Feminist is not a Slur

Do you know who my icon is? The person I hope to be like or be better than someday? It’s not Michelle Obama, not the President of Croatia and definitely, definitely not Beyonce. The person I look up to the most is my mom. I’m aware how cliché this sounds, believe me. But who says cliché has to be a bad thing?

Mom grew up in a backwater village in Anambra state, the only child –until she was 13- of nobodies. Her father was a trader, her mother sold akamu. She always tells me of the ridicule she got from her neighbours in her face-me-I-face your apartment. Who did she think she was, spending all her time reading and being the best in her class? What use is a girl that doesn’t know how to make fufu? While other girls in her village were settling into their “roles” and trainings as future wives, my mother decided she wanted to make something of herself. She resolved to be more than just someone’s wife. She planned to climb up the social ladder and not “marry up”. At the BIG age of 13, she decided. She worked hard, got a scholarship that put her through secondary school and university. All while her classmates were married off to one “rich” man or the other. Today, those mates with their “rich” husbands are uneducated traders with no form of independence. All their worth is attached to the number of sons they could bear.

There’s one particular story my mom told me that will forever stick in my memory. One day, while she was on “long vac(ation)” from secondary school, a man and his kinsmen came to her modest home in the village. They came in with their shoulders raised; looking down on her like she was nothing. They asked her to walk about and turn around so they could have a good look at her.  One of them said, “She will do nicely” in Igbo and gave her a sizeable bundle of money. A few days later, they came back to meet her father to say they were “ready to marry” Chinyere. My grandpa called my mom to ask if she’d agreed to this. My mother said “No one came to discuss anything with me, they only came to prize me like a cow and left. Am I a cow? Moreover, I am not getting married until I become a doctor”

And my people, that was exactly what my mother did. Dr Chinyere Ilonze is my forever mood.

But do you know what is funny? As much as I love this woman, her spunk and the defiant way she approaches the world of men, there’s still something missing. She never managed to unlearn some of the self-hate the world promotes in women. Maybe self-hate is a strong word. What better term should I use to describe the belief that being sexually harassed is either normal or somehow my fault? Or that certain jobs or roles cannot be filled by me, not because I’m unqualified but because I’m disqualified as a woman? Or how about defining my existence by my marital status, when a man is always a man but we are only complete women when we bears the Mrs.? What better word  than “self-hate” is there? Sure, just like my mother’s peers in the village, society suppresses women to the point where the only option they (believe they) have are to either take oppression lying down or make the most of it but allying with the “benevolent” man and master. If you ask me though, as much as society enforced this embargo on womankind, we as women also accepted it. And that, is where self-hate comes in.

You know what’s worse? The only force that exists to free us from this figurative and literal imprisonment is taking more hits that the women themselves. My mother gets so terribly awkward and uncomfortable around the term “feminist”. So did I, once.  Unfortunately, It took working in an organization that caters to women and girls going through all kinds of hardship, solely because of their gender. That’s what it took for me to realize that to be feminist is to be human, or at least to be rational. I’m ashamed that I needed that much convincing but now that my eyes are open, I can’t unsee it; the inequality, the discrimination, it’s alive, touching everything, leaving a distinct dirty aftertaste. Feminism is the only step in the right direction to fixing it. And we’re doing to it what we have done to every beacon of hope; trying to quench it.

In the bid to discredit us, the women who truly see, they mislabel us. Man haters, lesbians, ugly women, lonely women, women who have been hurt by men, rejected, gone unnoticed. Call us all sorts of things. I can’t help but notice that all these insults only prove our point. They think that the universe of a woman has to start and end with a man.  But you know what? I could be all of these things that you think a feminist is, or I could be none of them, it still doesn’t change the facts; I am human and I am no less human than anyone else, I shouldn’t be treated like I am otherwise. I am not out here trying to take from what you have, I only want to get what I merit.

Feminism has been criticized by thinkers and non-thinkers, and even by myself at one point, as a movement with no clear definition, no clear goal. We squabble amongst ourselves; who is a better feminist than the other; whose brand of feminism is best, more achievable, more realistic, more please-men-able. But here’s the truth, feminist can not mean one thing, because we’re not all the same and our lives are not all the same. Each feminist’s attainable milestones can not be the same. We’re a very unique movement, we cut across cultures, races, religions, ethnicities and realities  Can you think of any one human movement as big and diverse as us? Any one social problem that touches the lives of nearly 4 billion people? We’re allowed to have different voices. What we won’t allow is misconception that our diversity delegitimizes our cause.

The truth is, the whole conversation has been so skewed. It’s not actually about being equal to a man. I mean, no two men are even equal. It’s about being as human as men, deserving of the same rights, choices and privileges. And these rights and choices and privileges look different for each one of us in all our corners of the world. And that’s totally okay.

So, to all my ladies out there, still stuck behind the curtain, veils not having been removed yet; we’ll be here to catch you, if you ever happen to walk or crawl or stumble through. To those who can see but are still afraid of being called that dirty word: FEMINIST; I say embrace it, it truly does free you, I promise. And to the other side of this, you who have decided to stand as an opposition; I only hope that one day you fall through the curtain too and join us. The world is a better place when everyone embraces the equalness of our humanity. Feminist is not a slur, it’s the most rational state of being.

 

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UgoTalksAlot is 4!

So because I’m incredibly bad with dates, I just realised that this blog is 4 years old!

I mean I think I deserve some accolades!!!!

I want to specially thank everyone that has been reading the good, bad and terrible stuff Princess, I and some many other guest writers have put up. We’re really grateful. Like really, really grateful.

Hopefully, we will create even better content from here on out, so keep subscribing, keep reading, keep sharing and keep commenting!

PS. If you want to donate to this ministry, you know, things like prophet offering, second fruit, or if the lord touched your heart to lay a sacrifice for the benefit of our bank accounts, LISTEN TO GOD!

Is It Too Late To Say Happy New Year?

*removes cobwebs

*dusts microphone

Testing 1, 2, 3

*drops microphone when kick back comes in

*runs away

*tiptoes back and picks up mic

Hi everyone. Is anyone still out there? Hello, can you hear me? Okay, you can’t? That’s cool.

Anyway, let me start of by saying, on behalf of myself and the Supreme leader of the people of no kingdom we are really, really, really sorry for disappearing from your screens. Unlike the federal government of Nigeria we make no excuses for our mistakes but like the federal government of Nigeria we hope you will still give us your vote, money and eyeballses.

This really wasn’t how I planned to start this year. There were so many dope plans but January just came like an angry mad man and chased me away. It hasn’t even been a funny year. As a matter of fact I have half a mind to just fast forward and jump to December so I can try again in 2019.

Anyway not a lot has changed since I last posted here. The federal government of Nigeria is still crazy, I’m still not yet rich and more worrying, I still haven’t gone to find my long lost family in the obodoyibo.

What has changed is that I am studying the practical, theoretical and philosophical differences between the being unemployed and being in between jobs. I’m also thinking of what I want to do for masters and where I want to do it. Personally I don’t have energy for school but I’m Nigerian and that MSc is important for my children to have a chance at a good life.

So if you have any ideas of what I should study, press 1 and go to the comments section. If you have any ideas on where I should study press 2 and also go to the comment section (preferably somewhere that will not require burnt sacrificial offering in this day of N1 = £500). If you want to hire me in a freelance or sugar babyesque capacity you can send me an email at ugotalksalot@gmail.com.

With that being said, I have some annoying rants I will be making soon. To avoid missing those, subscribe to the blog so you can receive the fresh anointing tax free and straight to your inbox.

What Should You Pack For This Journey to 2018

We are swiftly reaching that 365 days mark that makes everyone go momentarily insane, believing that they can suddenly be a different person and live a totally different life on day 366 😂. #Newyearnewme and all that hoopla. Then by February, Valentine’s day will come and strip us of all the sense we managed to acquire. It’s the circle of life I guess, why fight it?
So, if you are wondering what outrageous resolution to make from January to March, and you have no idea, don’t worry let me help you small. We can cheat small, using the things that 2017 tried to teach us but some of us weren’t listening.

Resolution 1: Pledge Not to Sexually Harass Women in 2018

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Women are sexually harassed every day. It’s not a Harvey Weinstein problem or a Hollywood problem or a Donald Trump problem. As a wise man by the name of Trevor Noah said, sexual harassment and sexual assault is a man problem. So maybe as a guy, when you are planning to change for the better for the next few months, how about giving women a break from your wahala for a while. We would really appreciate it. You can talk to your friends, so it’s like a nationwide guys movement #MeninistsNG . Who knows, after a few weeks, you might like how it feels to get a woman’s attention without imposing yourself in her space.

Resolution 2: Working Remotely is Now the Default Option

 

anigif_enhanced-18849-1431683688-1They say leaders should lead by example right? Who is our leader? President Bubu. What does he do? He works remotely. Nigga was chilling throughout most of the year and sending us postcards of his enjoyment and he’s STILL President. He came back and as an IJGB he couldn’t handle the Nigeria again and he decided to cry “rat”. Even at some point, we had both President and Acting President, in same country!

President Bubu was just like ” please, I cannot come and go and kill myself”. So… Why should you? Are you better than your President? Resolve to live your best life this coming year my nigga. Don’t let work kill you. Work from home, take a freaking vacation.

Resolution 3: Too Much Wokeness Causes Insomnia

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Still in the mood of I cannot come and kill myself, let me ask you, all this your wokeness, who e don epp? Did you get any bank alat? Your mates that have been sleeping, didn’t they still reach the end of the year with you? The only difference is that you are reaching the end of the year carrying another person’s headache.
Let’s leave all this trans-age, trans-self, trans-sense things behind us. Wokeness to the point of disturbing ancient spirits and traditions? If they are not chasing you, why are you running? Relax please, life is not that serious. At the end of the day, we all die…so don’t be the one to kill yourself.

Resolution 4: Be Your Own Cheerleader

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Every year that passes, we show again and again that we care so much about people’s approval to the point of losing self-worth. No boo, blow your own trumpet and they will follow you.
No need to keep retweeting your picture for more likes. No need to tell lies just to retweets. No need to ruin your friendships for likes. People’s affirmation don’t make you and if we’re being honest, no matter how much attention you get in that moment, no one really cares about you. We’ll move on to the next interesting thing. So what have you gained?
Do better in 2018

Resolution 5 : Feminists Are Not The Enemy

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Imagine you write a test and you’re sure you did really well. The results come out and your score is pretty bad. You check other people’s answers and they all wrote exactly what you wrote but were given better scores than you. Wouldn’t you want to take it up with the teacher? Does you getting a better score affect that of those who scored well? No. This is just an example of the inequality and discrimination women face and are fighting against. And instead of getting support, everyone is busy trying to invalidate our claims. Trying to change the conversation to cooking arguments and paying for the date arguments. Or misquoting scripture and implying that God that created man, both male and female is a misogynist.
Why though? us getting equal treatment doesn’t affect you. We are human just like you. We work just as hard, just in different ways, yet you expect us to accept less reward and take it quietly?
In 2018, do us a favour, whether you are male or female, you may not agree with cause, but you really don’t have to oppose it either. We aren’t trying to take what is yours, we just want our fair share.

Resolution 6: The Only #goals You Need is To Do What Actually Makes You Happy.

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Some of your mates are millionaires. Some of them have the cutest boyfriend/girlfriend. Some of them are married. Some of them are slay-queens. Some of them travel around the world on a whim. Meanwhile, you are still trying to figure your life out. When people ask you “so what are you doing these days” you cringe and now you are letting the pressure of trying to reach #goals push you into making stupid decisions.

You don’t have it all figured out, we are all working on different timelines. There’s no rush, we all shine in different ways at different times and that’s okay. The best way to move forward is to compete with yourself, not others. Try and beat your own record and you’ll see yourself making progress every day.

2018 is another year. It might be amazing, it might not be. That’s not pessimism, it’s just fact. All in all, as long as there’s life, there’s hope. Man makes plans and resolutions but it’s God who makes things come to fruition. So, for me, my mantra for the year is simple: In God I Trust. You can join me if you like.

2017 has been another wild rollercoaster ride, I’m looking forward to another one. See you on the 2018 side.

Biggest Lessons Learned This Year

I’m going to be 23 in a few days and I wanted to share some of the biggest lessons I learnt as a 22 year old. I hope they help some of you and save you the stress of learning them the hard way.

First things first,

1. Avoid having just one source of income:

The hustle in Nigeria is very real. Sometimes you can be employed and your bank account will not know it because salary does not enter like that. So, get a side hustle, if you can get a second job that allows you work remotely. I could have learnt this the hard way but I’m grateful I didn’t and it payed off. The pay for your side gig doesn’t have to be fantastic because this could just be to supplement your income and keep you alive should someone owe you salary.

2. Savings are still a thing:

The honest truth is that it’s very difficult to save if you live in Nigeria but savings will keep you alive. Take away a portion of your monthly income(s) and keep it somewhere, it could be really small like N5,000 a month or really large. It depends on how much you make. Just make sure something is being saved. Here’s a tip, open a bank account and do not collect a debit card and dont download the bank app. If I’m being totally realistic with you, you most likely will dip into your savings before you want to, but at least you had savings to start with.

3. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture:

This is something I continue to grapple with, because for a lot of us young people, our present jobs or internships are not where we really want to be but we have to pay the bills to fund our dreams. I’ve tried to not lose sight of my dreams, I keep reminding myself about them and keep working towards them. Whether it’s furthering a career, going back to school or an alternate career path, don’t get lost in the sauce you’re currently in.

4. Do your job well:

There are a lot of things that are complain-worthy in the workplace on a daily basis, one thing you don’t want anyone complaining about is your work ethic. At the very least you want every complain about your work ethic to be left without a leg to stand on. Do your job well, show up to work on time, let everything you need to do be done before you work closes. Part of doing your job well is that you ask questions and are completely clear on what is expected of you. I tried to do this a lot this year, I always asking and trying to understand what was expected on every given task and I like to think it paid off.

5. Learn:

For the first few months this year my reading habit was out of the widow. Scratch that, I didn’t have a reading habit because I wasn’t reading anything. I’d like to tell you that there was some larger than life reason why that happened but it was just laziness. I had to sit myself down and remind myself how important it was to keep learning and acquiring new information and after that talk I stood up and went to find something to read. To be honest it doesn’t matter much whether you’re reading novels or some philosophical book about purpose of mosquitoes, just make sure you’re reading something.

Let me just add that you don’t get points for finishing every book you open. If the book wasn’t what you thought it would be dump it and move on to another one. It’s not by force.

6. NYSC is a waste of your time so give yourself something better to do.

These are some of the best lessons I’ve learnt this year. They’ve helped me, I hope they help you too and if there’s any tip you want to add, the comment section is wide open. I’d love to hear from you.

What the PDP convention tells us as we enter the 2019 election season.

With the election season entering top gear, Nigeria’s opposition party PDP, decided to have its convention and finally settle a two year leadership tussle that had seen the party fall behind APC. With Atiku Abubakar, arguably Nigeria’s best branded politician moving back to the party from APC, the convention should have been a moment to put APC on notice and inspire Nigerians, it did not live up to the expectations.

While the convention had all the ingredients to motivate PDP’s core supporters, it was more of the same political rigmarole in a time when Nigerians are looking for something else.

The results of the PDP convention are worrying for a plethora of reasons. For one, Nigeria’s two biggest thug life governors, Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike and Ekiti state governor Peter Fayose put what was left of PDPs old guard on notice. The party, in 2016 had agreements to zone the chairmanship to the south-west, Wike apparently didn’t get the memo as he put his weight behind Uche Secondus and shoved out heavy weights like Bode George and Otungba Gbenga Daniel.

Despite Bode George’s rants about this in a press release, it is difficult to be sympathetic to a man who after many years of “service” is a crystal clear representation of the crop of Nigerian leadership that has led the country to the conundrum that it is now in. In fact Bode George is crying because for the first time in a long time he has tasted a medicine he had distributed to so many over the counter and that is joyous to behold.

But the joy is a short one because a PDP at the beck and call of Wike or Fayose for that matter is not really the type of party that Nigeria needs and it doesn’t matter whether they are the opposition or in government, like APC, they’re just not it.

The absence of women and young people in PDPs core positions show that the party is not ready to change or reinvent itself to the times. It is not even prepared to pretend. With Fayose’s stomach infrastructure and Rivers state’s money PDP may do well for themselves come 2019, but history has told us that what is good for PDP or APC for that matter is not always good for Nigeria.

What then can ordinary Nigerians do? Time is ticking and with APC and PDP at the forefront of Nigeria’s leadership tussle the projections do not bode well for an inspirational or impactful election season.

There are a lot of small impact things we can do, one is to join political parties whether it’s APC or PDP. We need to get in there en mass and we need to stamp our foot down and not settle for more of the same.

Second is to become open and comfortable with the idea of exploring options outside the PDP and APC. Some of the smaller party candidates we will see in the coming months may or may not have a profile of Atiku’s popularity and they will definitely not have the bank of the two political titans but can we not automatically assume all of them are incompetent? We need to settle and examine their proposals and plans on a case by case basis.

Third, vote PDP or APC on a policy basis. Elections in Nigeria are rarely ever about the policy, sometimes they are about proposed actions but never about the how to (the plan). They are always about the person and the party. We can’t afford that in 2019. Support whoever you want to but make sure you know and agree with what they want to do and how they say they want to do it. Ask questions!

Finally vote! Your vote matters, it counts, your vote can decide a ward and that ward can decide a state. It matters. Do not sell it and if you must eat Ayo Fayose’s rice, still vote with your conscience. Nigeria cannot afford for you to be apolitical, get down in the grind put your ears to the floor and consult your brain. God help us and let 2019 be favorable for all those who want Nigeria’s progress.