The whore is that woman you see every day, perhaps on your way to work, in traffic, at a wedding reception or even at the club.

The whore is the average, single, independent Nigerian woman who lives alone and works hard to earn her own money. A harsh description you might think, but true nonetheless; they say the most important things to listen to are generally the things we do not want to hear… this is one of those.

Although it is the 21st century, most Nigerians still live in a pretty much close-minded society where women are still second-class citizens. It is still a ‘man’s world’ and, in my opinion, it always will be, but this doesn’t mean us women cannot fight till we take our last breath to earn some respect.

I have been called a whore (or ‘ashewo’ as the typical Nigerian would say) more times than I can count. Although it used to make me incandescent with rage especially as I rarely ever get ‘some’, in time I developed what I like to call ‘leather skin”. The disparaging words now began to roll off of me like oil on leather.

Because I am an opinionated and irreverent woman, I never hesitate to speak up for myself whenever I overhear snide remarks about a woman’s character or lack of it. Basically, most people in this society believe a woman that acts like a man is a slut.

Allow me to buttress my point with a recent experience.

I was on a random lunch date with my old high-school friend Gbemi two weeks ago, and although Gbemi is not the chirpiest person I know, that day I noticed she was quieter than usual. She barely ate her lunch, she just played around with her food and my effort at making conversation kept hitting a brick wall. After a few more minutes of loud silence I had to speak up.

“What’s wrong babe?” I asked quietly, “Don’t you like the food?”

“It’s not the food Karen, it’s perfect. I just have a lot on my mind and I’m afraid my appetite seems to have gone on a long trip,” she replied with a sigh.

“So do you wanna talk about it?” I asked as I pushed my half-eaten plate of rice aside.

She nodded.

Pay attention.

This is the crux of the matter.

Gbemi is an extremely good-looking twenty nine year old woman, single, smart, ambitious, with a good job as a bank manager in one of Nigeria’s most reputable banks; basically, an independent woman.

The problem is, she rarely ever has stable relationships.

And so over our now forgotten lunch, we put our heads together and analyzed her situation.

Below are the conclusions we derived after much analysis:

Firstly, from experience I have realized that most Nigerian men especially tend to be wary of young women who live alone. They always assume that a normal, well brought up woman should live with her parents till she gets married.

A flawed thinking at its best, a classic case of what I call committing the ‘fallacy of hasty generalization’. I maintain that you should not judge a woman solely based on that, a morally bankrupt woman is a morally bankrupt woman regardless of who she lives with. It is common for most to cast aspersion and attribute the success of a single woman to how many men she has bedded rather than to her mental and physical ability. I maintain that not every woman at a top position in a company slept her way to the top; not every woman who is a successful entrepreneur slept her way to profit; this kind of judgment is the degradation and sexism that women in this part of the world are subjected to daily.

Secondly, some men find independent, successful women intimidating, this breed of men is more comfortable with women they feel superior to, these men still have the “a woman’s place is in the kitchen” mentality, they are best avoided.

Thirdly, there is the very important obstacle called insecurity. Some men feel highly intimidated by assertive women, although most of them deny it but this is the truth. When a man meets a woman like Gbemi for example, even if he is attracted to her and would like to start a relationship, the underlying fear that he might be taking on more than he can handle weighs in. That little voice that says, “Dude, are you sure you can handle this woman? Will she agree to date you or laugh at the suggestion that you want to be her man?” usually gives them pause, and then they discard the thought of being with you and move on to easier prey.

This analysis brought me to the sad realization that it is indeed a tough world for the independent woman, not only does she have to fend for herself in a cock-driven world, she also has to endure the aspersions cast on her character and live with the fear that she just might end up alone if she doesn’t cede and become less successful than she is.

Thankfully, worthy men exist, men who are confident enough to be in a committed relationship with a career woman. Though they are hard to find, I believe there are still a few out there.

 

As always, I would like to know your thoughts on this subject. But before I go I will leave you, my strong, independent women, with the same words I left my dear friend with that afternoon:

” We will not bow, we will not fall, we will not apologize for who we are, we are queens, we are magnificent women, we run the world.”

 

27 Responses

  1. Henry

    “Some men feel highly intimidated by assertive women, although most of them deny it but this is the truth” <– this makes it almost impossible for a man to make a comment on this matter here, his possible answer has already been shot full of holes before making them. So I guess this is more of a female only article.

    Reply
  2. femmme fatale

    notice the use of the words ‘some’ and ‘most’ not ‘all’. thanks.

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  3. Hughes

    It would seem as the world through technology get smaller so does the minds of most people living in it. Lovely write-up.

    Reply
  4. efe

    issues like this will remain the bane of being a single lady and I’m not confident about how much changes can be made. Ideas like this are embedded in our society. Only men are accused here when TRUTH is even fellow women are the crusaders of such belittling ideology(especially the under achieving and poorly motivated ones)

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  5. vivian

    I agree with you karen….before I got married, I had an ex boyfriend ask me…’why are you so hard to ‘control’? You can imagine my shock!!…he tried to backtrack and say that what he meant was I never listen to him…bah!… I knew what the hell he meant and that is why I am not married to the selfish inferior feeling twat today…..until Nigerian men admit that they are intimidated by intelligent, assertive and successful Nigerian women..we will always have this problem…sadly it seems more of us women are going against our character and pretending to be what we are not in order to land these men that do not deserve us, thus setting ourselves up for more BS and heartache in future….sigh…never ending BS cycle!!

    Reply
  6. Michelle Spice

    To all my strong, bold, hardworking, independent, intelligent or not so strong sisters’ out there in the world at large, keep doing you. If you don’t identify with any of the adjectives think about what you want and start on the road of accomplishing it. Its never easy but you can do and be anything you put your mind to.

    As for the men times have changed and whether you have changed or want to change you better understand what is happening in the world and in the minds and spirit of women! You have allowed your egos way too long to keep you prisoners’ and have divided you from your strong women.

    Most of the time when I meet Afrikan men they are truly fearful of strong and outgoing women and they lose out in making these women their partners in life because these women end up going to marry into other races and further depleats our afrikan race…

    Men and women are unions and must understand that. We have to learn to give and take, we must all encourage each other to grow or else neither of the sexes will be progressive! As for the Afrikan culture we can’t allow other influences to shape the way we think and act toward each other! We must be the change that is necessary for our empowerment and future growth.

    Fear and igrnorace are truly bad things, but when you embrace them and work them out you can conquor anything you set out to do or be.

    Lovely article my sistah continue to inspire the others that are not critical thinkers and critical analayzers and doers, their is always room for change and growth, they will get there some time and by then will have had something positive to contribute..

    Peace in the kingdom

    Reply
  7. Karen Eloke Young

    @Henry: thanks for commenting but this is not a female only post.
    @ALL : thanks guys for reading this and sharing your thoughts. Together we can make the world a better place for both sexes, one step at a time.

    Reply
  8. Dapo Ajose-Adeogun

    Something to consider is what the lady’s expectations and desires are. Are most of those men who give up before trying not right? How many men actually meet your friends criteria for a desirable man? In my experience, “advanced” women tend to have high expectations too! They actually want a man that can be looked up to on every level and at the same time want a meek or loving, sensitive man who always has time for them and is so in touch with his feminine side. Sorry girls! Successful men are mostly very busy sharks just like you and will eat you with their coffee in the morning!

    Women are different from men in that regard. Men are generally able to accept a woman’s limits notwithstanding that they would rather condescend when making a choice. Women on the other hand have difficulty continuing to look up to a man they find themselves towering over. Even if he’s a doctor saving thousands of lives or a minister, a real minister with a flock of thousands; she will never see him as complete if he does not command a fat bank balance and mix with the high and mighty.

    What I have to advise is this. Don’t waste time! Find your man as soon as possible, preferably before you start climbing that ladder. Mind you, you will change as you grow, but it goes both ways. The status quo is men on top. To change that you have really think about what it takes to be a man on top. EQUALITY is the answer. To be at the top you must decide which way you want it. Really! What’s so special to you about being given flowers and having cars doors opened for you when your power and financial success pays for such trappings on an everyday basis. Being taken out to dinner is special because it soaks up both time and money. If there is a surplus of both, it will mean nothing to most queens or “magnificent” women. Not so?

    I could go on but, who would pay me? If its all for free! So long.

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  9. Uleoma

    Couldn’t agree more …. Nice one karen … I really hope more women would read this and be inspired … Success is Elegance , only a responsible man would understand this .. Not resent it.

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  10. Vera Ezimora

    I like! It’s unfortunate that successful women are automatically seen as whores, but the problem lies with the men who think this way. They should not even be considered.

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  11. Dammy

    We are not saying we want to be men or take up the position of a man. We are saying that Men should recognize that they are still men no matter how much more ambitious, richer, faster we are than they are. Realise that our super-successes does not make you less of a man,respect yourself for who you are and respect us as intelligent women. And yes! We do think we deserve the best men. Make yourself the best of men.

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  12. johnson

    Most successful women are sluts…forget all this english you ve written…no body is judging anybody…gbemi ur fictional xter is obviously reaping the rewards of her past misdeeds..make she dey dere dey cry..the fact remains its a mans world…get over it..

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    • Wallace

      Uncouth child (Mr Johnson above). What a nasty thing to say. Do yourself a favour and learn from those who know better or do some growing up. Until then, let the grown ups do the talking.

      Reply
    • vivian

      Johnson, you are kidding with this response right? Most successful women are sluts? I mean where does one even start from? You don’t know how to put up structured or logical responses to the arguments above instead you dive straight into mudslinging? How very manly of you….

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    • Uju

      Johnson, by that comment you have unfortunately attested that your mother and sisters may also be sluts! Just stating the obvious. Below the belt aye? Next time when you have nothing constructive to say you keep quiet.

      Reply
  13. A-s

    Nice article Karen,

    The thing is, girls like gbemi facing challenges like this could be due to Karma, ill-luck or just what I call “Bad positioning”. What I always tell my female friends going through such times is simple – Enjoy what you have worked for, and when the man who’s meant for you will come….he will come AND YOU WILL KNOW he’s the one, but do not deceive yourself when the fake ones come before him cuz you’d know they are fake.

    Though its sad some women have to lower their standard of living and facade in-order to attract men that will be “Brave” enough to date them.
    ….But have you ever stopped to think about why most men feel this way?….A LITTLE of the answer lies in what Dapo Ajose-adeogun wrote above – EXPECTATIONS of these ladies.
    No one is saying its bad to aim higher in your expectation in a partner, but like with everything in life…sometimes your wishes may comes true, sometimes they’d come true in a not so nice package. The truth is most ladies nowadays dont want to WORK nor BUILD for a perfect relationship…they want it ready made. Yes! sometimes, some ladies are lucky to strike ready-made dudes- WHO ARE REASONABLE(cuz not all guys that meet a ladies outward expectation….will meet her souls expectation when they start dating). I have witnessed many women “manage” guys who had enough confidence to approach them who didn’t have the same financial status as they did. Out of 20 of such occurrences…best case 2 stuck with the guy till he “made-it” and could finally match-up to their financially-secured-man expectations…the rest managed him till a more financially grounded guy came-by, and they didn’t hesitate to swing over to the other-side. Even though the initial guy truly loved them, and THEY KNEW. This attitude cuts across women of all ages….young and older girls(above 30), and its due to the fact that MOST women & men of nowadays(thanks to the media) have COMMERCIALIZED LOVE/ROMANCE…dating/relationships have become ONLY ABOUT his CURRENT financial status…What can I get out of him/her not what they can give?

    As for all single ladies living on their own being sluts…..its a very fish-brained way of thinking. There are so many cogent reasons why a single lady will be living alone in any city within the country.

    …its actually a very deep topic

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  14. dante

    Nicely written piece. Its quite unfortunate,that most men find it difficult handling women who are more successful than they are,its borne out of the male ego. Some women blv me are much smarter than men,and it will be wrong to base this women successes on whoredome rather than brain. However we should not forget the fact that no man would want to be in a relationship where he feels inferior,the woman is smarter,richer,more classy,etc. How does he proove his manhood,with his d***,that doesn’t mk a man. There is a simple solution to this issue,I advise my female friends,if you know u got great ambitions,try and settle down very early in life with a guy who has ambitions too. That way if luck turns out that u hit the top earlier,a responsible man would share in your success,and where most women fail when hitting the top earlier,is that most start looking @ d man as a failure. No fault of theirs,afterall he is supposed to be the man. The writer failed to realize that this mode of reasoning is not restricted to just our culture.

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  15. Keny

    Quite a story Karen. I must say I agree with you on this. I have met quite a number of successful young ladies who are hardworking and serious minded, and i see no reason why a lady should want to settle for something less than ‘the best’ when she can actually be counted among ‘the best’. Why should gender be an issue, if a woman can handle a job better than her male colleague at work, I see no reason why she should be denied the opportunity simply because she is a ‘woman’… Guys, it is very wrong to assume all ladies would do the same thing to be successful just as it is also unfair to assume all guys would actually have to be insincere to get to certain heights. Treat an individual based on the qualities and characteristics he/she exhibits and stop this narrow minded thinking. Stop the hating, deal with your pride and insecurities ‘the top is not for men alone, its for whoever the position fits (whoever it is that is ready to risk a challenge with hard work and perseverance)’… just as there are corrupt men in every society, there are also corrupt women in every society!!! That doesn’t mean every man is corrupt neither does it mean that every woman is!!! So lets actually learn to support and encourage ladies who are either successful (and got there by reason of their hard work) or are on their way there (by reason of hard work and commitment)…

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    • Tony

      The writer Karen appears to be a great writer and I believe she should be able to make a great living out of writing but then is it what she is doing? Karen is the only person who can answer this question.

      I guess this article is a rebuttal to a recent article in a blog or soft sell magazine that depicted Karen and a few of her friends as whores and druggies.When you date men based on their financial capability to pay your rent,buy you car,shoes,designer bags then you run the risk of being refered to as a whore and infact you are a whore,the only difference is that your are not being real about it.I will be surprised for any women to argue that the ratio of women assume having an aristo is the norm is HUGEEE.First time I heard the term “Aristo” I had to have that explained to me.

      I believe that the Nigerian woman have the brain and capability to be whatever she wants to be if only she could believe in herself and I know a lot who are truly independent and I absolutely respect them but the then there are a lot,infact the percentage is mind boggering,who just spread their legs and then call themselves independent women.The ones who spread their legs actually tarnish the image of the real independent ones.

      I am a man but I have always dated and loved independent women because I feel totally unwanted thinking that a woman am in love with might just be in it just for the money and not love.Also if anything ever happens to me,it takes an independent lady to take care of my kids or business.

      Power to the real independent women

      Reply
  16. busola

    This is a very nice write up.I fall in the same category with your friend Gbemi only that I am older.I am in my mid thirties and I have been leaving alone for 8yrs now.I was leaving with my elder sister initially but she had to relocate to join her husband.Is it my fault that I don’t have siblings or family members I can stay with?
    I work in telecomms,successful,good looking,drive a nice car and homely but I have not had a relationship longer than 3months for the past 6yrs now.There was a time a friend told me that I should park my car for some time and take public transport,very funny.I love my comfort and I enjoy my own company too much to the extent that going out is a task for me.I know some people may say am I sure I am not the problem here?
    Some people seeing me from afar always thought I have some man paying my bills,they only find out that I pay my own bills once they get close.
    Friends and family have tried to matchmake me with guys but non has worked.
    The last matchmake was by my sister,he too did like all the others,take my money and just leave.
    I have decided that man or no man,I will make myself happy.

    Reply
  17. Tony

    Lets call a spade a spade,gigantic number of women whoring in Nigeria today and calling themselves independent women so lets no get sentimental about this article.Yes there INDENDENT WOMEN out there but the number is getting fewer and fewer and it is a shame because the system is actually becoming easier for women to be independent.I love me an independent but I can testify that they are hard to come by in Nigeria today.

    Look around you pls and you will see that it has become very fashionable to date married men just for money so how can you do that and call yourself an independent woman just simply because you reside on your own.Residing alone and getting some Aristo to pay your house rent doesnt make you an independent woman,does it.

    So all am saying is while we are being sentimental about this lets pay respect only to the real INDEPENDENT WOMAN.

    THE PROBLEM OF THE NIGERIAN WOMAN IS THE NIGERIA WOMA,THEY NEED TO RESPECT THEMSELVES AND THENTHE MEN WILL RESPECT THEM NO MATTER HOW GRUDGINLY

    POWER TO THE REAL INDEPENDENT WOMAN

    Reply
  18. B

    You are right Karen, I there’s a guy I know who calls me a hustler simply bcos I’m a hardworking entreprenure. He meets in different places doing clean bussiness and goes hustler..simply bcos he cannot admit those positive words..B u’re a hardworking lady and I respect ur resilience. Its a shame

    Reply
  19. OlaMIDE

    Love this piece. Generally, independent women are seen as female chauvinists, women who want to be seen and heard. Sadly, our society would prefer women to be only seen, not heard and this becomes an issue for a lady who wants to follow her dreams and not just warm the bed of man all the days of her life. There’s more to existence than the cliche label our society has created for women. I hope men learn to appreciate hard working women and stop judging us.

    Reply

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