Over the past year or so, Anthony Joshua has become one of the more prominent Nigerians in diaspora. This has put him, although admittedly without his consent or anyone’s really, in a position where he reflects us, as a country, and all we stand for on a very global scale. Above is a transcript of an interview where he, once again, is put in that position. Over the last week, he also, unbeknownst to him, became one of the most recent faces of toxic masculinity. And this point of view would now, more or less, be seen as a more national view. More depressing is the fact that many of us can not really see the problem in what he has said. Some, even in ignorance, vehemently support this point of view.
Although thought as non-existent, especially in societies like Nigeria’s, the concept of toxic masculinity, in psychology, refers certain standards set for men to uphold which are societal norms but end up causing harm to the society and to men themselves.
(these aren’t just stereotypes that we should have left in 1993, but they are lies members of society uphold till date)
Our society is bent on training female children to be wives in the near future. I have been in heavy cringe-worthy situations where parents to infants (yes, I mean children as young as 4 years old) say things like “you no go marry if you dey behave like this” or “do quick and find husband” to little girls and these kinds of people say to male children, treading the wrong paths or hurting and in need of guidance, “leave am, na man e be”. Male children are allowed to learn character from wherever they can and families focus on bringing up “future wives”. Boys should be taught the essence of good morals, domestic contribution, moderation, emotional control and expression, when to speak and when not to. You cannot leave all of this to chance because he’s going to be a “Jack-the-lad” (and please what is a Jack-the-lad?) Although I realize while writing this that there are really not enough people who understand the concept of all this to teach the children otherwise. Most of the people in this country still raise their chest to say “Boys cannot like pink, pink is for girls”. We set unnecessary and unhealthy limitations for our children and when it reflects in their attitudes they are the ones with a problem.
Let’s also remember that this same society would behead any proper wife will to marry another proper wife.
So we have our properly trained daughters marry these men who never were taught to apply themselves in a home, how to be a parent to children, how to express their love or how to handle their emotions. And then our “proper wives” are put through the worst of neglect, physical, verbal and emotional abuse because all they can be are wives and “he’s the man”. Worse still, these women, trying to understand why they are put through so much, go to the “experienced” members of society and they are convinced that such behavior is “normal in every home” and that “she’s a woman, she should not provoke him he’s a man” and she will go back to that hellish environment believing he acts the way he does because she provoked him. This first draft for a Nollywood Movie I just described is the reality of many homes in Nigeria.
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More heartbreaking is the fact that even the victims of these ills uphold these same standards when they are enduring their marriages. We need to do better. Don’t have double standards with your morals, all human beings are equal, in the eyes of the Creator at least, we should teach ourselves and the children to act as such. There should be no restrictions on expression, bottled emotions will come out, only uglier than they were before you figured you could hide them. For male children, you can’t do everything on your own, support is important. For the female children, you are more than a wife that some boy will show off and treat as property, find out what that is, don’t let society tell you that you shouldn’t grow as an individual because you will one day be a wife, or a mother, before and above any of that, you are yourself. Be the best version of you possible.
Have a great week and a great month.
I did not in any way say that female children should not be trained for marriage. But I am saying that it would be a healthier practice to train all children for life as a whole. If you cannot agree with this, you are entitled to your own wrong opinion.
I also hope Anthony Joshua gets this whole thing rectified, I mean he is in a more progressive society than Nigeria’s, he just needs to learn to act like it.