The first assumption: You are important. You are equally important, not “if” or “as long as”.
The second assumption: Can you turn X and you still get to the same result? (After my understanding, we have to add, that X can just be turned under the same conditions – a man can’t get pregnant – because his conditions are different, but it doesn’t mean a man cannot take care of a baby – as you need two arms, a chest and a strategy for that.)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This two very important assumptions are the base of Adichies book “Liebe Ijeawele … Wie unsere Töchter sebstbestimmte Frauen werden.” (I actually prefer the German title: How our daughter become self-determined (selbstbestimmte) or better a complete person. It’s funny, that translating it back in to English is not giving the same meaning than the German word.)
What do these two assumptions mean? Why am I writing about it?
Let’s start with the last question, to answer the first at the same moment. I am writing about it, because a lot of friends – especially female friends from Cameroon – are consulting me, when it comes to relationships, marriages or problems with their boyfriends, husbands or families. Girls and women are trying to find a way, but they are mostly condemned to fail. They are condemned to fail, because their fathers, their mothers, their sisters and brothers lead them along a way, which is not helping them, to be a strong and self-determined woman. They repel them to old values in a changing and different society. This society and their boyfriends instead are asking exactly for the opposite of what girls are raised to be. This is still happening in most societies.
Let’s put it down. Girls are trying to live free and modern relationships, which don’t start with marriage. They try to find out about boys, they are dating, they are maybe changing boyfriends, maybe girlfriends, they have sex and they are looking for something, what they might not really know yet. A concept to be happy in their individual ways.
When problems appear – and they always come – they are forced back into old shapes.
Example: A man is causing a big problem, because he is not honest towards his wife or girlfriend. People will tell the wife: You choose to marry him. You need to be strong. Forgive him. Support him, to become a better person … They will tell the girlfriend: I told you, he is not serious about you, because you guys are not married jet. He doesn’t respect you, because you are not his wife … It’s because you gave yourself away so easily.
Let’s turn the X: A woman is causing a big problem, because she is not honest towards her man or boyfriend. Well fill in what people might say: ________ Is it the same?
The last person asking me for advice told me something about loosing her honour and being the one, people will laugh about, if she calls her boyfriend after a huge fight. Though she told him to give her space – which he did – she was sad about it. When finally rumours about him came up, trusting those voices, was easier, than talking straight to him. Why? Because a woman doesn’t become an active player! How was he supposed to know, finally she is ready to talk? How was she supposed to get active, when she learned a good woman is a waiting one?
Another woman came to ask, how to take it that her husband is cheating? She even feels getting sick and not following her daily life, because she suffers. Why does she have to take it and even cover it up, so nobody notices? Afraid of the voices telling her: “I told you”? How could she put her own health above her husband, as she always was told, that she is one of the lucky ones with that marriage.
I don’t even want to turn the X here. Think yourself, how the situation would be… Is it equal or different?
The worst thing, there is a whole market out there. Facebook offered me a quick test, why I am not able to keep a man. There are advices, how to be a tempting and attractive woman, how to be actually, so you are taken. Seriously? Are we products, lying in shelfs and we are finally chosen or left behind?
This is actually what the first assumption is talking about. You are equal. No matter “if” or “as long as”. Actually, I would say, this is the fragment of love, but it’s more than a fragment. It’s about how much we learn to love ourselves. It’s about how much people respect us, not because we are a woman, not because we are beautiful, not because we know, how to be quiet, not because we know how to behave, not because we are carrying and raising children, not because we support but because we are the person, who we choose to be. Choosing us, enables us finally to also build our lives actively, the way we want it.
The girl should call her boyfriend, if she want to forgive him or talk to him. She should call him, if he matters to her. The wife should talk to her husband and they should look for a solution, so both of them are fine again. Let’s try to think us humans and not just man or woman.