Uncommon Stories

Nigerian Feminism: Taking The War To The Church

When #WifeNotCook was trending on Social Media, I wondered if the feminists noticed that guys were not bothered. This is because the saying: ‘the shortest route to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ is either another sham to distract women, or was invented when there were few restaurants on earth.

The truth is that there is always an affordable eatery in every two kilometers these days. Again, the foods from these eating places – apart from the multiple options the menu offers – are always fresh. One can also order a bottle of ‘small stout’ to wash down the food. So most times, when men eat at home, they do that to save cost or appear responsible. It is not because they see their wives as cooks.

Let’s face the truth, it is always a thing of pride for a woman to say, ‘My husband doesn’t eat ‘outside’.’ Men that eat from their wives’ pots are seen as responsible, homely, and have strong family values. Then I ask, why will a woman fight a masculine value that strengthens her joy?

Let’s get this straight, why most men ask if a girl knows how to cook is simply because the system, not the men, has made women better cooks. Mothers spend more time with their girl children coaching them on how to manipulate condiments and neglect their sons. And we appreciate any woman that cooks well in this part of the world. It is not a gender issue; it’s the same with the expectation that the man should be more dexterous than the woman. And men fix holes in the house, carry heavier domestic equipment and change flat tires. So, it will make no sense if #MenNotTireChangers starts trending. These are gender roles. It affects both sexes.

If Nigerian kind of feminism was not borne out of malice they should look beyond gender roles. Cooking is never a problem to most Nigerian women. Nigerian feminists should combat bigger wars – like the subtle wars against women waged by Nigerian churches – and watch the little wars die off like flowers in an oven.

Yes, the war from most (not all) churches. It makes no sense to take the war to the home and pardon the institution that forms the foundation. Fighting men but sparing some religious laws is like removing a cobweb and protecting the spider, and until something is done against the institutions to bring balance, the weight of the world will still be on the lady’s shoulder, and the whole fight will be like a chase after the cloud.

Nigerian Feminism: Church Practices

Let me offer a leaf from the branch of anti-feminism in some Nigerian churches which Nigerian Feminists should fight.

Some churches in Nigeria, knowing how the women love their special day, have made it a rule that any woman who gets pregnant before the wedding day would not appear in a white wedding gown. In fact, most churches no longer call the ceremony, ‘wedding’, they call it ‘blessing of marriage’.

The aim, whatever it planned to achieve, tells the whole congregation that the woman is no longer pure, and it also serves as a warning to the single ladies that if they get pregnant, they would never wear their dream gown.

I don’t have a problem with that; I don’t expect anybody to. It’s a rule that would preserve the sanctity of the Matrimonial Sacrament. However, the big concern is that one party suffers, and the other untouched. Yes, women forfeit the white gown and men appear in suits.

Feminism, in my understanding, should see when women are the victims and push for a balance. Feminists should tell such churches to even the penance. The Churches should not ONLY deny the bride the joy of a white wedding gown. They should also order the man to appear in the church wearing shorts and a polo shirt. So that, when people see the ‘defiled’-adulterous bride that is not worthy to wear white gown on her wedding day, they should also see the monstrous ‘he-goat’ that has no control over his penis.

This rule by the church is a war to demean the feminine gender. And if there is no feminist to speak out for justice and a balance disciplinary action, it would, like cancer, spread to other churches.

Read: How Social Media Affect Churchgoing In Nigeria


Ozii Baba, a TedX Speaker, is an Onitsha-based storyteller and social entrepreneur. He works directly with children and young people.

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