13 Mar Lucid Lemons Speaks: Cisi Eze
March, here at Lucid Lemons, is Ladies Month. I had the privilege to speak to a woman who is one word at a time, shaping and changing our world. For centuries upon centuries, it has almost never paid to be a woman as our lives were structured to be under a man but slowly over the years, with the strength of a few deviant women, other women have risen and cried that enough is enough.
My interview speaks on the ‘Press for Progress’ by women in general and feminism as an action, thought and process. I present to you:
ONUGBU FEMINISM MEETS LL
Thank you for honoring us at Lucid Lemons with an interview. Please introduce yourself or would you rather have me do it, knowing my flair for theatrics?
You should do the introduction. I really do not know how to talk about myself.
How humble. Well then, people of Africa and the world, I give to you, Cisi Eze. She is a Lagos based journalist, writer, comic artist and graphics designer. A media and justice fellow of the Bisi Alimi Foundation, she is a power ranger defending LGBT+ rights and feminism. She also loves to discuss gender issues and mental health on several platforms including her blog, Shades of Cisi, https://shadesofcisi.wordpress.com/
This intro is dope. It makes me feel like a better person.
I tend to wash people up when I do introductions, I should get paid for this. Speaking on feelings, what are your thoughts on feminism? How would you define feminism?
Feminism is not difficult to understand. It is simply treating humans as humans without restricting them based on sex organs they did not choose. Focus on an individual’s abilities and personality; do not taper them to their sex organs. This is basically feminism in a few words.
This is how each person ought to treat each other but this is not the ideal society so we do not often see it. I suppose this is why you are a feminist?
Seeing any form of injustice gingers me to want to do something. Maybe I have an avatar complex. It is just annoying and sickening when I realize that some woman somewhere might be in a situation she can’t help. The idea is to arm women with knowledge to know that they are not sub humans contrary to what we were taught.
This seems to be the general aim of feminism worldwide. I read something similar in the ‘Charter of Feminist Principles for African Feminists.’ The controversy in the international hemisphere is now which women are included in the fight. Who do you think feminism ought to include? Do you think there should be any debate as to who should be counted as a woman?
Feminism should include everyone. My perspective is this: Feminism is for everyone, as it challenges pre-existing gender roles. Can we stop stripping positive aspects off our personalities in a bid to conform to gender roles? People are people first.
As to “Who should be counted as a woman?” in the words of Simone de Beavoir, “One is not born a woman, but becomes one.”
I completely agree with you. I love how you express these thoughts through your works.
This is Ladies Month here at Lucid Lemons and the theme for the International Women’s Day is #PressForProgress, with this in mind, how far do you think women have come in Nigeria and in the world as a whole in terms of equality and feminism?
In respect to feminism, we can’t compare Nigeria now with what it was in 2007. A good number of us are getting the hang of it. Sadly, most women who claim to be feminists do not really get it. I mean, there are women clamoring for equality, yet they want to feel entitled to men’s money? It is a curious case. You are not expected to cherry pick.
It gets more interesting that women feeling entitled to men has a high chance of making women financially dependent on men. This patriarchal system of society is fuelled by women’s financial and sexual dependence on men.
We can’t want equality while using the benefits Patriarchy gives us.
It would take time but eventually, we would come around to the idea that feminism means everyone should let go of their entitlements.
Nigerians love their entitlements like they love their gods. Do you think there’s a way to improve the social affairs of people, especially women, in the country?
There are several ways. For starters, we have to revamp our society. All our social institutions are messed up, and this is why we suffer bad governance. Fixing these social institutions would definitely make life easier for everyone, not just women.
A societal renaissance is needed. Tell us your thoughts on the idea of ‘fighting misogyny with misandry.’
Is misandry real? Is heterophobia real? Is reverse racism real? Is light-skin shaming real? Is upper-class/ bourgeois shaming real?
Misogyny, in our social context is backed by privilege and power, and it is used to the detriment of women. Women’s rights are infringed upon. Opportunities are snatched from women. How has this “misandry” hurt the rights and opportunities of men?
Privilege is a shelter, and it shelters people from seeing their own privileges. Privileged people don’t know they are privileged, and when you call them out, they misconstrue it as prejudice.
“Misandry” is an eight-letter word crafted by unfortunate misogynists to shush feminists. No one wants to give up their privileges without a fight.
How is wanting a just society misandry? If that’s the case, let “misandry” cancel Misogyny.
It’s dumb to love who hates you, to start with.
Very valid point. To the elephant, it is unfair for the grass to ask him not to trample them.
You once said “We have become the men our mothers warned us about.” What led you to make this statement?
I said it because we are changing the status quo. We are utilizing opportunities and creating opportunities that are giving us financial empowerment.
Yes, we becoming as rich as the boyfriends we (would/could) have.
I get what you are saying. Becoming sugar mummies unto ourselves. Do you think you’ll ever get married?
I am my own sugar mommy, sprinkling sugar on my life. Sugar is bae.
Jokes aside, romantic love was not the basis of marriage; ergo, I might want to get married. I love alliances. Unlike what we had in Medieval times, I would be brokering this union on my own terms, not my family’s. Who would not want to be part of a power couple? Would you want to be part of a power couple?
I would love to be part of a power couple! What are your thoughts on bride price?
It’s dumb. People who support it do NOT have a valid reason for supporting it. They support it, because that is how it has always been. Mahn! Imagine having a mind that can’t question ideas. Such a waste! It’s a laughing som’n.
Women (in Nigeria) should start pushing for prenups. A prenup will shield you in the event the marriage goes awry.
The bride price ideology commodifies women. It gives a man a feeling of ownership over a woman. You have read across ‘History of the Wife?’
No, I haven’t been chanced to read it, perhaps I could get it from you. Certain norms must be broken. How do you think young individuals can break society’s definitions of gender norms?
New things are weird until we get used to them. If you deviate, I deviate; other people would be inspired to deviate. Before you know it, our deviation becomes normal. We have to keep deviating from those gender norms. It’s quite shameful that we hold on to ideas put in place by our ancestors, people who would worship us for our advancement, if they came back to life.
Times are changing and the people must change as well. How much longer do you think women will continue to live the life of servitude to men? How close do you think change is?
When we are collectively tired. We are far from that. Women are still jumping into marriages with men who strip them of their magic. There are good men, but no, they have to marry the ones who disrespect them.
Powerful words from a powerful woman. Thank you for taking time to express your thoughts and explaining certain things. To the young ladies learning to become the best women, what do you have to say to them?
You are not extra; people are just not enough, not capable of containing you.
In your journey of be(com)ing you, of embracing your divine essence, you will shake people to their core. It is not your business if they are shocked. Just keep slaying. Whatever you do, don’t stop slaying.
Plot twist: I tell myself this same thing.
Thanks for having me spill a little dose of onugbu feminism. You know how they say feminists are angry, bitter women, who are ugly sex-starved lesbians.
It’s just too funny! You want equal rights and opportunities, and the next thing you are an angry, bitter person who hates men and has become a sex-starved lesbian. The hilarity! As if anger is not righteous.
Hahaha. Onugbu feminism is always welcome. Like Lana Del Rey said ‘There’s a change going to come, I don’t know where or when but I’d be ready for it.’
You can read more on Cisi Eze on her blog, ‘Shades of Cisi’, shadesofcisi.wordpress.com, Bella Naija, Kalahari Review, Outcast Magazine, Rustin Times, and Holaafrica.
Listen to her podcast ‘We Said It’ and her online radio show ‘Stirring the Waters’ on Brownehill Radio at 1500 GMT +1 every Friday.
Follow her on social media!
Twitter and Instagram: @cisi_eze
Facebook: Cisi Eze
Do you have any questions for Cisi?
Ask in our comment section or on our social media! We are @lucid_lemons on twitter and lucidlemonss on IG!