Friday, November 2, 2012

I Am Done With Nigerian Chauvinistic Males! It's 2012.

There I was going about my business... Let's back up a little, actually. Just a little background here. Granted that I have more time on my hands these days due to circumstances beyond my control. But I make the best of it. I do a lot of constructive things on Facebook, especially with the US general elections coming up--Obama 2012. I do a lot of things. I have a platform. And I get inbox messages daily about how much people enjoy my posts and love coming to my page. There are people who come to my page every evening after work to see what I posted for that day and digest it. Be it health, politics, religion, marriage, raising kids, pop culture, I do it all. And I appreciate you all. 

L-R: Dr. Lara Agbaje, nee Lawal; Dr. Mackay Ola;
Dr. Folake Taylor, nee Kolawole (me)
So, like I was saying, I was minding my own business when this photo of me and some friends from 18 years ago was posted on one of their pages. I was so young, barely an adult. We all looked great. I was excited. I tagged us girls in the photo and shared on my page. After all, that's what Facebook is about, generating conversation. Then comes a certain Mr. Olowu with his negativity:

1st commenthmmm Mackay ladies man

2nd commentAsewo Doctor

3rd comment Ujesha ashewo binu ori ke temi to mi ru now

I tried really hard to ignore it, after all, he wasn't directly talking about me. Mind you, asewo in Yoruba means prostitute or ho. So when you call a man that, you're calling him a male ho. After deliberating a little further, I decided that I was definitely offended. Here's the comment I left: 

My comment Meanwhile, Mr Olowu, have you considered that the male prostitute comment might be offensive to the females in the picture? It's degrading and uncalled for because it's not just a comment about Mackay, it's about us in the photo too. I am offended. We are fully clothed and doing nothing worthy of such a comment.

I don't know if he got to read my comment or not but he was promptly deleted by my friend and old colleague, Mackay, who posted the picture, the object of the comments. It makes me sad that even in 20 years, Mr. Olowu might still be the same. He probably has a wife at home, who has to live with that attitude and behavior. 

Dodo (Fried Plantain)
Courtesy of Heart-to-heart with Jumoke
on Facebook
Now, earlier in the evening, I'd seen a photo of a plate of dodo on Facebook, which I'd shared on my page and generated a lot of comments (see left). I'd also gone out and bought me some plantains from Kroger , which they kept calling ripe bananas, grrrrr. Lol. Anyway, I made a dish of the dodo, with beans and efo elegusi (greens with melon seed), hen and stew. I took photos with my iPhone and posted (see below), and it generated even more conversation about food and we generally had a fun time on my page. Then comes a certain somebody I grew up with. I'll skip his name because I see the comment is missing this morning, which shows me that he probably realized it was inappropriate later on last night and took it down. I will paraphrase what he said however: 

My dinner of dodo, efo elegusi,
beans, hen and stew
"You confuse me. Which one is it. This minute you are talking about Obama, the next minute, dodo, and the next, who knows? Why don't you face yourself, your family, your work? Are you alright?" 

Before I get mad about stuff or protest, I do step back and think about it. After all, the Bible says "Be angry and sin not." I try to make sure that by the time I address issues, I am completely in my right mind and civil, so I don't say things I will want to take back later, especially since it's in writing, on Facebook. So here was my initial response:

You're too funny. Is eating not part of family life? Did you not eat dinner today? Abeg, leave me o. :)

But I could not stop thinking about it. And by the time I woke up this morning, I knew I was going to address it, because these stereotypes, and biases against women, and the fact that we don't even realize it is rude and disrespectful to say these things, is a problem. I'm not sure if someone else on that thread 'checked' him about it or he 'checked' himself, but his comment went poof overnight. 

Hear ye, hear ye. Nigerian men, this is 2012. Wake up. If I can go to school, get a job and earn more money than many of you, I can have an opinion about politics and express it. And it doesn't take away from me being domesticated, or a real woman. I can still cook, clean, bathe my child, attend to my husband and be a great wife and mother. You may not understand or be able to fathom it because it doesn't work that way in your home, but be open to new things. We are no longer in the 19th century. Some women are the breadwinners in their home. We need to be respected and appreciated for it, not put down. 

Making history picketing for Health Care Reform,
the Affordable Care Act, in 2009
I am an activist. I will always be, to some degree, because I abhor injustice. I will continue to help people, entertain others, and just simply hang out with the rest. It's OK. In addition to being a wife and mother, I'm a doctor, I'm an author, a mentor, a blogger, and of course an activist. One does not get in the way of the other. I speak for those who do not have a voice. For more information about what I do, Please visit my page on Facebook and check out these photos.

Most importantly, Mr. Taylor is not complaining. He is very pleased with me, in fact. Tend to your own flower and let another tend to his. 



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  1. Well written Folake. I was really offend by Olowu's comments too. In actual fact, I wanted to write "ashewo tinz, how?" Imagine giggling at some old pix and anxious to read about the usual comparisons between then and now, and poof! such comments pops out. Preach from now till tomorrow some people will never change. Believe me, some do not even know how to 'enjoy' live and so they become envious of those that do or seems to have it all and turn themselves into 'killjoy'. Go Girl, nothing do you.

  2. Thanks, my dear. You can imagine my surprise when he first started along that path. And he kept going. I tried not to be offended but I was. Because he was insinuating a lot of things that were not true and I couldn't separate myself from it. I couldn't imagine a nice photo from the archives like that being turned into a negative thing. I had to speak up for all women. I hope he saw the comment before Mackay deleted him but like you said, he'd just think I was overreacting, or an angry black woman, rather than look within. I appreciate you stopping by. Hugs.