By Ibukun Akinnawo
My Twitter timeline was alive in a way I found most interesting a little while back. The discussion was feminism and how it has become the new chauvinism. One particular person I follow found it amusing that so called feminists these days go all out to earn a ton of money working 9-5 jobs, split bills with their husbands and still have to end up playing their roles as dutiful wives and mothers. She said, “The freedom that so-called feminists these days are fighting for is pretty much more work for women and less for men.” Another succinctly tweeted her husband’s words right after he shovelled snow from their front yard, “Men no longer do hard things because women don’t need or allow them to.”
The feminist movement is single-handedly changing our men from dutiful gentlemen to slothful couch potatoes. Before I get you any more confused, let me clarify by saying that I am not referring to the dignified movement that encourages women to resist gender inequality, domestic violence, go into politics, chase their dreams, be all they aspire to be. I’m writing about the new trend that makes it acceptable for women to offer to pay the bill on first dates. I’m writing, with utter disdain, about kicking open car doors and much to male chagrin, about “making the first move” on admirers. I strongly believe that Adelaide Casley Hayford, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and other strong African women did not fight for women to burn their bras and pay for dinner at first dates.
Women are unwittingly stifling the men in men, turning them into lazy loyal dogs and also morphing into crass, unladylike beings (with no underwear beneath). It is possible, and dare I say attractive, to be feminist (in the true sense of the word) and be perfectly ladylike!
There is a need for us to let men open our car doors, shovel our snow, pay for first dates (and even subsequent ones) not because we cannot afford to or because we can’t shovel our own snow but because we respect the opposite sex enough to allow them do things for us. Let us stop viewing these things as chauvinist and downright patronising acts but begin to see them as acts of love and respect. Ladies, the next time a man offers to shovel your snow, open your car door or pay the bill, thank him like the graceful female you are and let him be the man he is.