If I Read About One More African Woman Valiantly Resisting Pressure to Marry

Groan! Another African woman talking about the pressure she is under to get married. Okay we get it. Marriage is considered a woman’s top priority in Africa and you are not going to succumb to the manipulations of misguided friends and relatives.  You intend to pursue your career until you find Mr. Right, who will let you live your life just the way you want to without expecting you to cook, clean and have babies. Can we talk about something else now?

I speak with all the privilege of someone that got married and had three children all before the ripe old age of 20. No I don’t think, marriage is the most important role a woman has in life, I was not under pressure by anyone to get married or have children either (except maybe my husband). I got married because I wanted to get out of my father’s house as quickly as was decently possible and I had children because I wanted to fill the gaping hole in my soul with some love.

There are a lot of reasons people get married (and have babies) and not all of them have to do with social pressure or family expectation. Some people get married for financial reasons, some get married for love, others get married because they want a house of their own, or a companion to build a life with. Some get married just to have children. No one reason is better than another. Its not a contest and there are no guarantees against heartbreak and divorce no matter how carefully you chose.

All these women grousing that they will not marry simply because they are expected to still insist they are waiting for The One.  So your grouse is not with marriage but with the fact that some misguided albeit well intentioned people are telling you to stop being picky and get on with it already before your biological clock winds down. If you are looking for Mr. Perfect who will tick all your boxes you ARE just being picky. There is no such thing as Mr. Right or The Perfect partner. All relationships are inherently flawed and require a whole lot of work.

I imagine in 10 or 20 years time reading from these same writers today how they regret not having children or regret having children late or the difficulty they are having getting pregnant. You all really need to figure out what it is you really want and stop with the self righteous pseudo feminist bull shit. Either you want to get married and have children (and that’s alright) or you don’t (that’s also alright). African feminism doesn’t need another defensive exposition on why YOU are still single.


3 thoughts on “If I Read About One More African Woman Valiantly Resisting Pressure to Marry

  1. I’m not a female, but I’m a feminist poet or so I think. I believe that feminism actually means different things to different people, depending on who’s talking, his/her experiences and how he/she responds to it, and then the perspective of the person’s thinking. I don’t see the term “feminism” having a generally acceptable definition in the next God-knows-how-long years. My ideas on it are quite very different even from those of other feminist poets I have come across.
    Now on this subject you just wrote about here I do not want to respond from a feminist perspective, cos somehow, the subject affects me as a male, just the same way (or almost so) as it affects females- some females. At 25 I am still an only child, and I’m being pressured into marriage. I find it difficult now to use the word “pressured” because deep inside me I really do want to get married to whoever would be ready to build a life with me. And I believe that just as I am, many of those who claim to be “pressured” into marriage at an “early” age (depending on what early means to the person) are just raising dusts. For once, let the truth be told.
    I do not think you have said anything wrong in this article, and for a fact, I think you’re supposed to say more. I do not have so much to contribute, but I want you to know I read this, and I appreciate it. My feminist collection of poetry WE’VE ALL GOT OURS hopes to be published in 2014…if I meet up with the financial requirements of getting it published in print. Until then, and after, keep the Africa in you alive.

    1. Thanks for stopping by.

      Feminism does have a definition – social, political and economic equality for men and women. At least that’s the dictionary version.

      Good luck with your book of poems, nice to have a male voice writing feminist poems

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