Yesterday at the salon, a discussion came up amongst the ladies about the struggles and ordeals women go through from infancy to motherhood. Towards the end of this discussion, the stylist making my hair silently muttered, “Oju obirin ri to”, a Yoruba phrase that translates to “Women’s eyes see enough”, meaning “Women go through a lot”. I couldn’t help but think back to the #Nobodylikewoman trend that has dominated the Nigerian media space for over seven days.
“If she no get man for side o
Dem go dey push woman aside o
And eventually o
Dem go suffer suffer woman”
These are lyrics from Nigerian Artist Simi latest song titled Woman.
Simi has gotten women of all calibre and backgrounds sharing and speaking about the hurtful and demeaning words that have been said to them. Days before releasing this song, Simi took to her Instagram to share a black and white image of her and her daughter with the inscription, “How can she ask for that kind of money? Is she not pregnant?”
For the past six days, other women have shared black and white images of themselves with texts of hurtful comments they have received at some point in their lives. Actress Adesua Etomi shared, “Is she pregnant yet?” Lawyer and women’s rights advocate Folakemi Falana shared, “She must be evil or cursed.How can her husband just die suddenly within their first year of marriage? She must have something to do with it.” Filmmaker and content creator Mory Coco shared, “What do you need leave for? Didn’t you just get back from ‘maternity holiday’?”
In addition, Actress and Entrepreneur Annie Idibia shared, “She has no male child. She has no Talent, she is only visible because of her man.” Author and Reality TV Star Khafi Ekpata shared, “Her baby must be ugly, that is why she is not showing his face.” Influencer, Fade shared, “Is it menstrual pain that is making you act like this? You ladies just exaggerate the pain.” Food Entrepreneur Tiwa also shared, “Let her go, she is weak, she couldn’t give birth like others. She is wasteful for making you pay for CS 4 times and still lost your baby”
Also, actress Ife Irele shared, “We are filming all night, not like you have husband and children waiting.” Chemist Joy Olaiya shared, “How can you say your husband raped you? When he has paid your bride price” Activist and Influencer Rinu Oduala shared, “Where men dey talk, women should keep quiet. Men don’t like ambitious women, reduce your confidence”
We can all agree women have to deal with unsolicited opinions; from derogatory comments to rude remarks. Although celebrities and successful women might have shared these words, they are the realities of the everyday woman. Women still have to deal with cruel and unhealthy opinions about their life choices, bodies, career, ambitions, and fertility status.Simi went on to share in another Instagram post that, “the reason many, many women are so strong today is that they’ve had to defy the things that were designed to make them weak: Stereotypes. Shame. Fear. Pain. Abuse.”
I respect the strength and courage it has taken many women in these past few days to be vulnerable enough to confront the things that people have said to them to poke at their insecurities and to demean them. Many of you have defied the status quo and changed the narrative. “You’re brave. You are strong. You are a woman. And there’s nobody like you.”
And I couldn’t agree more, however, I continue to think of the many women who have shrunk themselves, who have given up on goals and ambitions, whose choices have been taken away by the cruel words from the people around them and their society at large. It makes me happy to see these conversations taking space. These words would no longer go down as one of the many standard things women have to go through. Most importantly, women would begin to check and confront these comments when they’re thrown at them while knowing that they are a mere reflection of the heart of whoever says them and not a verdict on what they can and should be.