Last week, a friend of my uncle’s came to the house and slept over. His name was Patrick, we call him uncle Patrick. I was in the kitchen doing dishes that afternoon when uncle Patrick came up from the basement. He was on the phone and was visibly upset.
Usually when someone is on the phone, I leave the place and let them be. However I could not leave this time as I was cleaning up the kitchen and people were coming over.
From the conversation, I could tell Patrick was on his phone with his sister and they were talking about his brother who was having problems in his marriage.
It appeared his brother was not treating the wife so good, and she left to her father’s house. On the call, Patrick kept telling his sister all he wants is for them to go to therapy and reconcile. However, the sister’s stance shocked me.
I believe his sister (Grace) said things like “the wife deserves to be sent home, and that her brother (Chiagozie) was faultless.”
Although I could not hear Grace on the phone, I could tell these from Patrick’s replies. All he kept saying on the call was “Grace, Chiagozie is also at fault. How can you stop romancing your wife and going out with her? The fact that Chiagozie is your brother does not mean he is right”
I believe Grace got upset that Chiagozie’s wife wanted more love and attention because Patrick said “Yes, his love is her right. How can you marry a woman you say you love but you never go out with her or buy her gift or tell her you love her.”
I believe Grace said Chiagozie was doing no wrong as he was a man and the head of the house, because Patrick said “being a man does not excuse stupidity. And the fact that he does not beat her doesn’t mean he is right”
They went back and forth on the call, and I believe at some point Grace said Chiagozie should divorce his wife, because Patrick went berserk. He told Grace that she was being biased because Chiagozie was their brother. He said because Chiagozie was a man does not mean he should get away with doing wrong only because society allows him. He told Grace to stop interfering and stop advising Chiagozie as she was doing more harm than good.
Although I did not plan to eavesdrop, I could not help it as I was in the kitchen. The conversation got me thinking a lot.
As women, we say we want feminism, and would like to dismantle patriarchy, but who is really behind this patriarchy?
A lot of the stories I have heard about Patriarchy and women being mistreated usually involves other women, pushing for patriarchy.
In some parts of Igboland (a tribe in Nigeria), when a man dies his wife is forced to shave her head to mourn her husband. Who does the shaving of the new widow’s head? Her fellow women.
In other tribes, the tradition is for the woman to drink the water used to bathe her husband’s corpse to prove she did not kill him. Who pushes for this? Other women.
A man would cheat and the wife is advised to watch the movie “war room” (a movie that promotes women staying with cheating husbands to keep the marriage). She would be advised to dress sexy for her husband, to cook for him and to cry out to God. Who gives the advice? Mostly women.
A couple is unable to have kids, and the man is advised to marry a younger girl who can give him kids. The wife is out rightly called barren even though the man might have low sperm counts. Who goes to source for this new wife for the man? Usually his mother or sister — still women.
There are so many other instances of it. Through the years, women say they want to dismantle patriarchy, but when it comes to other women they uplift it.
We need to consciously be truthful to ourselves. We need to understand that being a man does not excuse infidelity. Neither does it place you above blame. When a man is wrong, tell him he is wrong. Do not support a culture which oppresses women. Because after you force a woman to drink the water from her husband’s corpse because of culture, yours might die tomorrow. Who saves you then?