To Whom It May Concern…

Tolu By Toluwani Adekunle

This is for you. Yes, you.

I got sick of people speaking for me. In a gathering of women, feminists or not, there is always that one voice that is sure to say, “Women want to be respected, women want to be treated equally, women want to be loved.” How do you know what I want? I’m sorry, but I don’t remember a time when I sat you down and explained my needs to you. Nor the time when I cut open that thick mass of flesh and bared my soul to you. So next time, speak for yourself and let me do likewise because you will never be able to convey my needs as passionately as I will, neither will you be able to translate my experiences into a lingua franca that all can resonate with.

african-foodI got sick of you planning out my life, trying to figure out what steps I should take, and those I shouldn’t. “Why do you want to get a PhD? You will be in school forever and never get married.” This was your famous anthem. What about those pictures you shared on my Facebook wall–recipes for different African dishes–just to drive home the point that an African woman should be able to prepare a good African dish for her husband? Or those subtle messages you always manage to throw into our conversations about how men generally prefer women with lower qualifications? By the way, I ended up deleting those recipes as soon as they came in.

Now, do not get me wrong: your opinions are fine, as long as you keep them to yourself. I will even, as a matter of desperation, get coffee with you while you rant on about the benefits of getting married at a young age, cooking for your husband, or whatever it is you choose to talk about, just to get you off my back. But what I will not condone is you claiming to give me some unwarranted advice, while what you are actually doing is trying to manipulate my thoughts and imposing your will on me. I have been forced to realize that you paid attention in your Psychology classes, but what I do not recall is the moment when I made you the expert over my life.

Orange_TreeFinally, stop telling me to be politically correct. There is so much to be said in so little time. Mangoes will never spring forth on an orange tree and so also can the truth never be told in any other way than how it is. There is so much I want to say, like how people should stop calling me a feminist because it puts me in a box, it places a definition on me and I refuse to be defined. I’m more than a feminist. I am the one who refuses to conform to the contorted image of what you think I should be, the one who refuses to be spoken for but will rather speak for herself and asks that everyone does likewise. I am Toluwani E. Adekunle, now who the heck are you?

Be offended,
Tolu A.

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