This is something that is very well addressed by African feminists. I also find the need to address it from my own point of view.
Marriage is a union between a man and a woman to become husband and wife. Yes, everybody knows that definition but in Nigeria, it’s quite a different case/definition. In Nigeria, marriage is a woman’s greatest accomplishment and one of a man’s numerous achievements. Here’s an example of a typical Nigerian conversation..” Nne Ada, ah long time! How is everything?” “Iya Demola, we thank God o! How is my husband, Demola?” “Ah, he works in oil company now o! Hm, bought new car and also got married.” ” Ah, Chukwu aluka!” ” Ada nko? How is she?” “Ah well, we thank God o, she’s a partner in her firm” “ko ti marry, ore mi?” “My sister, I’ve been trying o. All these girls nowadays too ambitious” “iyawo mi, mo ma gbadura fun. Take heart, I will pray for her. Later” Now from this, my dear friends, I believe I have reflected upon you the degrading of the female gender in our community even by females. Take this, marriage is just another achievement for a man, mentioned among other things, but for a woman, dear Lord, all achievements are useless if not crowned with marriage. Apparently, there is something about being possessed that has the elderly Nigerian female crowd intrigued and satisfied. If you have no husband, you have no life and you are a disgrace, that’s the ideology. There’s nothing compared to marriage for a female. Males have it tough too but not as the females. They don’t get disowned if they’re not married.
A woman’s life isnt complete without the responsibility of children and a husband. “You don’t have to work” they say, ” leave that for the man”. As a teenager I ask.. So what am I going to school for?! To increase bride price and suitability? Turn my degree into a framed art for admiration and consideration for marriage? When the marriage preparation
begins, mother must invite all her friends and enemies. A marriage/wedding ceremony is not as sacred as it’s supposed to be. It’s not about showing off the success of your daughter in finding a man to marry her hence notice I did not say love her and to show wealth and ‘connection’. Marriage is all about the joining of two people whose hearts have been garnished with love totally and completely,they’re willing to give themselves wholly to each other. They are ready to abide by the rules and regulations guiding the marriage and vow to make it through no matter how hard things get through their selfless love for each other. That is marriage. Marriage without love? Is bound to lead to unhappiness which will begin to make shelter in your heart and joy will seem to be a myth.
I am not insisting on the equal rights of the sexes because like someone said, if we have that, those nice male strangers in the store won’t open the door for us to walk through, neither will they help us with our groceries if they seem to heavy for us, neither will they treat us like a fragile egg and be careful not to hurt our feelings. Yes, we females have weaknesses, I accept that but we shouldn’t be underestimated and condescended upon due to that.
Sometimes, marriage just doesn’t sit well with us, not now in some cases, not ever in others. Sometimes, we want to be alone and completely focused on ourselves, on our jobs and most importantly, our God. Marriage isn’t the greatest accomplishment we can achieve. We can also be voice of the abused, the needy, the helpless. We can be an advocate of world peace. We can be writers who write to express and enlighten, to reveal concealed truth, to give light to and inspire. Women aren’t just sex slaves, cooks, maids and husband pleasers, we are strong, brave and determined.