Isn't it fascinating that from time immemorial, women are taught to labour for men in every aspect?
We are taught to be their nannies, chefs, ego massagers and baby making machines, who bear them children and maintain a home we do not have a right to inherit.
Men on the other hand, are taught to expect this free labour as their right, to the extent that most have the nerve to look down on homemakers, and ask these hardworking women, "What do you contribute?"
Even seemingly progressive Nigerian men have questioned me similarly,
"I don't mind you being a feminist, but I hope you'll still cook for your husband?".
It irks me anytime this question is asked because I am reminded once again that majority of men do not want to let go of their patriarchal benefits, even while pretending to appear as progressive allies. This, is one of the truest examples of Feminism lite.
It leads me to a nagging question and also the topic of this article, "Why is it that raising girls to cook and clean, is often on the premise that we would need it as wives and mothers?
Growing up and even till now, my mother made it clear that the first beneficiaries of kitchen work and domesticities, were the ones who had the skill. This was a knowledge that she got from her mother which in turn made her ensure that my younger brother learned how to cook.
What strikes me though, is that whenever people comment on my cooking it's often revolves around how my husband would be lucky or how I'll make a good mother. It never is because I as a full human being, would need the skill to survive.
Ironically, when the same people hear how good my brother's cooking is, they immediately tell my mother she should send him to culinary school, as there is money to be made as a chef.
Isn't it interesting that when cooking is done by women, it is viewed as unpaid inferior work, however when it is paid work, men dominate the industry as chefs and cooks?
Our generation of Nigerian parents should endeavor to raise children to cook and clean because these are vital skills needed. It however shouldn't mean that because a person cannot cook or isn't very neat, they are automatically bad people. I personally know very neat men who coincidentally double as some of the most misogynistic men I've ever encountered.
As women, we should set high standards for our partners. We should expect them to also contribute to domestic work and not just merely "help". They should be expected to contribute because they are supposed to. We also shouldn't excessively praise and worship men when they do bare minimum domestic work. Perhaps if we collectively take this stance, the majority would wise up and we will see a change and more of an appreciation for the thankless work women have been engaging in forever.
The leading writer and feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shared this relevant quote to advice women who were unsure how to share domestic work with their partners, it said,
"Imagine it was a woman you were living with, you would find a way to share the work."
Words by Angel Nduka-Nwosu
Angel Nduka-Nwosu is a poet and writer whose works cover themes such as gender, race and politics. Her poems have appeared on Ake Review, The Perspective Movement, The Random Thoughts and The Audiri(of which she is a contributor to).
Currently an English Major at Babcock University, she curates a blog called Afrocentric Musings(afrocentricmusings.wordpress.com) and can be reached on Instagram and Twitter via the handle @msndukanwosu.