Culture is no joke. Saturday night, in my socialization, I was talking to this nurse from Nigeria who migrated to the United States with her kids a few months ago to be reunited with her husband who has been in the country for years.
In that encounter, I must admit that I learnt a lot from her just by talking to and asking her questions about her culture, which is different than mine, of course.
Talking to her, I found out that in the Nigerian culture, the wife is like the husband’s property; she is owned by him. She must be submissive and obedient to him at all times. That is expected of her.
She also told me that regardless the woman’s social status, academic background and professional life, her socially expected role is housewife. Her presence is in the house and kitchen as she is expected to clean the house, cook and feed her man and family.
I asked her how a Nigerian woman would react if she finds out with convincing evidence that her man has cheated on her. She said she would have to accept it as polygamy practiced by the men is legally and socially accepted.
We were talking about domestic violence and what the law says in Nigeria to that respect. She said that he, being like the owner of his wife, is allowed to discipline her physically. And if she reports that to the police, they will tell her that this is a family-related issue; therefore, it should be addressed in the family.
She said to me that a woman who does not birth a son to her husband has no value whatsoever, and that husband can leave her for another woman just so he could have that son. I asked her why it is so important for the husband to have a son. She said that when or if the husband dies, all his estate goes to his son(s), none to the daughter(s). She said the only thing women in Nigeria have is an education from their parents, nothing else and nothing more.
We went on to talk about sex and how in the States it is considered rape if a husband forces sex on his wife who refuses to have sex with him. She said that the Nigerian woman is to please her husband sexually whenever, however, wherever and for however long he needs sex; she cannot dare telling him no, regardless how tired she is.
She also told me that in the Nigerian culture, the woman’s money belongs to her husband; he can do whatever he wants with it. After she said that, I felt compelled to ask her if she is allowed to send money back home to his relatives. She said yes, but she must tell her husband, whose only decision matters, to validate the gesture as she is taking his money to give away.
Isn’t culture amazing? Well, that’s the beauty of it all -no one culture is inferior or superior to another. We just have to respect and tolerate them all. Despite our many judgments we may have about her for being different than most of us, she told me she loves her culture and would not trade it for anything in this world. I would love and not trade it for anything either as a people without its culture is nothing.
Being raised in a different of course these all sounds absurd to me; but who am I to judge. I know I can’t and would never a man from such a culture. That would be recipe for disater; if I work that should be my money, especially if to them my role is To stay at home, so what I make should be looked at as my little side hustle and let me enjoy it while HE works and make his money to take care of home.
Woww can you imagine the culture shock, if I were to move and marry a Nigerian man? This story makes me love and appreciate my culture even more. Being someone’s property sounds to me like being their slave. You have no voice and no opinions plus he’s cheating on you. I wonder what the divorce rate is up there lol
Lily Fleirissant, I couldn’t agree with you more. Everything you say is on target. Who wants to live their life like this?
Exactly!!! I know we tend to be a bit ethnocentric at times but, who wants to be in a relationship where you have no sense of self and lose your identity. I know it’s the norm for them and they see no problem with that lifestyle but this is ludicrous.
As much I love her culture as being an african descendant I love my haitian culture better freddom and mind to speak no violence alleluia I would not dare trade mine for nothing in the world any animal need discipline
I know there are many readers who are reading this post and thinking that it’s preposterous and ridiculous that women still hold on to those antiquated values in 2012 in certain parts of the globe. Well, the same can be said about your culture for the silly things and drivels that are the norms. Tolerance is a virtue. Good job, Emman!
I can’t take the case of these women to make it the case of Nigerian women in general. maybe they are from a particular tribe where women have no rights.
Well, I guess what they say is true, “what you don’t know, don’t hurt you” & that’s why it’s called “CULTURE.” I’m glad and feel blessed to have been born in a different “CULTURE.” I think it should all be divided between the two adults/parents. It should be our $, our house, our cars, etc… There should not be “mine” only. I understand that I have to satisfy my “MAN” at all cost, but if I say I’m tired, “He” has to understand that I am tired. (Which is rarely an issue on my end) lol, but no MAN of mine is going to get on top of me whenever, wherever, however he damn please without my consent. This is My PU$$Y damn it! Lol. But, I love to learn about different CULTURE. One of the reasons why I love Psychology & Sociology. Such an eye opening.
Well….Everyone can be a critic but criticizing another culture is just plain ignorant for the simple fact that just like we can sit here and make fun of their culture..someone can sit there and make fun of ours. An Indian would look down upon an American because they eat beef (cows are sacred in India)…..but it’s just as easy for an American to look down upon an Indian because their food has a smell which we might not be accustomed to….and so on and so on. Ones culture is embedded into their being and it becomes ingrained into the way they see things. We fear what we don’t understand so when we meet someone with a different background (race, religion, sexual orientation, language, gender etc…) we tend to judge it. If you were born and raised in Nigeria and had never been introduced to the outside world and this way of life was the only way of life you knew then I bet you that you would embrace it (because u wouldn’t know anything else). But because we are of a different culture, with a different way of life which we have adopted then we can’t help but to compare theirs to ours. Im quite sure a lotta ppl are not too fond of Haitian culture as well….Some ppl still think we ALL do VOODOO. 😉
That’s just crazy! I clearlywould not survive a day in the Nigerian culture, I refused to allow myself to be treated that way by ANYONE.
I think makes good sense.. If more family was willing to accept this, than you would have stronger family.. One has to lose in a partnership.. Win win is when you accept and move forward… Nigeria people are wealthy and smart.. Strong family and status… Create a strong society