Thursday, March 23, 2017

Liberals Behaving Badly: Views on Gender

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Photo: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
/Facebook
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stirred the hornet’s nest in a recent interview by opining that transwomen are transwomen because their experiences are dissimilar from women’s and having been male have benefitted from privileges that individuals born female aren’t accorded. As expected, in an age where exaggerated moral outrage is encouraged, groupthink (more like zombiethink) is worshipped and dissent severely rebuked, Adichie received a lot of flak for daring to express an individual thought, one that isn’t sanctioned by the liberal left.

For her trouble, she was called transphobic, instructed to check her privilege and told not to speak for transwomen even though she’d been asked a question about womanhood.

So intense were the criticisms that she had to clarify her remarks on her Facebook page. In it, she wrote that while transwomen may have experienced difficulties as boys, it couldn’t be said that those difficulties are similar to the kind girls underwent, which normally entailed learning to shrink themselves, accommodate men’s fragile egos and view their bodies as a sinful vessel. Read more here.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Lesson in Socratic Questioning

No one wants to be roped by social mores, certainly not girls.
Photo: Creative Commons
Quality education and inspiring teachers are two important ingredients Nigeria sorely lacks, so when one stumble upon either, it's as refreshing as a drink of water after a long afternoon trek.

Recently, I interviewed a teacher, Itodo Samuel Anthony, whose Facebook posts on gender equality garnered over 100 shares and likes. In it, he questions his male students' assumptions, one they'd absorbed from society no doubt, that paying the bride price gives men the right to control their wives. He also involves his female students in the debate, asking if they'd like to be controlled by boys. Of course they reply, with the exception of one girl, in the negative.

Interestingly, the exercise proves most people don't want to be subjugated and girls and women can hold patriarchal views.

If more teachers, like Anthony, critiqued faulty opinions that have been hardened by customs and religion and passed off as facts of life, there's little reason why our society wouldn't fare a lot better.

You can read my interview with Anthony here.

      

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Telling History Through Art: Where Are the Female Nationalists?

The National Theatre
Photo: Shayera Dark
The National Theatre in Lagos is one of the most recognisable edifices in the city’s skyline. Built in 1976 for the Festival of Arts and Culture, the bowl-shaped structure was a symbol of national pride and Nigeria’s creative prowess.

Today, the National Theatre is a throwback to past glories and unfulfilled dreams, an emblem of the things Nigeria once strove for before losing interest in the game of innovation and excellence. Like the fate of most government buildings—pretty until neglected, the theatre is no different. Its faded, rain-stained walls and patchy, tired lawns are in need of some tender, loving care. Even the road leading to the theatre’s main gate is marred by potholes, a harbinger perhaps of what one was to expect on arrival. Read more here.