If you were raised in an Africa household, then you have been or are being shamed for one thing or another.
When you are a twelve-year-old girl and can’t make a decent pot of rice, or couscous, or whatever your family eats the most, your own mother will shame you with words like “how do you expect to find a husband if you can’t even cook.” Why can’t we teach our daughters to cook for their own feeding, and not for a man?
In Mali were I was raised, boys are not allowed to go into the kitchen, it’s a taboo. A kitchen is a woman’s place, boys don’t clean, cleaning is for girls. My questions are don’t boys need to eat, don’t boys need to be in a clean environment. What makes them better than girls. I think we should teach both girls and boys to cook and clean.
Then you reach 18, and no man has shown interest in you, your aunties start shaming you for not having a suitor. If your answer is “I’m still in school,” they say you can be in school and have a husband. Yes, it might be true that we can be in school and have a husband. I’m 30 and still in school with a husband and child. However, I think we are not mature enough to manage both at 18. I think we should encourage young girls to focus more on their studies, and a husband will come later.
Then you reach 25, and you are not married, you will be shamed for being too old and not having a husband. You will be reminded of how a woman can only have children at a certain age. How about we let women take their time and decide to get married when they feel comfortable and when they find the right partner.
When you finally get married and wait to have children, you will be shamed for not wanting to give birth. Now there are a lot of women who can’t have children, just like there are men who can’t get a woman pregnant. However, only the woman is a fault. Its time we let that friend, sister, and cousin who is suffering for not having a child know that it might not be her, that she and her husband need to go do some tests and that there are solutions it.
When you have a child and take time before having another one, you will be shamed. No one bothers to sit and think about the reasons you might not be having another child. There are so many reasons women decide to take their time before having another child, it could be you are not ready mentally, financially or physically, because we all know childbirth takes a toll on us. It could be you just don’t want to have more children.
As a woman and a mother, I think we should teach our children to cook because they need to feed themselves first. We should teach our children that having a diplomat is their first husband. After their diplomat, they should try to secure a job, so that they don’t ever have to depend on anyone. After they are married, they should have children when they want to, not when others want them to. It’s their body, and they are the ones that will take care of the child. Having a child is not an easy task and shouldn’t be done out of pressure.
We should remind our children, that this is their life, they should think about themselves before they do anything. Everyone telling them to do this and that has their own life to live, they shouldn’t let them live theirs as well. They should stand up and be in control of their lives.