She was born prepared. Prepared for marriage. She was conceived, born, weaned, raised for one purpose: marriage.
It might not look like it in this day and age, with many parents now sending their girls to school, but when it comes down to it, for many, it all still boils down to marriage. She needs to be an asset and to be a good wife.
The marriage is usually not for her, it is for the man. The proof is in the preparation. It is one-sided. The woman is prepared all her life to be everything a man wants, she is taught how to cook, clean, keep a good home, how to treat her in-laws, how to raise children, how to talk to her husband and in some cultures how to please him sexually.
The result therefore is a fully prepared wife and an unprepared husband, and somehow, she is magically expected to make the marriage work.
She is told to be a house wife, so the children can be well raised and her husband can be properly and duly attended to. But then, he doesn’t respect her because she is totally dependent on him.
She decides to work. He complains about the hours at work.
She is told to cook for her husband, but she just wishes he would cook for her once in a while so she can feel special. She makes her desire known, he threatens to take himself to another woman who will not mind doing all the cooking.
Ironically, he says, “baby, I don’t want you stressing yourself with cooking, let us eat out” to the woman he is cheating on her with.
She is told to keep mute and allow him make all the decisions, as that is what good and submissive wives do. She listens. Only, he soon realizes he doesn’t want a boring wife and the way she agrees with everything bores him to death.
She decides to start arguing. He soon complains about the lack of respect towards him.
She is told to be “bad” with her husband in bed. Men want it in different styles and they need you to be creative in bed matters. She listens. He suspects her of being a call girl in her other life.
She decides to let him initiates sex, so she can be the little miss innocent he seems to want. He accuses her of an insipid sex life.
She is told to dress the “married woman” part, which for many of our African ancestors is basically bland and unattractive. Her husband is soon to find her bland and unattractive.
Then she decides to add a little color, society goes crazy! She is not acting like a married woman.
Her husband abuses her daily, she decides to divorce him. Society blames her every day of her life without knowing her story.
She keeps the abuse to herself because “what would people say?” and dies. Society wonders why did she not speak out, forgetting they would have been the same people that would have made her life miserable for daring to divorce a man who did her the world’s greatest favor by marrying her.
She decides not to get married. She must be a lesbian or a renegade. How dare she goes against society norms?
She is single and rich. She must have let a top man hump her to get that position. God forbid that she has a brain and worked hard to reach that position. Don’t we know that brains and intelligence are exclusively reserved to the male gender?
The tale of an African woman is a story of misogyny and unfair treatment. Writing about it cannot quite capture its pathetic state.
Thank God things are changing and a lot of blind eyes are gradually opening.
We all hope for more and do not discount the progress that has already been made over the years. It will come a time that the tale of the African woman will have a new tune, a new ending. One where she is respected, acknowledge and treated with the utmost care, love and respect.