African Women are NOT the Strongest

Well, it’s March 8, 2021 – the International Women’s Day and going by this year’s theme, I #ChooseToChallenge you, my dear African women. What you’re about to read (if the title doesn’t already give it away) is certainly not what I know you’re expecting to read on International Women’s Day, and definitely not from a woman at that.

But, that’s exactly my intention. I am hoping this piece provokes you because sometimes, there can’t be a change until there’s a provocation.

Before I even dig into this post, I’d like to start by saying, For the love of God, can we please normalize getting epidural!

I don’t know what it’s like in other climes but I know for a fact that in my beloved continent (Oh Africa!), women who give birth through Cesarean section or receive epidural during vaginal delivery are considered weak.

No, I’ve never had a baby before and neither have I ever been pregnant, but after the recounts I got from some mothers, I couldn’t help but wonder why any woman would want to go through so much pains during labor and delivery, just because they don’t want to be considered weak when there’s an effective method for pain relief. It beats me!

I mean if you must, do it because you choose to fully experience labour and not because you want to be seen as strong as the proverbial Hebrew woman.

Hian, suffer no dey tire you?

Now, let’s get into it…

Truly, I am repulsed by the notion that black women are the strongest group of women in the world. It’s a proclamation I’ve heard a gazillion time and I’ve come to believe it’s just something we say to explain away the hardship our women (particularly) have to go through, no thanks to inequality, failed government, lack of infrastructure, patriarchal system, domestic violence, etc.

I hear mothers advising their daughters on how to be a true African woman using words like, learn to endure, be quiet, try, tolerate, you just have to cope, persevere, bear the pain, don’t share your struggles, live with it, do it for your children, don’t bring disgrace to your family, you are not the first and you won’t be the last, what will people say, and so on.

You do not have to agree with me but tell me, what makes you think (and say) that African women are stronger than women of other races?

Would it be wrong of me to say we call African women the strongest because they often have to step in and/or step up to take on more than their share of the parenting responsibilities? Like any mother, they obviously can’t bare to watch their little ones running around the streets in torn clothes on their hunger-ridden body and flip-flops tacked at different parts.

Would you disagree with me when I say the reason many of these “strong women” who toil day and night, all year round, to see to it that their children get a better chance at life don’t live long to reap the fruit of their labour is because they had jeopardized their health while making those selfless but harmful sacrifices.

Wouldn’t it be because they work five times more than their counterparts to provide basic needs for their family seeing that the politicians they campaigned and voted for constantly fail to do their damn job and nobody calls them out on their bullshit?

If only Africa had good governance, better policies, good infrastructure and selfless leaders who respect basic human rights like what women of other climates enjoy.

My point is, a woman’s strength isn’t only defined by how hard her life is, which is something we so often do in Africa. And that, in my opinion, is a wrong yardstick. A woman does not have to be poor or to have survived an abuse to be described as strong.

Invest ten thousand dollars in a reasonable African woman in a working economy and watch her multiply it easily, while an equally reasonable African woman living in Africa will struggle a bit with the same capital.

Why? She lives in a society that continuously makes moves and policies that are hell-bent on frustrating and stiffening her efforts.
Same capital, different results, because… different hurdles.

Someone says, “Bring a Western woman to Africa and see if she’d survive what our women do”.

I say, “Yes, she will!”

Agreed, it might not be easy at the initial stage for a woman uprooted from a better life to easily adapt to such a tough and hostile environment as ours but that does not mean she can’t and won’t if she has the will to.

Isn’t WILL the only reason African women living in Africa find strength to pull through?

We’ve gotten so used to surviving hardships that we consider people living where things work as they should weak. Skies! I’m guessing that’s why we loathe and call Africans born and raised abroad “butty” and “half-baked”, because they haven’t had to endure the level of suffer-head we go through here on a daily basis?

Eish!

We all need a mental shift, abeg.

Stop calling people who are enjoying the rights they’ve fought for weak.

Stop thinking you are stronger than others just because they are not tilling your ground.

Stop shaming women who choose to employ helps so they can have more time for themselves.

Stop looking down on women who have the guts to demand for what’s rightfully theirs.

Stop considering yourself better because you choose to suffer more.

Stop putting yourself through hell just to be called strong.

Please, STOP IT.

~

Dear African woman, you and I can and must redefine what our strength is.

I’m an African woman, a very strong and independent one at that, but please, do not insult me by calling other women who fought and still fight for the seemingly good life they enjoy weak just to make me feel better.

I am strong but not because I’m an African woman.

I am strong because I have a mind of my own and Im audacious.

I am strong because I do not let my battles hold me down.

I am strong because I keep showing up in spite of the obstacles.

I am strong because I fight for what’s right and just.

I am strong because I do keep silent in the face of oppression.

I am strong because I am compassionate, loving and caring.

I am strong because I allow myself to be vulnerable.

I am strong because I do not consider myself a victim.

I am strong because I believe in helping and lifting others up.

I am strong because my strength is not dependent on another’s weakness

These are some of my reasons and they sure as hell have nothing to do with being an African (or even a woman) enduring hardships.

Happy International Women’s Day, Stars. ♥️✨

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Bolaji Gelax

Hey, Star! Thanks for stopping by my world. I'm a gorgeous, sassy radio junkie who enjoys playing devil's advocate. I love everything that makes me happy, which includes the Stars in my #Galaxy. They call me MISS FLOWERY because I bring good vibes, love and light. Feel free to explore my world ❤✨

29 thoughts on “African Women are NOT the Strongest

  1. As innnnn, miss me with the BS.
    You just put out my exact thoughts here ( I still have that collabo in my draft)

    They feel we should all stop living because we are women. Like we are suppose to do odeschi for everything unto say we be stone na.
    Shior

    Dear Miss Flowery Happy International Women’s Day jor

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    1. Go on and finish up the draft, Mammy!!! I’d also had this in my drafts since Nov/Dec 2020. Just imagine! 🤦‍♀️

      The societal pressure is real, nne.

      Happy Women’s Day to you too! ♥️✨

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  2. Wow! Beautifully written! I’m inspired! Beautiful message as well! Isn’t it funny that it’s us women who judge each others ‘strengths’. We are all strong please! Thanks for sharing such a powerful message!

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    1. *Sigh*

      I really don’t know what to do/say about women judging other women. It is tiring, honestly.

      But I’m glad we’re doing better these days. Really glad. I mean, isn’t this you, a woman, freely complimenting another woman?

      I am super super glad.

      Thank you plenty plenty plenty plenty, Star. ♥️✨

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  3. I want to scream this from rooftops. I am not stronger than any woman, stop comparing us. Don’t glorify suffering, I don’t want to endure it anymore. I want to work hard enough to escape the BS because I’m not built for suffering. Happy International Women’s Day, my Darling.

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  4. I am strong because I choose to be strong sometimes.
    There are also times I refuse to be strong, allow me glory in my weakness also.
    I am who I am by choice, don’t try to force anything on me because I am African or because I’m a woman.
    I can be apprehensive and violent too, just allow me be what I want to be, periodt!

    Happy Women’s Day dear Bj.

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  5. This is so true, we really need to stop wearing suffering as a badge of strength it isn’t. I always tell people that no matter what I refuse to be a “strong woman” if it means putting up with bullshit(for lack of better word😂).

    Happy International Women’s Day!

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    1. So long it’s a selective bullshit, then, yes, my darling!

      It’s been a minute you buzzed me on that messaging App. You don’t love me anymore? 🥺😔

      Happy Women’s Day to you too, Star. ✨

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  6. I am only strong when I want to eat plix, nobody should stress me.

    Happy International Women’s Day to the rebels, the unconventional women who tell society to stick their opinions up their az.

    May the odds forever be in our favour.

    *Sips Malta Guinness*

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  7. This is one of the reasons why I have a problem with adjectives – they distort the ontological nature of things. That being said, I think there are peculiar characteristics that set people and societies apart. Physiologically, Africans are stronger than Westerners.

    Most East Africans (Kenyans and Ugandans) can run faster than Africans from the rest of Sub-saharan Africa because of their land’s altitude.

    It’s the sentimental attachment to our negritude pride that makes us claim to be the best or strongest. African women are strong, beautiful, smart, industrious and many more, but that is not an excuse to become attuned to the hardship we are used to in this part of the world – the Global South.

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  8. Oh man, I love love love this post, I have the same thinking like it’s the same here in India,
    Women are strong, women are the epitome of sacrifices, they will sacrifice their happiness for their family, like whatttttt???!!! Why?? What is the need for this over glorification!!!! Not ever women want to sacrifice, not every woman have the same endurance, then why the hell there is a need for generalization 😒😒
    But you are a woman 😑😑😑😑 it’s in your nature, like for real

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