My face is hot with rage, and I’m slowly losing respect for this older African man I work with. How dare he? As he kept talking, my anger slowly begins to subside because we are having a conversation that has needed to be had for ages.
His telling me about his friends who’s got two wives here in Canada! One lives on the 10th floor and one on the 17th. I ask Fahad, how his friends supporting two women. Fahad’s says “they both work and help him, his a wealthy man.”
I realized my questions is very ignorant because I assumed that just because the culture they’re practicing is ancient doesn’t mean that they don’t have modern practices. Like women being bread winners, and I’m also acutely aware of how this combination of cultures is benefiting Fahad’s friend and men like him more than the women involved.
I tell Fahad that most African cultures are made to benefit men. He argues that these women choose this lifestyle as he tries to make his point, I’m immediately brought back to my own culture were in the “olden days” a first wife was given the option to choose and propose to the second wife.
Fahad says in his community, more and more young women are choosing to marry older men because they are mature and they can provide emotional, financial and spiritual support. He says women offer to let their husbands marry a second wife because they say “It’s better this way, at least you won’t cheat on me” I say Fahad but don’t you see! That’s part of the problem! They’re not exactly saying I’m happy with it, or seeing you with someone else’s makes me feel good this is saying, either way, I’m screwed, and this is the better option of screwed for me! As I try to put my point across I realize I’m losing him, he’s not interested in the feelings of these women. I become aware of a statement my friend Blommy made, she said, and I loosely translate “most women are suffering from high blood pressure because infidelity that is so rampant in our community.”
So what about our feelings as women culturally? Does our peace, joy, opinion and comfort matters? You’re saying yes, yes it matters! But who’s responsible for seeing to it that these needs are catered for? Not Fahad his benefiting. In fact, he posts an essential question to me. He asked me “If I was married and while I was married I fall deeply for someone else, and I sat my husband down and discussed with him, my husband consent to let me go ahead and have an affair with this man, would I refuse?” I answered honestly and say I would have an affair. Take that green card and run with it!
So there it is no one who’s benefiting from the oppression of another will fight for their freedom. Women need to fight cultures that oppress them cos their men won’t. Your emotional health matters. Your feelings matter, your soul matters, your spirit matters because you matter.