Ahunna Nwaogwugwu (@AnnaTheFeminazi) on Gender Roles and Feminism in Nigeria
In this interview, Ohotu discusses with Ms Ahunna Nwaogwugwu on her perspectives on Feminism. Ms Nwaogwugwu is an advocate of gender equality. She tweets via @AnnaTheFeminazi. I hope you can relate to her opinions and learn from them.
Ohotu: Please could you tell us your name and what you do for a living?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: My name is Ahunna Nwaogwugwu and I am a business developer.
Ohotu: What informs your stand as a feminist?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: My stance as a feminist is informed by my life and the lives of women all over the world. We are living our truths and they are valid.
Ohotu: Has publicly describing yourself as a feminist been easy? Could you tell us about your twitter handle?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: No it has not. I have received death threats and threats of rape for being a feminist and publicly identifying as one. I don’t mind, though. Insults and threats only matter from people that matter. So far, none of them have.
My twitter is a subset of the person I am. I’m sure people can tell the key things about me from my twitter. I chose AnnaTheFeminazi. Anna is an ode to my partner. Feminazi is self-explanatory.
Ohotu: Of what relevance do you think feminism is in our African and Nigerian societies today?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: Extremely relevant. I have always thought so, and now, I think so even more. I try to educate myself and discovered that a lot of our societies placed women on the same level as men and I am even more interested in what caused that deviation. I think our societies need to place women’s rights on a very high level to get to where we want to go. If we don’t do that, we are going nowhere.
Ohotu: As a feminist advocate, what are the challenges you face and how do you address them?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: I think a major challenge I face is bridling my anger because I am a very outspoken person. It is not a challenge I am willing to overcome yet because there are very outspoken AND WRONG people who want take away women’s rights and restrict women. We can discuss my attitude when women are set free. Another challenge I face is getting across to women who are unaware of their rights. I wish I could reach all of them but perhaps it is better to take our time.
Ohotu: What is your stance on gender roles, especially with regard to roles between wives and husbands and as taught to children?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: I think gender roles are lazy and the work of dull minds. Imagine teaching people skills based on what you think, and not based on what their strengths are. I’m amazing at business development and there are lots of girls in different parts of the world who are better than I will ever be but will never get the opportunity to shine because people insist that mundane tasks are their job. We can all do better and I hope we are intentional about sparing our kids from such mediocre logic.
Ohotu: How, in your opinion, has feminism helped to improve the status of women in Nigeria and in Africa?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: It has definitely done a lot to improve the status of women. We are seeing a huge reduction in rates of FGM and female illiteracy. We are also witnessing the reduction in the rates of women who die in childbirth and this is directly linked to the increase in more women in health fields. More educated women has been proven to mean a much better society. There is no debate, women empowerment is the way forward.
Ohotu: Are there any ways in which you think that males should be superior to females or are to assume leadership by virtue of their gender alone?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: No. They can’t even carry offspring.
(In the previous interview with @Duchesskk, her answer to this question made me laugh so I tried not to laugh again. But I did. You can read that here: Karo Omu on the relevance of Feminism in Nigeria )
Ohotu: Are there any physiological or biological traits which women possess that, in your opinion, should form reasons for their assuming subordinate status to men?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: No. Women carry the offspring and should be protected by all members of society while they perform this service, and other things related to that. Women who choose not to, should be respected as well. Everybody works to make society a better place and deserves that basic respect that other society members get.
Ohotu: What is your view about norms of behaviour that prescribe that men should not, for instance, cry? That is, what is now termed Toxic Masculinity.
@AnnaTheFeminazi: It’s nonsense. Why can’t men cry? Don’t they have feelings? Society places unnecessary pressure on men causing them to suppress normal human feelings. It’s ridiculous.
Ohotu: What do you think are the major cultural obstacles preventing women from actualising the totality of their goals and rights in Africa? How best should we address these?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: Major cultural obstacles are directly tied to religion. Who says that women are subordinate? It simply doesn’t make sense. This need to “put women in their place” prevents them from having access to the same opportunities as men. There is a discrepancy and it is everybody’s job to fix it.
Ohotu: What are your views on the movement for the criminalisation of rape done by women against men, particularly in Africa?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: I definitely believe all forms rape should be criminalized and punished accordingly. Believing that women cannot rape men is just another way of invalidating male pain.
Ohotu: In order to achieve gender equality in Africa, what do you think are the best means of changing the patriarchal views of the majority?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: EDUCATION. I wish I could scream this from the rooftops. We need to invest in our education system, teaching relevant topics and focusing on critical reasoning. The Nigerian education system only focuses on cramming and submitting of knowledge. We need a population that can reason and think for themselves.
Ohotu: What would you say are the influences on your perspectives in light of the above and on feminism generally?
@AnnaTheFeminazi: I think my family played a huge role. My mom is a successful lawyer and a business woman, she taught me so much. My father encouraged my educational pursuits and my individuality. He was always proud to have a smart and progressive daughter so it made me very confident in myself as a woman. My education played a big role as well, I was able to school outside the environment I lived in, which showed me other ways to reason and do things. It was really key for me because I can be very stubborn. I feel very lucky and privileged to have had what I had.
Ohotu: Thank you so much! I absolutely loved your answers.
To be feminist is to be egalitarian and to stand for social justice in a world that seeks to pull women down. We have to listen to the voices of women and men brave enough to speak up for themselves and others against inequality and that is what I sought to do with this interview. Please add a comment to share your own ideas. Thank you.