Oftentimes we rant and express our utmost distaste for patriarchy—it’s subtle and pronounced nuances, especially as it affects the privileges accrued to men. The world has made it easier to spot the privileges of a sexist male and is even quick to judge the actions of men, sometimes in brutal ways. However, there is the flip side of this coin of gender privilege, which has been unchecked over time. Because of the unfairness of the system, society has been blinded to the existence of female privilege as all eyes have been glued to the misbehaviours of men. With men, it’s easier to draw the line, but then, when it comes to the woman and her actions, we find that the algorithm is fluid and subject to certain occurrences. We find that the line is not particularly straight. There’s a fluctuating curve in between the straightness. At what point can a woman be regarded as gaining an undue advantage on the basis of her gender?
I had managed to scurry myself into the back of the car, while the judging eyes of the woman sitting next to me trailed behind. From the looks she gave, it was no telling that I had acted “ungentlemanly” in getting space inside the small bus. It’s been a long day and anyone familiar with the troubles of getting a bus at Iyana Oworo would understand that Lagos is not for the faint-hearted. I buried my face inside the Instagram application on my phone. I was met with a video of Ruger being sexually harassed by a lady while performing on stage. She had grabbed him from the stands and kissed him. How on earth did she think this was cool? And to think that this was the second time the songster is being harassed while performing is appalling. The news as expected did not trend on social media. It was almost like it didn’t happen. A lady had once groped him by the balls. She had even gone further to make a case for herself, shouting down critics that she had merely groped his balls and not killed him. It’s the audacity for me.
The video irritated me. I reclined my head on the headrest and ruminated on the ills of gender privilege. I juxtaposed Ruger’s predicament with how your fave had attempted to carry another female artiste while performing on stage and had grabbed her by the butts. The backlash was immediate and swift. We all agreed he crossed the line and called him out. Society has grown numb to how women think they’re entitled to get away with certain misbehaviours and actions. In the quest for a balanced world, we have sidelined the downturn effect of certain acts, forgetting that these actions and inactions have a boomeranging effect on the moral scale of balance. I also thought about what the older woman described as my “ungentlemanly” behaviour – I had refused to give up my seat for a lady and also refused to block the entrance from other passengers so her friend could get a seat. These were the acts she found “Ungentlemanly”. She had ignored the salient facts that we all needed to go home, that the ladies were in the same age range as me, and that giving up my seat meant waiting for another bus whose time of arrival was not certain and there was a possibility of an increased bus fare. We were all in the same situation. Blocking the entrance for just one person would be an unfair advantage against other commuters, and her only reason for wanting me to give up my seat was that they were ladies, and as a man, I should understand and be considerate.
Entitlement, Sexual harassment and physical abuse are part of the many subtle sins a woman can easily get away with. When a man does any of the above he is immediately called out, cancelled and punished accordingly. Sadly, there are many angles and explanations when the roles are reversed and the man is on the receiving end. We clamour for a gender-balanced world but then it is hypocritically contradictory when ladies think they should enjoy certain benefits simply because of their gender and that men should be exposed to a higher degree of danger, simply because they are men. That the degree of responsibility must always adjust in a woman’s favour. Isn’t this what the fight against patriarchy is largely based on? We see men as always horny creatures that can’t be sexually harassed because “a man never says no to sexual advances.” The resultant effect is that men won’t come out to confidently report the violation because society would either be in disbelief or shame men for being violated. The age-long moral cliché of real men don’t hit women has aided women to confidently abuse men physically and emotionally because deep down she hopes to play the feminine card and maintain mental health should the man try to either retaliate or defend himself from such attacks. This is the flip side of the coin we never toss.
Ladies, you can’t eat your cake and have it. I get the need to want to be pampered, but then if we are going to create that balance, we need to understand that there are pros and cons for every system and that female privilege, just like male privilege, is bad-a person’s bad behaviour should not be excused simply because of their gender and don’t dare cry mental health. You won’t get a pass just because…
Let’s all just agree that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. It is not okay to hit people unless it is done out of self-defence and nobody has the right to disrespect or violate another person.