Sexism: Men are Victims Too

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Feminism is a delicate topic in Nigeria. The movement has been bastardized but one is yet to fully grasp the agenda of Nigerian feminists.

There appears to be a conflict of interest in defining the essence of their feminist movement. It could be that many of them are either confused or ignorant of the core values of the feminism ideology. As my friend Moji once said, ignorance is a silent, parasitic affliction that twists and bends the lenses of one’s eyes to produce a distorted view of reality.

Today, they are pushing for gender equality; for men and women to be recognized as equal. Tomorrow, they are advocating for gender favouritism; fighting for causes that favour only women – a battle of sexes per se.

For instance, there’s always a special prize for the last woman standing at TV shows like the Gulder Ultimate Search and I have never seen any feminist stand up in its disaproval. This makes me wonder if we inadvertently propagate gender inequality and sexism.

To be fair, sexism is not anyone’s fault. It has become imbibed in our society. As a result, both men and women, directly or indirectly, make sexist comments on a daily basis.

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Nice guys are often ridiculed by both men and women for their niceness and lack of masculine energy to take the bull by the horn. ‘He is not man enough’ is often the derogatory comment used to describe these guys. And that is also sexism.

Recently, I read an article about an emotional man who often sheds tears for women whenever he is heart-broken. As expected, the comment section was rife with sexist remarks. Both men and women were quick to judge the man and say things like:

“How can a man be heartbroken?”

“Do you listen to RnB songs? Gangstas don’t play that shit. They listen to rap.”

“Real men aren’t emotional.”

“Only weak men cry over a lady.”

I had to ask, why can’t a man be emotional and cry over a woman? Is there any law out there that forbids anyone with the male genitalia from crying? I mean, if it is therapeutic for him, he should go ahead and do the needful – there’s no shame in that.

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According to Wikipedia, sexism can affect any gender but it is particularly documented as affecting only women and girls. And this is evident in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign to rescue the 219 Chibok girls that were abducted by Boko Haram. There’s no mention of the young boys that are also victims of such abduction or sex trafficking.

Women, not only men, also perpetrate domestic and intimate partner violence, falsely accuse men of rape and other devious acts, molest/sexually harass young boys and commit paternity fraud. Even cancers affecting women get more attention than those affecting men.

Despite all these risks men face, support services for men are almost non existent compared to services for women. There are also ministries for women affairs, but none for men, in the UN and virtually all Nigerian Governments both at Federal and State Level.

Like I aforementioned, our society upholds sexist attitude, directly or indirectly, through the media, culture and/or education. Despite the patriarchal nature of our society, every child, whether male or female, is instilled with a woman’s point of view. The boys are taught to protect and give the ladies special treatment as the head of the family whilst the girls, in total submission to men, are taught to expect preferential treatment from men.

If there’s any justice in the world, no individual will be judged based on appearance and/or masculinity/femininity. Unfortunately, there is none.

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13 Replies to “Sexism: Men are Victims Too”

  1. I agree that men are also victims of sexism.

    However you make a common mistake that many Nigerian (men) online make concerning feminism. You put all women you have ever encountered that mention gender equality in one club or political party, assuming that they all believe the same thing, have the same motivations, and want the same thing. So the woman who makes asinine comments like “isn’t feminism about choice? Why can’t feminists support their fellow women whatever choice she makes?” is lumped together with the woman who says “feminism is about changing social, political and economic structures that privilege men over women”. These two people are talking about completely different things. It is like complaining that Christians don’t know what they want because one minute they are talking about taking up their cross to follow Jesus, the next minute they are preaching that Jesus does not want you to be poor.

    The best way to think about feminism is in the plural. There are many kinds – wave feminism, womanism, post-colonial feminism, radical feminism, African feminism, Christian feminism, Muslim feminism, lipstick feminism, etc etc.

    You will meet new feminists who haven’t a freaking clue what they are talking about, you will meet old feminists who are secretly womanists (they believe women are special). And there will be inconsistent feminists. Human beings are imperfect. Yet the main argument should be that society should not continue to propagate rigid gender roles and sexist views that make it impossible for men and women to just be themselves.

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    1. Insightful reply however you missed a particular point I made at the beginning of the blogpost and assumed I put every woman that advocates for gender equality online in one political club or party. In the second paragraph of the article, it says, “There appears to be a conflict of interest in defining the essence of their feminist movement. It could be that many of them are either confused or ignorant of the core values of the feminism ideology.” This sums up the plurality of feminism you mentioned and how they all fight for different things.
      Also, every individual whether male or female has been given a certain kind of power however some (both genders) abuse their power. After all, power intoxicates like wine. If there’s any justice in the world, our society will tackle these power drunk individuals the way it tackles corrupt and nefarious leaders.

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      1. Fair point. Now the question becomes, what are the core values of feminism? My comparison to religion breaks down here because unlike christianity, there is no one source text or one supreme leader that everyone listened to when they became feminist.

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      2. I wish I could answer that question. Infact, I need someone to help me answer that because the core values of feminism are yet to be succinctly defined to me. Your comparison of the plurality of the feminism movement to Christianity kinda stands. Every Christian has a different perception of the Bible (source text). Many are through what they hear their pastors (supreme leader) say or preach.

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  2. Interesting. I think the reason the feminist movement is a bit of a necessity is because for much of history, it’s us men that make the rules and call the shots. Even in situations where men are at a disadvantage, they also hold the power within our group to still balance things out. For instance, in an average setting, when a man hits a lady, it’s usually not other ladies that pounce on him and beat the tar out of him regardless of the reason – it’s other men. When a man is expected to take on the roles of rock and provider, it’s usually so he doesn’t appear weak to other men. Of course, this theory isn’t all encompassing. There are situations where the female folk are at advantage by default and hold the power to restore balance but, compared with what obtains in our largely patriarchal society on a global, not just national level, such situations are not as abundant.

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  3. I totally agree with you on almost every point, and I honestly do not think equality is possible. We should all just play our roles well. But there is one point I would like to make. “… the girls, in total submission to men, are taught to expect preferential treatment from men.” Well, not so true. We’re in an African society, let’s face it, boys get the preferential treatment, even in our homes. I am a girl, and growing up, I haven’t been taught to expect preferential treatment. What I have been taught, by my mother and my father, and particularly my mother, is to put my father and my brothers first. Even if you and your sisters can’t eat, cook for them. Even if you’re sick, stress yourself for them. It’s what makes you a good wife, a good daughter, a good sister. If there’s a gathering, attend to the men first; the women can help themselves. This is what girls are actually taught by society. It’s what makes me hate being female sometimes. But I refuse to be feminist and I don’t believe the woman is totally equal with the man. What I ask for is fairness and not equal or preferential treatment. When I point out the errors in feminism, I acknowledge the reason for the struggle. And yes, men are victims too. Women fight for the attention. Men should do the same.

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    1. Good point you made. If you notice what irks you is the cooking you have to do whether you are stressed or not. But the preferential treatment I mentioned in the post is beyond what happens in the kitchen. Think about it, parents tend to send more money to the female children who are in school than the male ones. And it goes on and on. It is just how it is in this clime. Men are taught to work their asses off for their families and protect them as well. However, what we all seek is fairness and not equal/preferential treatment. Everybody (male or female) has been given a mandate/power so let’s play our roles well and not abuse our power.

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      1. Lool… Trust me, the kitchen can be more fun than you think it is. I used the kitchen as an analogy. It’s like a synecdoche, just a part to paint a, picture of what the whole is like. The problem is not with me being stuck the kitchen, don’t get me wrong. The problem is with the impression that the woman is less important. You cannot think of the woman until you have thought of the man. That is the inner lesson behind the point. But like we agreed, they both have roles to play. Neither of them is more important because neither of them can survive if no one exists to play the role of the other. Even God realised that in the garden of Eden. So don’t ever, not even mistakenly, tell a woman her problem is the cooking she has to do. One, she really doesn’t have to do it; it’s her choice. Two, it is not her problem, and saying that will probably annoy her. Just saying.

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      2. Lol I get the analogy. We are saying the same thing. Women were given, by God, to men as ‘helpers.’ The helpers’ role may include cooking and catering to their women. Unfortunately, some men become spoilt and believe it is the right to be pampered and cooked for.

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    1. Ama Ataa Adio-esque feminism seem to differ from other feminist ideologies I have come across. The plurality of feminist ideology is what confuses me about the movement. Nevertheless, equal opportunity for everyone, irrespective of gender or social status, is what we all yearn for.

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