Can the Domestic Nigerian Men Please Stand up?
Soon after A Heart to Mend came out, I blogged about a reader who felt Edward was too emotional, and how that made the book seen western, or Edward not Nigerian enough. In his opinion, real Nigerian men are not romantic nor do they show their emotions. I know this is a mindset many other people share, and I have heard it from both male and female readers of my novels.
Another generalization that is often made about the real or 'typical Nigerian man' is that he is not domestic. It is consistently shown and believed to be true beyond questioning that our country men do not, can not, and will not, help around the house. You see it in movies, read about it in books, and probably hear it in songs.
I cannot say I do not know where this is coming from, in my home growing up, the chores were shared by gender. Boys did the men-chores like washing the car and carrying heavy stuff, while girls did the cooking, cleaning and taking care of the babies.
However, by the time we all grew up and became more independent, everyone learnt to take care of themselves which included boys cooking, and girls getting to wash their own cars, or change their light bulbs. But then socialization can be so hard to overcome, so when most people get married, they find that they revert to the gender roles status quo.
Sometimes this works for those involved, especially where the home is traditional in the sense that the man works and the woman is a full time home maker. But where the woman works outside the home too and has to add that to housework, or the man wants to do stuff but feels locked out, they may be allowing themselves to get boxed in, and end up resentful and their relationship suffocated.
Funny enough, it always causes an uproar when anyone tries to suggest that men become more domestic and try to do those chores traditionally considered for the females, like cooking or taking care of the little ones. Who else have seen the picture below, or seen the discussions it spawns anywhere it appears?
Personally, I prefer when both people can pitch in and help each other out when situation calls for it, and so it was with a smile I admired the pictures on top of Peter Okoye of PSquare which he shared himself cooking, and taking care of his kids. I applaud Peter because some men do these house work, and take care of their children, but will never let it be known for whatever reasons, mostly chauvinistic.
Now that we're trying to be real, can the domestic Nigerian men please stand up?