Why President Buhari Was Wrong For Saying His Wife Belongs To His Kitchen

That statement was very offensive.

That statement was very offensive.

That statement was very offensive.

Did you say it three times? Good. Now I shall defend that reasoning.

Women have literally sent a man to space just by solving maths; women are mathematicians; women are world leaders; women are Rocket Scientists; Engineers; Lawyers; Ph.D. holders; Teachers; Doctors; Entrepreneurs; heck, we are less than one month away from electing the first female president of the United States. In case you missed the memo, we are equal and capable members of the society. So when the leader of the most populous black nation says on the world stage that his wife "belongs to his kitchen, his living room, and 'the other room'", I take offense. I take offense because reducing a woman's worth to what she can cook in the kitchen and/or whatever she does in 'the other room' is undoing centuries of hard-work by pioneer and contemporary feminists.

This is the same country where girls are being married off at age 14. This is the same country where a gender equality bill could not successfully pass in the legislature. This is the same country where an elected official threatened to rape his female colleague right on the SENATE FLOOR. This is the same country where women are denied the right to their fathers' inheritance just because of their unfortunate luck of having the XX chromosome. It is the leader of this same country that trivially referred to his wife like she's his property; like she's the furniture in his living room. No sir.

I know many people think it was an innocuous joke, and we angry feminists always have something to cry about. Yes, thank you. Just a couple of days after the International Girls Day, we can not afford to have the girl thinking all she can amount to is being a man's property. We can't have the girl aspiring to nothing else in life but the kitchen, and thinking the most dignified thing that can ever happen to her is to be some loser's Missus. No sir.

I deliberately did not mention the backstory to this misstep because I do NOT CARE. If the president and his wife can't fix whatever the heck is going on in their marriage within the four walls of "the other room", that's their business, not mine. What I know is that given their position, it wouldn't be too bad to foster a world of equality and mutual respect. I–as I imagine other feminists and frankly, every woman—take this quite seriously.

I also know there is the excuse of: what do you expect from a seventy something year old Nigerian northerner? No. We will not blame an entire religion, tribe, or demographic for one man's mistake. If he chooses to not follow the rest of the world into the twenty first century, that's on him.

In this seminal Facebook post aka manifesto by Chimamanda Adichie on how to raise a feminist, homegirl hit all the right spots but one point particularly stuck out to me: "Teach her to question language. Language is the repository of our prejudices, our beliefs, our assumptions." Sidebar: that post was legend—wait for it—DARY! All hail Queen Adichie.

So yes, I question Mr. President's language. More so against a backdrop of a society like ours, where for a long time women have been treated [side eye Nigeria Twitter] like apart from our cooking, we are a waste of space. We are not, sir.

Fix up Mr. President, fix up.

With Respect,


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