About three months ago, a friend of mine sent me a pretty random snapchat video showing a woman cooking. More specifically she was ferociously whipping in a pan what I assume was a local african dish. The accompanying subtitle read: “here is a real african woman”. I was very confused by this as I wondered what about that scene made this lady a real african woman. I didn’t know how to whip like she did or even if I could I had no desire to do so. Did that make me less of an “african woman”? Why was it, that the ability to cook a special trait of an african woman? Or for that matter a woman in general?
Years ago, some of my african guy friends asked that I cook more often for them. When I said I was too busy with work, one replied that was the exact reason why us african women were loosing our men to the latinas. Again, what did cooking have to do with race?
Another friend again recently told me that he was tired of living by himself and wanted to marry a real african woman, who would take care of him, do his cooking and cleaning .
In all those instances, I was extremely shocked to realize that after all these years of progress and “changes in mentalities”, there were still people with such thoughts. I realize that the culture in many african countries is that women should own tasks such as cooking and taking care of the household while men get to sit and relax. My own mother told me that I felt too entitled when I said I will not clean up after a man, but would rather have house rules. In her own words: “the return back to Africa will be tough”. Why do we still have engrained in our cultures to have women come second? African cultures have significantly evolved over the years with changes in society and laws. Why can’t the change happen for the role of women in our society? Culture is not a law written in a holy book. No, people make Culture and change start with educating our children the right thing.
How is cooking and cleaning a key aspect of my womanhood? I am outraged when I see african men in my generation still defending those ideas simply because it works in their favor.
My womanhood is defined by my compassion for others, my drive to succeed and to defend the rights of those who can’t speak for themselves. My womanhood is defined by my drive to do better, be better, achieve my dreams, honor the little girl inside of me who once dared to dream and was bold enough to think that the sky is the limit. My womanhood is defined by my capacity to love and forgive, to strive and to rise, to remain unbroken, to pick myself up when I fall and to run again, work again so I can also honor all the women across the world. My womanhood, is way much bigger than ingredients in a bowl, colors to hide what I really look like or weaves to deny my kink. Being a woman isn’t easy, being an african woman is twice harder, let’s not make it even harder.
A bon entendeur Salut!!