THE SEVEN NECESSARY SINS FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS.
1. ANGER: You must be very angry at patriarchy.
2. ATTENTION: Command attention, you deserve it.
3. PROFANITY: You should freely say “fuck.”
4. AMBITION: Take up space and own it.
5. POWER: Aspire to have it.
6. VIOLENCE: Do not hesitate to choose vawulence.
7. LUST: Fuck and bask in your sexiness.
PS: These are my personal, very brief summary of the listed sins, they’re not the author’s thoughts.
Wondering about what to gift the women you’d like to give something to? You can include Mona Eltahawy’s THE SEVEN NECESSARY SINS FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS. No matter how old or young the person is, I think every person must read this; women, girls, boys and men. Because we can’t keep educating femininity alone and expect masculinity to magically transform from their patriarchal shitty ways, right?
Anyways, I shall be talking about the first necessary sin, “talking” because just pretend I’m indeed talking, okay?
“Sisí, you’re bold!”
I’ve heard this countless times. I don’t think I am bold, at least that’s not the original emotion I feel when I do something that looks seemingly bold. I am angry! I am a very very very angry bitch and you don’t want to mess with that anger! Patriarchy makes me furious! And it is with that anger that I fight back and I say “fuck the patriarchy!”
I knew what was on the line when I wrote the book I wrote about abortion rights in Nigeria. I knew what I was challenging. I’m taking the fight for body autonomy rights beyond what NGOs especially gatekeep and that’s beyond the law. I’m saying the law has no right to determine or decide what should be made “legal” or “illegal” over OUR bodies that belong to nobody else in the first place! I’m saying the law and the lawmakers can go fuck themselves! I’m saying it doesn’t matter if the Nigerian Government make abortion legal, we have every right to make the calls over our own bodies, it should not be “given”!
I’m saying IF IT’S NOT YOUR BODY, SHUT THE FUCK UP!
You seriously think I am not afraid one bit? You seriously think I sometimes don’t shake and get overwhelmed and scared and all? I do! I’m human, just like everyone else. I am VERY afraid, but I am VERY angry and that anger overcomes whatever fear I have and I go right ahead and fight!
I think of the 20,000 women who die annually in Nigeria due to unsafe abortion and I get mad that those deaths are avoidable. I think about the many times many women and I have been harassed by sexist bastids on the streets because we’re women and our dresses must be policed. I think about that bastid soldier who beat up a woman in Ìbàdàn because of the way she was dressed! I think about #EndSars that harass young people in Nigeria and tell us what to wear and what car to drive and say we must wallow in poverty while the ruling class keeps looting.
I think about the many times I’ve been punished for having sex by just about everyone around me. I think about that day when nurses refused to help me when I had this crazy menstrual cramp and I was crawling and screaming on the floor. I was punished based on the SPECULATION that I had sex, got pregnant, and aborted. I think about the fact that there are fake postinors in the market and all what these self-righteous bastids want to think of is “abortion is murder!” I think about how something so trivial as having sex is made into a taboo, I’m angry that women get punished for having sex and that sex ed is basically non-existent in Nigeria and y’all just keep screaming “don’t get pregnant!” I think about the fact that I got pregnant because of a fucking fake postinor and NONE of my so-called feminist comrades said ANYTHING, especially on a group we were putting together to fight for abortion rights. They kept quiet, and the older manipulative controlling ones just wanted to waste my energy and asked me to come back when I left. I think about how those folks kept quiet and didn’t say shits! And I am angry. I am very very very angry at what patriarchy and capitalism have done to humanity to become so selfish and I fight back!
I am not bold, I am angry! That’s how it works!
I have a tiny frame. A very tiny frame. And I never get fat. It’s these days when I exercise that I’m building some core strength and getting some muscles hidden underneath my slim body. It would be easy for anyone to say they want to attack me alright? Because I look vulnerable and I have a very calm face. But I tell you that it’ll be VERY difficult for sexists to want to think of attacking me than it would be for them to attack muscular and big women. I tell you that they’d rather go make victims out of any other woman who isn’t as angry as I am than face me.
I would read stories of women being beaten up by men and wonder what the fuck they were doing while being beaten? Cowering and crying? You can’t look for a fucking heavy object and smash on the fucker’s back and break his spinal cord or som’n? Of course they can. But they’ve been conditioned to never face men, and to be never angry, let alone be angry ENOUGH.
The anger has been battered out of those women by patriarchy.
They take this very necessary weapon away from us right from when we were little girls.
“Don’t be angry, you’re a woman!”
While the anger is reserved for boys and men and they take the anger out on us. We’re left defenseless as we don’t even have the ability to be angry anymore about our pitiable plights under patriarchy.
Since I was little, you don’t fucking mess with me. I’d beat you up!
Nobody harassed or bullied me throughout my primary and secondary school and even in the university. I’d give you right back! I always give people what they deserve, or at least what I think they deserve.
The only boy that tried bullying me in school, I beat him blue and black! I was afraid of Leye. He was this big muscular hunk of a boy and I was just a tiny tiny girl and I avoided him like a plague. He rose on the social peck order almost immediately he came to our school and I was the only girl who he couldn’t submit yet. One day, this boy intentionally beat my groundnuts out of my hands and scattered them on the floor. Now, if you’ve been following my story, it’s no news when I say I come from a poor family. Things have changed now, for my family and for me, things have changed. But we were fucking poor back then and this boy, who still had his anger intact so much so that he could easily get mad at me for no reason, took my groundnuts and scattered it on the ground. Ha, omo see hunger na? A hungry person is angry, no doubt. But I wasn’t mad at the hunger, I was mad at HIM. He’d been circling me for a long time. My gawd, I beat Leye! I beat the shit and sexism out of Leye. Now that I remember, I think he used to train at a gym. I beat him and put sand in his eyes and mouth while holding him down in a gutter and our school gardener, Mr Frank (very nice man) had to come save him while the rest of the class cheered.
And I tell you, I was tiny like a stick and Leye was muscular and I beat him up! ALL I had was my anger. Without anger, Leye would have beaten me up! I would have cowered “like a girl”, and he would have beaten me up and continued to harass me and y’all would continue to say “boys will be boys” and that girls are weak. This sexist trope is wrong on so many levels because girls are generally not allowed to build and train their muscles while boys are made to take part in activities that build core strength. In cases where a girl is very strong, she cannot beat up a boy, she is mentally caged to not attempt it, because then she “loses” her femininity, her essence, her identity, her rent to pay for existing. Boys/men are NOT naturally stronger than girls/women, it’s all social conditioning.
They didn’t succeed in taking that away from me at home. Of course, I had sexism reigning supreme in my house. I heard “you can’t successfully have a husband with this your attitude” many times. They’re right, I won’t have any husband. The marriage institution is full of sexist shits and women oppressions and other women could get inside so we can use them as case studies on how and why the marriage institution is bad for women and reduces our potentials in every way, but not me. Not ME. I won’t be one of the case studies, ever.
I was quick to physically defend myself when I was younger and I realized anyone that wanted to attack me quickly mellowed when they saw my display.
I’d be screaming and shouting with a convinced ferocity:
“If dem born you well, touch me. I will beat you! I will do this and that.”
All those touts draw back with alarm in their faces. I’m currently twenty-six and I can count the number of times anyone tried to beat or cheat me.
I look at all cases of domestic violence and I tell you that those men didn’t beat up those women just because they were physically stronger, it’s because women have been socially conditioned to ‘submit’ to men, their anger taken away from them and they can’t even fight back even in defense anymore! All the men I’ve taken up didn’t get scared necessarily because I could beat them up, I mean I obviously can’t, they got scared because I tried fighting back AT ALL. They ain’t used to that! I’m supposed to cower. Most female victims of domestic violence got that anger taken away from them! Anger has been my most potent shield and weapon and I swear to you that patriarchy is VERY VERY VERY afraid of women’s anger! Look around you, sexists are afraid of women’s anger. Try to take up a man one day and see the way he’ll flare up and become VERY defensive and afraid! Just take a moment to think of VERY ANGRY women coming together and saying “we’re so done with these shits!” Imagine that we have women angry enough to never be caught dead enabling patriarchy. Simone de Beauvoir says:
“The oppressor would not be so strong if he did not have accomplices among the oppressed.”
The women who join in mocking feminists for being “angry” and “bitter” are the ones I pity the most. You’ve been cornered so much you’ve lost your ability to be angry and your pathetic self thinks you’re better than women who still have their anger intact, who still resist and fight. You think you’re better than women who still matter even to themselves?
Sexists are very afraid of our anger.
Why do you think they quickly label you angry and bitter? Why do you think they demonize your anger and bitterness against patriarchy so much? Like being angry for not being treated right is a bad thing? Come on, smell their fear!
They’re afraid of you!
NB: Men are not generally physically stronger than women, women have only been conditioned to accept that we’re physically weaker. There’s a difference.
Of course they would call me mad.
Sanity is subjective and according to patriarchy, of course I’m mad and bitter because “normally”, I should be meek and submissive and cowering and never even be able to look in men’s eyes and here I am, telling you “if dem born you well, misbehave, we die here!”
It is because of my anger that I have overcome every mess thrown at me by my abusive mother, by the family institution, by patriarchy, by capitalism and by every other system of privilege. It is because I am angry that I can still be fighting, that I’m saying “I had abortions, arrest me if dem born you well!” That I’m saying “fuck the patriarchy!”
Every woman and girl needs this kind of anger to survive, PLEASE stop beating or conditioning it out of little girls.
They deserve to be angry.
They MUST be angry!
Without that anger in this patriarchal world, they’re as good as dead!
And it’s time to stop raising girls who grow up to be generations of women who gatekeep for patriarchy and become doormats for men! It’s time to start raising girls who will never grow up and become “our mothers.”
It’s time to raise a generation of angry women and girls!
Now the question is WHERE IS YOUR ANGER?
Written by Sisí Afrika.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY.