If you are a lady here in Nigeria, you must know the qualities of the virtuous woman as she was quite praised in the book of proverbs chapter 31 (10-31). Now though im sure almost everyone knows about prov 31(you need to read the full chapter again hereProv 31 or you might not follow the discussion), I can also surely tell that many of you do not even know the full details of that chapter or have never given it serious thought.
For those of you who are about to doubt me now, please can someone explain to me why a woman would be praised for awakening before the cock crows to prepare food for her family, mend her children and husband’s clothes, make new clothes for them, tidy the household e.t.c. while her children and husband sleep on blissfully. Then as the day breaks, she starts her trading career going far and wide to bring in goods to sell and for her household. She even buys a field and plants crops. Then at night, she’s the last to sleep, wait no, her lamp doesn’t go off (so she doesn’t sleep, is she a vampire?). And all the description we are given of the husband is that he sits at the gate with the elders and he is hailed.
Seriously! !! I get it. The woman is a superman (or should i say superwoman) but is this what we should teach our girlfolks to aim for??? is this what should always be the theme of a church preaching for women gatherings? ? Is this the bible chapter we truly want to emphasize during marriage courses?? Do we even realize that there’s something wrong with this picture? ? I don’t know if you get the subtle implications of this message:- the woman is awake before dawn and it doesn’t cross the husband’s mind that his wife is toiling for the family?, I mean this should be inhuman. How can a man who is supposed to be one with his wife go to sleep each day and awake probably after the wife is gone and fail to see anything wrong bwith that picture. And to crown it all, he has the guts to sit at the gates and be hailed.
And I understand the other perspective, the story is about a virtuous woman so there will be an obvious objective to make her a heroine and praise her. And this can be a good thing but the thing is that this picture painted is so scaringly familiar for women in this part of the world and we should remember that the Jewish culture does not recognise women. The women are usually put in the same class as the children. And African society runs almost parallel to that culture. Therefore, although I understand the good thoughts behind that particular bible chapter, I wish we would examine it critically bearing in mind the situations of women in our Nigerian society.
And this is my problem with Prov 31. I don’t care how you wish to explain the chapter, I just feel that it shouldn’t be overly mentioned especially in our society where each day that I hear Prov 31, more than 20 women come to mind with ease who I know are even more virtuous than the woman described and it pains me to see these women suffer through all these bullshit. I know very unhappy married women who are trying each day to be the virtuous woman, juggling work (these days most men want working wives that can contribute to the household finances) with all the household chores (many men still do not help out at home). Parents who try their possible best to mold their daughters into virtuous women. Women who finish work later than their husbands and still get to make dinner, check the kid’s homework and supervise their night bath ritual. Its depressing. I then started asking myself what our obsession with the virtuous woman really is.
And Eureka!! I made the discovery. We are obsessed with Prov 31 because we are afraid to see women treated equally, we want them to remain second class citizens, …. . The guys are scared of no longer being in control, they are also so selfcentred they wouldn’t want women to stop aspiring to be virtuous because that would mean them actually contributing their quota to household chores like changing their toddler’s diapers or washing their children’s clothes. But do you blame them? Who would spit out sugar that is in their mouth?
Its up to the ladies, the day we decide that we are tired of only being the virtuous ones (after all the word ‘virtuous’ is not limited to a certain gender), the day we crusade for virtuous men is the day we will start seeing changes. If not, expect the men to remain at the gates (nay, its joints & bars now) drinking beer, eating isiewu and other bush meat (thank God for Ebola: no more bush meat) while being praised for being exceptional husbands while you are cooking over the fire with three wailing children, two househelps who are more of a headache than a help actually and that saucy relative (probably from your husband’s side) who does nothing but watch African magic while discrediting you at any opportunity to your mother-in-law
The Aspiring Virtuous Human
Will appreciate your comments. Hwaiting