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What happens to girls like us?

What Happens to Girls like Us?

A few days ago, I was having a conversation with a coworker. I told her I wake up as early as 5:30, even when I don’t sleep till 3am. She smirked and made a comment about how she would have been done cooking by then. “You cook as early as 5?” I asked, genuinely dazed at the fact. “Of course,” she replied, as though that should be obvious to me. “Why?” I asked, to which she replied: “How else would my husband eat?” I commended her hard work but expressed how stressful that must be – waking up probably around 4am, cooking for your husband, then getting ready for a job that begins at 7:30 and ends at 4:30, only to go home and cook dinner. I told her that I would have to marry a man that is fine with eating cereal or instant noodles for breakfast. “But how would he eat lunch?” she asked. I told her that he would continue with whatever traditions he had before our marriage; if, for example, he currently orders lunch to work from Iya Oyo’s amala joint, he will carry on with that tradition after marriage, otherwise we could get a chef to cook his meals. She asked: “What if he would only eat your food?” and I said, as-a-matter-of-factly: “he would starve.” She looked at me, laughed in disbelief and commented on my being spoiled. I shrugged, ignored her statement and went about my day. She felt sad for me, and I felt sad for her.

Like African many girls, I fantasize about cooking for (and with) my husband, asking him about his day and watching TV cuddled up on the couch. I think of marriage as a mutually beneficial agreement, something that brings me calmness, happiness and peace of mind. The minute cooking for my husband becomes a chore, and I start to dread it, resentment will build up until the marriage no longer represents peace of mind. I want to cook and clean because I want to, not because I have to. When I tell people this, I am asked ridiculous questions like “who will marry you?” and told that it would be hard to find a husband with this mindset. The alternative, of course, is slaving away in the name of servitude. So, what happens to girls like us – girls who don’t see marriage as an act of servitude, girls who aren’t ready to submit to men and lose themselves in the process, girls who have a picture of what their happiness looks like, and won’t settle for anything less?

In the end, we’re the ones who change timeworn traditions, who fight against injustice and become activists. We’re the ones who liberate, who point out misogynist cultural practices and bring solutions to them. I think back at my co-worker who just couldn’t believe that I’m not looking forward to waking up at odd hours to cook for my husband, who could not understand why I wouldn’t want my husband to solely eat food prepared by my hands, and how sad she felt for me. I wish I had told her the words of the great German lyric poet, Rainer Maria Rilke: “Someday, there will be girls and women whose name will no longer signify merely an opposite of the masculine, but something in itself, something that makes one think, not of any complement and limit, but only of life and existence: the feminine human being.” I wish I had told her that I am a complete human being, even without a husband and she is too.

18 Comments

  • Trish
    Posted June 7, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    Girls like us are usually not considered marriage materials but who gives a flying fuck! Love yourself,live your life and be happy

  • Kate
    Posted June 8, 2021 at 7:34 am

    The words of that German lyric poet is going to my status this morning. Yup!

  • Chizzy Umeh
    Posted June 8, 2021 at 8:34 am

    marriage should be mutually beneficial, it requires sacrifices on both ends. it’s no longer marriage when one serves the other rather than both serving each other.

  • Felz
    Posted June 9, 2021 at 7:53 am

    I have always known that I wouldn’t slave away for my husband as my mother did and is still doing at a really tender age especially when she’s even currently taking care of 95% of the bills.

    I’m ok being unmarried, happy and fresh-looking than losing myself because no man would keep me as a wife. I’m the prize yo.

  • Ibrahim
    Posted June 9, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    This is very on point.

    It’s actually a turn off for me when the lady only wants to serve. I see marriage as a business venture where we put in equal efforts for our mutual benefits and not a ruler/ruled relationship.

  • Nwode Chinelo
    Posted June 9, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    As heard in a movie I have just seen, change won’t happen on its own. Someone has to initiate it.

  • Blessing
    Posted June 10, 2021 at 7:44 am

    I know exactly what I want my marriage to look like and being a slave is nowhere close to what I see myself becoming.

    As she said, calmness, happiness, and peace of mind, anything outside of this, I’ll cling to being happily single.

  • Olaowo Zainab
    Posted June 10, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Girls like us thrive

    • DuDu
      Posted June 12, 2021 at 9:32 am

      Yes we do😌

  • Moh'korode
    Posted June 16, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Girls like us rule, mutual benefits in marriage, we’re in it together

  • Rukayat
    Posted June 16, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    I agree with you marriage should be mutually beneficial and not a marriage is one is serving the other rather the marriage where both is serving each other. I remember whenever I talk about the type of marriage I want, people are so quick to say you won’t find a husband or who will marry you but I don’t pay no mind because I know what I want and it valid.

  • Yvonne
    Posted June 16, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    This is a nice article. Although I’ll respectfully like to point out that some people actually don’t see cooking for their husbands as ‘slavery’ and punishment o. PS: The problem is not the cooking itself as it is the mindset behind the two people involved.
    I believe marriage is about two people joyfully serving each other and not selfishly finding an excuse to call everything slavery. If you marry someone with a great mindset (who doesn’t see your service as slavery), then trust me, you can by all means serve joyfully – whether it’s cooking, cleaning, ironing, etc. – just do it joyfully. You’ll be glad to serve a man who sees your service as a blessing to him and not as an entitlement or as slavery.
    Again, The goal is to change the mindsets, and not destroy the idea.

    On the other hand, I’ll sincerely advice to not get married if you cannot submit to a man that you call ‘husband’ (especially if you’re a Christian because you already know what’s up).

    Gracias!

    • Toby
      Posted June 17, 2021 at 4:40 pm

      “You’ll be glad to serve a man who sees your service as a blessing to him and not as an entitlement or as slavery.”

      The question is, will the man serve you back?

  • Yetunde
    Posted June 16, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    I find it scary that there is no suggestion of the man cooking for himself. All other options are considered except him doing it himself.

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  • Oyinkansola
    Posted August 12, 2021 at 9:52 am

    ❣️❣️

  • Rukky Otive-Igbuzor
    Posted October 8, 2021 at 11:47 am

    This is absolutely on point! 👏🏾 “In the end we’re the ones who change timeworn traditions, who fight against injustice and become activists”. Absolutely love that!

  • Abdullahi D. Hassan
    Posted November 10, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    Marriage is a conduit of happiness and compatibility. Score of African men, for ages, define marriage as an institute of bondage via they will bask in sexual gratification, cooking food and born kids. Men should be companions in marital life, not wardens.

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