Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Strong Woman Conundrum by Abolade Odugbesan Olanipekun

I have been reading a lot, online about stories of abused women, women who married for love, endured for that same love, and at the end, had to walk away.

I have also read stories of how women endured abuses and infidelity from their husbands, and, after much 'naked praying' and 'war room' watching, their husbands turns a new leaf.

What strikes most from both stories were the comments that followed.

Puzzling and somewhat funny is how both scenarios drew the same type of praise!
“Strong woman!”

And this begs the questions,
What does strength mean?
Why do you call a woman strong?
Because she endured all manner of physical, mental, and emotional abuse from a man she married/dated?
Or Because she could write about them?

I want you all to understand that strength is not about taking shit from a fellow human. That is weakness. And it shouldn’t be encouraged.

I don’t understand why you all celebrate pain and suffering and endurance and give it a name “strong!”That is bullshit.

If we do not correct this, our girls would grow up with the mindset that they have to pass through torture, to be called strong.

We shouldn’t glorify abuse or enduring pain as one of the virtues of womanhood. It is wrong.

Womanhood shouldn’t be about suffering, it shouldn’t be about who can withstand pain the most.

It should be about victories, and breaking boundaries, and conquering patriarchy and customs and social pressures.

Give me a woman who wouldn’t bow for anything that would make her small and I would call her a strong woman.

Give me a woman who knows her rights and demands it, even when everyone else is telling her to be quiet, a woman who isn’t afraid to speak her truth, and I would call her a strong woman.

Give me a woman who rises, above pain, above prejudice, above challenges and  I will call her a strong woman.

But don’t tell me to associate pain and long suffering with strength. No, that’s not strength, the ability to bounce back from them, is!

If you cannot call a man who collects serious mouth washing from the wife on a daily, as a strong man, (in fact, he will be called a weak man) then do not call a woman taking doses of emotional pain from the husband a strong woman either.

Let’s change the narrative. Let’s stop throwing around the term ‘strong woman’ for any female who suffers. It is not a virtue to be messed up by a man, who ought to be your friend and your protector.

And if you can walk away, it’s not also because you are strong either. It’s just common sense!

If motor wants to jam egungun, egungun should have sense to run away from express.

If there is fire under your arm pit and you scream, “fire is burning me, fire is burning me” I don’t expect people to rush at you and start hailing, "strong woman, strong woman!” I  expect that you douse that fire, or get help dousing the fire.

So, again I ask you all, who is a strong woman? And why is she being called that?

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