiful sentences from him.
The world will pardon him easily. Look the other way and brand him an imbecile- from an intellectual perspective; or a “trending” machine that can loiter for straight 48 hours.
Chukwudi is happy his piece on Annie “trended”; I’m just worried that we let individuals like these go on without proper schooling or un-learning.

Our young girls and boys have access to the internet, some as young as seven. They are going to read that drivel of a piece on how Annie Idibia is a better human being to society than Feminists, and believe it.
For that reason, I will respond.

There is still the issue of our social studies textbooks teaching students that: ‘women sit at home and clean the house and men go to work’. We have to let our children write that mess just so an over-zealous teacher does not look at the child and tell her that her home is skewed because her mother likes to work too; sometimes even harder than her father.

If your thoughts remain in your head, it affects fewer people. But when you put it out on social media, surely you must allow for the occasion of critiquing – the anti-feminism thunderstorm on social media regardless:

In a *sic* age and time, feminism movement preach the message that any man that cheats or has a mistress outside his matrimonial home should be kicked out, it is heartwarming to see Annie Idibia standing tall and cozying up to her husband on a *sic* live TV inspite of his horrendous past.

Feminism does not insist you leave a cheating partner, common sense does. Not because of any high moral grounds, but for the fear of life itself. These sexually transmitted diseases are real. Society will only celebrate the living; to be ravaged by a disease transmitted by a cheating partner is one of the most heartbreaking episodes of life. The same society that applauds you for sticking with a cheating man or woman, is the same society that will throw you under a bus for daring to contact any disease. This clearly boils down to personal choice. But we shouldn’t badger women or praise anyone for sticking with cheating partners.

For those who dont know, Tuface has 7 kids from three women and this not withstanding, Annie is Tuface’s Rock Of Gibraltar and first love. She is still with him and will be forever.

The pressure of forever is a cultural burden. A golden jubilee, for instance, is fine; but in those years did you achieve the goals you aimed for? Was it society’s script you adhered to; were you happy with the result? Did you find self and purpose? Our mothers were largely unhappy, they gathered at salons and market corners to talk bitterly about their spouses, but many of them stayed. Of course, it is not Annie’s “portion”, but this piece is beyond one woman finally clinching a man. Young vulnerable girls will read this and insist it is ok for men to misbehave; not every man is Tu face, some of them are May D. They’ll beat you up and provide little for baby mama and baby.

I used to work for an*sic*  PR organization that has Annie Idibia as a client so I know some of her stories with Tuface but she ignored all that, chose to stand with her man no matter what the world thinks of her The lesson is simple: Don’t allow society, feminist movement or social media dictates to you how to run your marriage. Choose what makes you happy and run with it as a lady. Though there is a limit you can tolerate from your man but dont be influenced by feminism movement , society and what you read on social media I dont think I will cheat on my wife, not because I wont want to but I believe in monogamy, that is the way I saw myself, I’m wired like that but for those men who choose to keep mistress outside their home, I will never judge them.

Oh dear! Feminism is not about keeping a man. It is not about salted plantain and marriage proposals. The stage of feminism we still are in Africa is a dangerous stage. Other societies have moved on to economic, political, technological empowerment of women. Beyond the symbolic presence of certain women in position, our culture still tackles subjugation of women in the basest of form- who will cook for the man, who will scrub the floor, who will agonize over my philandering, who will bear me a male child, who will… all in the domestic front. This is more than your domestic needs; feminism is a push behind the girl child, a motivation to strive and not be made to feel inadequate for denying traditions and certain social stereotypes that try to place boundaries for girls.

Annie Idibia *sic* story with Tuface is a study in perseverance, seeing her watching her husband performs *sic* on TV with this proud look written all over her face just made my night  A person that will accept you for all your flaws and love you regardless. Such people exist, Annie is an example…

This reduces Annie to an appendage of sort. That she was born for this purpose- to be wife to Tuface. It is a good thing to forgive, to stick with your decisions, to bear whatever pain you think you can carry…but to believe that this is the height of a woman’s achievement is what makes this entire bunk unnecessary.

The writer made no attempt to research on Feminism. It pleased him to wrap a movement around a woman that is happy being who she is as much as the next woman is- who strives for her own happiness. Yes, Annie might be happy with life, but so is the next woman- a Feminist, probably teaching Yoruba in America, and enjoying an academic pursuit with a scholarship.

The ‘good wife’ is the only narrative we have in Africa. Now, we want to promote other stories: the brilliant female engineer, the incorrigible female politician, the remarkable hotelier, the exceptional lawyer. That is the new narrative, while at the background they can decide to own a nuclear family or not.

As tiring as it may seem to bandy words with this fellow, it is necessary. Let us curtail stupidity.

It is unacceptable for us to continue to allow society make one gulp of opinion on women. Let our young girls grow up without the need to fit in, let them find their own purpose, and let it be enough.

Surely, there’s got to be a way to talk about Hollywood, for instance, without drawing comparison between Pamela Anderson’s breasts and Viola Davies’ talent.


Joy Isi Bewaji is the Editor of Happenings Magazine. Source – Happenings

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