So on Sunday night I took a group of women from our church to go see a play at Cambridge, MA. It was Ifeoma Fafunwa's play "Hear Word: Naija Woman True". It brings together a fine selection of Nigerian stage and screen actresses for a stellar performance. For Nollywood fans, I will probably post a few of the pictures we took with the stars.
The play highlighted many injustices and inequalities women have endured for centuries and are still enduring. Though a lot of the issues were specific to African/Black women, some of the topics were universal: sexual abuse, discrimination against women, sex traficking, women oppressing women, etc. It ended with a war cry for women to take a stand.
Change is happening one woman at a time.
Women are speaking up and out, rejecting abuses perpetrated against us under the guise of culture. We are still far off from seeing the eradication of these deep seated issues but we must still keep fighting for better for women and for our girls. By "we" I mean us women. There are a few good men, well more than a few (husband of mine included) who fight for and stand up for women but the truth is WE who are at the receiving end must move for change. No one will do it for us. It is OUR fight.
This brings me to my verse for today: Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Let us start change from the very foundation. Let us start by teaching our children what is right. Let us create a new culture right from the beginning.
Let us teach our girl child her self-worth while she is still young.
Teach her she can both be a princess and Wonder Woman and Dr. McStuffins. She can wear the tiara and wield the Dr.'s bag. Teach her that God created her to be equal, not inferior to men. Tell her that her only purpose in life is not to be a wife and mother and that in Genesis 1:26-28, God gave the dominion mandate to both the man and the woman. Tell her IT IS OKAY to speak up and that it is not okay for Johnny to tickle her, pinch her bottom or brush against the little buds of her breast. Let her know she is not obliged to hug "Uncle James" and it is okay to shake his hand or not if she does not want to.
Then let us teach our boy-child the right way to treat a girl.
Let him know from the get-go that he cannot hit Jane because she yelled at him. Let him know that looking up girls' skirts is unacceptable. Teach him to speak nicely to girls. Tell him that when a girl says "no" it means "no", not "maybe no", "maybe yes", "not sure". Teach him proper boundaries and most importantly that the girl sitting next to him is class is his equal.
You and I together can create a new generation of men who do not feel entitled to women's bodies, but men who see women as being more than a flurry boobs, butts and thighs; men who appreciate the valuable contributions women make both in the home and in the board room.
We have come far but we still have a long way to go. Change is not easy to bring about; culture is hard to change but if we are determined, the future will be different and our sons and daughters and their offspring and their offspring will inherit a better society. Train up a child...!