Kamala Harris at the 2021 presidential swearing in
So, it’s obvious that Nigerian men derive pleasure from being unfortunate and I honestly don’t blame them. After all, audacity is currently on sale in Lagos market. Nonsense!
Since Kamala Harris recently got sworn in as the first female Vice President of the United States of America, tongues have been wagging. She has raised the bar for women and people of colour and this has made her an inspiration. All of which is fine and very inspiring, if you ask me. But then as expected, Nigerians- specifically the men – decided to touch this woman’s white kaftan and stain it in the way only the Nigerian man can with a hint of hypocrisy, a dash of gas lighting, and an oh-so fantastic splash of reverse patriarchy, and I’m about to tell you how.
Now, a lot of us might be wondering why I’m choosing to see this action as hypocritical and ‘white kaftan staining’. It is simply because Kamala attaining new heights and raising the bar should not be seen as an excuse for Nigerian men to belittle the current standing of the Nigerian woman. For two cogent reasons. One is the fact that they, through their direct and indirect actions, put her, the Nigerian woman, where she is now; which is NOT on Kamala Harris’ standard.
The second being the fact that the only reason the selfish and self-centred species of humanity called Nigerian men finally want their women and wives to be career-driven and on ‘Kamala’s standard’, is because they want comfort and financial security. Specifically the kind that comes with being the husband to an influential and powerful woman like Kamala Harris; not because they believe in the innate brilliance she possesses.
To understand the first reason, we would need to look into the psyche of the average Nigerian man from the standpoint of patriarchy. Doing this, we would realize that the average man- and by average I mean a very large majority of Nigerian men – only want one of two things or even all when looking for a wife and I’ll tell you for free.
One, they either want a domestic and docile woman who stays home in the kitchen doing only what they ask of her. A woman who listens but doesn’t speak up, challenge or intimidate them in any way. Such a woman is not expected to aspire to want a life outside of her role as a wife and home keeper let alone have a career or be goal-oriented. So much so that regardless of her numerous degrees and the exposure she had before getting married to them-if she was fortunate enough to have any – she has to know her place and submit to his authority because he is the man in the house and she is under him.
Secondly, they want a trophy wife. Someone specifically chosen to inflate their ego. To make their friends and colleagues look at them with awe and respect because apparently, their wife is super smart and super beautiful and they, the men, have to have been super skilled and super smart and talented to bag that kind of ‘trophy’, hence the term ‘trophy wife.’
Such wives are expected to be strictly ornamental and not functional. They are expected to be seen and not heard, like flowers. These men are the ones who embrace the concept of the fragile femininity of women and believe in constantly protecting women. They embody the mentality of ‘the saviours’ of women. They know better and, of course, see themselves as stronger and in the best position to make decisions for ‘their’ woman. Hence, women should stay put and mute, sitting still and pretty while leaving all the heavy thinking and career pursuance to them, the dominant gender.
How can any of these women living as wives to these types of men become Kamala Harris? How? If Kamala Harris is the standard for partners now, would the flawed socialisation and small mind set of these men enable them to live with such a strong, independent woman like Kamala? Exactly why are these men big on deceiving themselves and making women the problem? Why are they so averse to taking responsibility?
This brings me to my next point. Nigerian men are predominantly selfish. When they’re not busy looking down and stepping on women, they’re doubling up on refreshing their selfish skills. The primary reason Nigerian men have decided to stomach the concept of being with an ambitious and strong woman to the point of making her ‘the new standard’ is simply because they want the perks of being the husband to an influential and powerful woman like Kamala Harris. Not because they all of a sudden believe in women showcasing their power, skills and ambition. It is literally a case of Nigerian men telling the Nigerian woman ‘You can finally be the woman you want to be- career and goal-oriented solely because of the perks it’ll bring me.’
Otherwise, put as, ‘You can be successful now. You have my permission.’ I am finally fixing to allow you have a choice.
This is why to justify this relatively new trend, Nigerian men are super quick to cite Kamala’s husband as an example- seeing as he resigned from his career when she got sworn in. Nigerian men have hence decided that Kamala is the new standard as it provides the opportunity to do absolutely nothing but in the untold privileges that come with being married to someone as influential as Kamala.
All of these reasons are ‘white-staining’ because this is not what Kamala Harris and the hundreds of women before her fought for. They fought for the right to have their voices heard in rooms that had doors closed to them solely because of their respective gender. They didn’t fight to be given ‘permission’ by the opposite gender because of the perks their fight would bring to them.
And so, associating Kamala’s win with Nigerian men getting a leg up because their new standard of a wife will take them places, to me, is selfishness, greed and plain misrepresentation, and it needs to stop.