Opinion: Why African wives now find it hard to be submissive
by Lucas Togan
The problem is that the AFRICAN MAN fails to realise that the modern AFRICAN WOMAN HAS COME OF AGE. She is more SELF AWARE and understands her TRUE VALUE and POTENTIAL in the ECONOMY and in LIFE.
EVER wondered why it was so easy for your MOTHER to SUBMIT to your father with less hassles than YOU do to your partner or husband? And even easier for your grandmother and the generation before hers to their spouses? Well, I think I got it figured…
A few generations ago, ECONOMIC POWER was to the PHYSICALLY strongest in society. Say biggest farmer. In the eastern part of Nigeria (Western Africa), your economic power was measured by the size of your yam barns. Men produced yams and their wives – vegetables (less energy intensive). In the western countries, it went to the owner of the biggest plantation (by all accounts men controlled the slaves that worked those fields – no women in any account I have seen or read). Needless to say that the men folk were always on top. Women had no choice but to be SUBORDINATES to their men.
However, with the rise of the Industrial Age, the power shifted from physical strength to MENTAL PRODUCTIVITY. Formal education thus became ever so important. This POWER SHIFT however introduced an element of equality between the sexes that did not exist before. Women, just like men, now had an equal chance at economic success and hence, more RELEVANCE. Whereas in the farm age men tilled the land and women cooked the harvest, women could now “till” and “cook”.
As simplistic as the result of this theory might seem, women are shocked to realise that after being subjected to exactly the same conditions all through their academic pursuits and examination conditions as men, they are marginalized in the economy that they enter after graduation. Some unwritten law prevents them from reaching the heights that men routinely attain. The system seems to subject them to extra tests in order to achieve the same positions as their male counterparts who went through exactly the same academic process. If the criteria for economic relevance is academic excellence, then WOMEN expect to be EQUAL to MEN.
This is the MINDSET of the MODERN WIFE. She has been through exactly the same formative years as her husband. She probably did better than he did through those years as well and probably wields an equal or higher economic power in their union. She finds it difficult to understand how he can be SUPERIOR or even entertain the idea of any kind of superiority in their union. She wants him to ACKNOWLEDGE their EQUALITY. She wants him to CONSIDER and RESPECT her input. She does not want to fight the SYSTEM and her HUSBAND for relevance. SHE CAN NOT BE IRRELEVANT AT WORK AND AT HOME.
Being the founder of the formal education system, the west has been able to harmonise this conflict. Men have come to respect and understand the equality that women crave – at least on the home front. However, Africa still struggles with this reality because formal education is an IMPORT for us and SUBMISSION from a woman is more natural to how the African man perceives his authority in the home and society. The problem is that the AFRICAN MAN fails to realise that the modern AFRICAN WOMAN HAS COME OF AGE. She is more SELF AWARE and understands her TRUE VALUE and POTENTIAL in the ECONOMY and in LIFE. She has been properly educated and therefore emancipated from these “archaic” mind sets.
I believe that the solution is for the African man to seek a paradigm shift. He should not see equality as insubordination, rather he should consider it a challenge from the wife and seek other ways to earn her trust and submission rather than constantly resorting to the archaic means of COERCION, DEPRIVATION, THREATS and BATTERY.