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Musings Of A Hipster Igbo Girl: Part 1

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Disclaimer: If I sound bitter in this article it is because I am. I am tired of people in unhappy/mediocre marriages trying to repeat the cycle with me and other Nigerian females. Most importantly, I am frustrated with people downplaying my worth and intelligence.

So I have a question: Is my worth as a Nigerian woman determined by my marital status? I hope that your knee jerk reaction to this is to say no. If so, then why am I being made to feel that every Ada, Fatima and Kemi that is married is better than me? There are a lot of articles on Jaguda about marriage pressures, but I always considered the stories a bit farfetched, kind of like a Nigerian movie. Well…not anymore.
I concurrently turned 24 and graduated from my Masters program this year. Before these milestones I had never discussed marriage with my folks as anything more than a sidebar. 2 days after graduation, my Father gives me the “Talk”. And no, I don’t mean the sex talk, I mean the marriage talk. He asks me about any potential relationships and basically tells me his conditions for marriage (which I should say are ridiculously limiting).

Needless to say, I waved all that aside as a one-off occurrence. How naïve was I? In the last couple of month’s marriage has featured prominently in my conversations with my family and old high school friends (thankfully my mother is excluded). Everyone wants to know; do you have a boyfriend? Are you thinking about the next thing, you know marriage? When are you getting married? On the surface, it’s all good. I do not have a problem with getting married. Like other females, I do dream of finding the right person and settling down. I do not have commitment issues, damaging dark secrets, or any great fear of the institution. However, I do believe that I must be with the right person who I can tell, “Take me the way I am.”

Admits all this talk the most ridiculous piece of “advice” (if I can call it that) I have gotten so far is to not pursue a doctorate degree. “Wait until you are married,” they say. “You will intimidate the men”, they caution. Now here lies my question: Why would I ever want a man who would be intimidated by a degree? And how important is marriage that I should put my life on hold while I wait for it? It’s also distressing that people still want women to stunt their personal growth for a man. Don’t misunderstand me; most of my family wants me to get the degree. Those that are against it are vocal minority of extended family members. Yet, I can only imagine how women who get such negativity on all sides must feel.

In my opinion, a man intimidated by a degree will spend our married life being intimidated because a degree is only the beginning. I believe marriage is a beautiful “partnership” in which both “partners” contribute equally. I highlight the word partner because one thing these kindly souls who are proselytizing the doctrine of marriage to me always emphasize is that when I get married my will is no longer my own. “There is no I in marriage [sic]”, they say. What they actually mean is; “For a woman, there is no I in marriage” (May I point out they is actually an “I” in there). If I am to believe what they say, does this rule apply to both the man and the woman? Why would a husband be intimidated by his wife’s success? He should be proud of her, so very proud of her, and she should be of him.
Apparently my ideals are radical and just a passing phase because as my family and many male friends say when I get “old” (a geriatric 27 yr old); I would be desperate for a man. Really? So I am almost too old to be unmarried but yet too young to know and understand my own mind and feelings. Hmmm….Sounds a bit contradictory to me.

I may be too romantic and maybe I’ve read too many Virginia Wolf books and admire Margaret Sanger a bit too much but I know two things:

One: Marriage is for life; and all the people clamoring for me (or you) to get married today will not be in my marriage with me. If I end up miserable all they will say is “Dibe” (bear it).
Two: I apologize to no one and my life will not just be endured, it will be lived to the fullest. “I can do bad all by myself”.


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Comments

Comments
  • Funmi August 9, 2011 at 3:34 am

    As much as I hate to say it, your friends or extended family members might be right. There are men who get intimidated by overly educated women, but consider it good weeding out.

    The issue is that there aren't as many men as there are women so some women in an attempt to get what they can have to put some stuff into consideration.

    Nice piece.

  • Original Igbo boy August 9, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Abegi. All this story story. I'm so sick of women whining and complaining about if their life is about , marriage or not. Women complain about it, give themselves the wahala, and somehow point at men as the problem… Park well please.

    • YesBoss August 10, 2011 at 12:29 am

      Naa, my guy, why you dey miss road like this na? Miss lizzy talk say na her family members, keyword 'family members' dey always ask am whether she go marry or not. Not in anyway did she point at men as the problem. If anything na society she dey blame

  • shadenonconformist August 9, 2011 at 3:48 am

    God bless you for this Lizzy..

    I couldn’t have said it any better.

    And that is all:)

  • shydiva August 9, 2011 at 3:49 am

    NAwa o..nice read but did someone ring bell for people to start talking about marriage?this post reminds me of what i read on Bella Naija Yesterday..

    • Lizzy Bennet August 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm

      I am not sure if someone rang a bell oh! However, I think Nigerian women come under immense societal pressure about marriage. It's only natural that at some point we get frustrated and need an outlet. The Bella Naija article was really nice.

  • Truth speaks August 9, 2011 at 6:53 am

    As far as i'm concerned any man that's intimidated by your wealth,education, or social standing is most likely not the man for you.keep searching, there's someone out there that would love you the way you are, and you have to do your own part by being submissive and I do not in any way mean being a door mat to be trampled upon. I'm almost 28, single,2nd in command in my office, very happy, and not planning on getting married at least for another year. I'm planing on aquiring yet another degree.If you feel marrige would put a hold to it, you can at least start the process before getting married.Even if i aquire a jet (which i would eventually) there'll be a man that'll be right for me, same goes to anyone. be happy abeg!marriage ko marriage ni, with all the divorce we see, the last thing you need is to get into the wrong relationship and get married simply cos ur under pressure.

  • nne August 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

    To an extent people that tell you in marriage there is no more “I” are right. You can’t say I want to go to the 10:30pm showing of a movie when your kids have to go to bed at 9:00pm. You have to consider your spouse when contemplating a job move etc.

    I will say thought that now is the time to start your Ph.D and your response to people telling you not to get your Ph.D is to ask them what if there’s a chance that you might meet your husband in school?

  • Guest August 9, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Great piece.. I have been thinking about this lately because in some of my conversations with certain men, it seems they are intimidated by my education, success etc. They will not outrightly say that but their actions will show it as some of them will try to put you down in different ways so they feel as though they are better than you are.

    I say keep acquring your degrees but don't close off avenues to meet men b/c the right man may just be around the corner. I think parents and other sometimes well meaning relatives fear because they think that while in school, we do not have a life and are only concerned with our books.
    So I will get my degrees, work and still attend social events and fraternise..

    • darkman August 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      Its a wonderful piece, but correct me if am wrong, but why would a man be intimidated because of your degrees?
      Sorry but I don't see it, I read you piece and taught about it for hours before I answered because I wanted wanted to picture it in my mind and its unimaginable. Do you really think men are that shallow, well probably not the men I know because we all have strongly encouraged the women in our lives to struggle for more masters and PhDs. If you could explain more I would be grateful, sorry it sound weird to me, but I can't help stop thinking about why women would think men would feel intimidated if they acquire more degrees.

      • Lizzy Bennet August 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm

        Thanks for giving the issue some consideration Darkman before replying. I do not think there is any reason for a man to be intimidated by a woman's success or degrees. And I think a secure man will have no problem with a woman's success. However, despite what I would like to think many men are insecure for various reasons (Going into them would require a new article). Unfortunately, it isn't a figment of our imaginations that some men, Nigerian men in particular are intimidated by successful women. Many women have had men admit that over educated women forget about the "natural leadership roles" and express their disinclination to be with a woman who has achieved more than them. But, I know a number of men who don't have that problem,so I am not damning the entire gender

  • Ibifiri August 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Very lovely piece.
    Marriage is one of the most fantastic thing on earth especially when you are with the man/woman of your dreams. Marriage can also be the worst thing on earth when you are with a very terrible man/woman.
    For me don't stop your life for anything. Live your life and the right man will come.
    Marriage isn't suppose to stop a woman/man's dream. It may slow it down maybe cos of lack of funds/ children etc just for a while, but shouldn't stop it at all. http://www.secretlilies.blogspot.com

  • YesBoss August 10, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Nicely written! The phrase I agree with most is: 'Marriage is for life; and all the people clamoring for me (or you) to get married today will not be in my marriage with me.' At the end of the day, you have to wonder if you are marrying because that's what everyone expects you to do or if that's what you really want. Marriage is good way to progress in life, don't get me wrong, be fruitful and multiply, companionship, no man is an island, and all that good stuff, but seriously not at the expense of your worth/opinionz. And I may be saying this because I'm < 27 yrs old, but I'm pretty sure it won't change when I hit that age. And I'll say this, I've heard it from everyone. It's awfully hard to get extra degrees when your married, if you put it off, you may not want to carry on…having kids being the main culprit. I've heard this said to me: 'Nigerian men don't care about your education, after all you are still a woman.' (I wasn't sure how to feel about that, lol) I think the men may be intimidated by education level if they're not at that level otherwise they frankly don't care. It usually comes down to who makes more money.

  • Adeniyi August 10, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Well, I’m the kinda guy that appreciates ladies pursuing a very high degree because I feel with that she’ll think in the direction I think.

    As for me I can’t marry a girl who has no masters degree (@least). And to my colleague (yes boss), d koko is who makes more money, if it’s the wife, fine, if it’s me wonderful, @ d end of our lives, we’ll hope the children be the beneficiaries.

    Peace out

    • Rep9ja September 9, 2011 at 3:46 am

      It easier said than done.. i quote you…d koko is who makes more money, if it's the wife, fine, if it's me wonderful…. but i tell u most men feel intimidated when d woman makes more money in the house.. coz they tend to believe she is either f****king her boss to get pay rise or sumfin and also most men also tend to bliv that women get proud when they are in the same rank with their husband and as a 9ja man we love been ontop..u knw na

  • coded August 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Good Article, different perspectives covered , family, friends,both male and female however marriage as an institution really depends on a whole lot of things,culture,background,family,environment and most importantly the individuals involved.Question is is the woman satisfied after attaining the most coveted degree ever? Is she happy because shes married and fulfilling societal rites of passage? Where does the balance btw family life and professional stop?Muse and do what gets you there cause that's really what matters eventually.

  • ByteChunks August 11, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Theres nothing that turns me on more than a woman who’s educated and can hold her own…..

    Well it all boils down to a guy’s background, environment and other factors which can contribute to the feeling of being intimidated, unsure or not intimidated by an educated woman…..

    Just live your life, touch the sky and u’ll still find the right man along the way…..

    its funny how we often worry about the things that elude us the most…..

    Great write up…..

  • bigthinz August 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Adeniyi Ʊ are so correct.
    Why isn’t there soceital pressure on the males folks..***just a thought***

    • that girl August 19, 2011 at 7:06 am

      dumb dumb, ok u need it spelt out…..its because of the ´biological clock´….it is believed men do not expire like women do…its d society we find ourselves….how many times do we laff wen a boy is called an ashawo but wen its a girl, we call her a hoe and roll our eyes….its just d whole inequality thing…..i think we should try to empathise with the opposite gender and the struggles they may go thru, just like in todays society a woman can decide never to work one day of her life, if a man wants 2 b a house husband, na wahala……if we cant empathise make we shut up

    • DeMorrieaux August 22, 2011 at 12:40 am

      Whatever made you think there isnt? Believe me, there is! I have seen quite a few of my young successful male friends(having gathered assets and wealth of all shapes, forms and sizes) being told "It is now time". In many societies- the Nigerian included- it is another mile-stone in life, a proof of "success". Once a man has attained to a certain level, it is only the tag "husband" that pays him even greater respect (or honour in the eyes of simple-minded, shallow, and ignorant men).

      As a woman- of course- that pressure pops up much earlier (as soon as one graduates, it seems). I remember how my parents forbade me to have male friends -not to talk of boyfriend/s- while I was still at school; but were quick to do the "marriage talk" just upon graduation. I always wondered where and when they thought the transition (time between no bf and prospective husband) would occur? Surely there should have been an "introduction to dating/courting" talk at some point ;)

  • tee-mow-tee August 24, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Sista i feel yhu joor! I wish yhu was ma sista n i wish more ladies wud b lyk yhu.

  • Eluwole Leke James August 24, 2011 at 6:12 am

    this crisis swings both ways!!! wen a man gets to a certain aga he`s expected to get a wife or one will be arranged 4 him esp by his mum!!! but like one commentator said it comes up early in a woman and its simply becos dem no want make meno-stop meet u as a single woman………dem must carry their grand pikin!!!
    but to address the article……any man intimidated by a woman`s degree or sucess does not in any way shape or form deserve her as a wife and such a man shud be avoided at all cost…….a note of caution to the woman though….tame ur pride no matter wat u`ve acheived!!!

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