Are You Self-fulfilling A Negative Stereotype?
So I have a theory that on some level, a number of us are walking around self-fulfilling all the negative stereotypes about ourselves and others that we have ever heard. This is my theory, so try to stay with me as we wander down this winding lane of thought.
I was at a lovely dinner the other day (food is a sure way to my heart, the people that feed me know this, and God bless them very plenty for me) and there were a number of heated conversations sparking off: ranging from discussions about why we have no electricity and whether or not people should pay more for it, to questions about what some called 'Chimamanda’s brand of Feminism’ and then eventually we stumbled across this statement: “Women’s biggest problem is them stabbing other Women in the back. They need to deal with that first before moaning about anything else”.
Ok so i’ve paraphrased and used less ‘f’ bombs than were dropped that night, but in a nutshell I think that was the gist of it.
I’m pretty sure that you all can imagine how this was said, because at one point or another we have all been in these conversations or skirted past them in mixed company. This statement was made by a man but quickly seconded by a Woman, “ It’s true that’s my experience…”
We’ve all been in conversations like this. Think back.
I think back to that dinner conversation now, because shortly afterward I stumbled across a tweet by Filmmaker called Imoh Umoren asking the question “ Who gave you your big break?” and the first two people that came to my mind were women.
I also think back to being a much younger version of myself now and believing that it was easier to make friends with boys than girls, most likely because that’s what the boys around me said and most likely because that’s what the adults around them said. I was also raised in a house with boys so that narrative fit with my reality. It meant that I didn't make much of an effort to be friends with girls outside of my family or even my class and even when I did, I didn’t make much of an effort to stay good friends.
I was never stabbed in the back, as far as I can remember, by any of these girls but it was just easier to be friends with boys… wasn’t it?
Thank God I was sent to brilliant all-girl schools as a teenager. It changed the path of my life.
I certainly did not feel that way when I was in secondary school but dealing in an all women environment for my educative years was intuitively instructive in a way that is virtually impossible to explain. Perhaps if you take the time to read “Women Who Run With Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (the way that I so often recommend to anyone who will hear me), it will give you a sense of the inner knowing that comes with being a woman. And how being patient with yourself, mind and body, is something that can only be learned by the simple act of being with your pack. I am thankful to The Lagoon Secondary School for girls, in Lagos, Nigeria for starting me on my path & to St. Leonards Mayfield School in East Sussex, England for giving me room to truly blossom into someone capable of trusting in her abilities and learning to adapt when the situations change, when I would fail to learn it was just the beginning of a path I could not have forseen.
This is part of what led me to Lola Odenia and Jadesola Osiberu years later, who would give me the biggest push my entertainment career could have got at the time. Two women who I knew diddly squat about before my first sweaty-palmed interview in a corner office at 635 Akin Adesola. Now it would be untrue to say I had not met others who helped me along my way but this article is about the Women who stand out foremost in my brain as being influences and deciders of my fate. Where they could have held me back or not taught me, they gave and pushed. We argued, didn’t always agree, but it was always about getting it done and I thank them for teaching me that early in my working life.
I think back to Wana Udobang who I met right after starting at my first radio gig and who I can’t really remember not instantly loving, and what’s not to love: she’s brilliant, stylish, has the most infectious laugh, and is just about living her best life. If she hadn’t welcomed me like a sister and spent many hours in the office and in car parks drinking cider teaching me what she knew about the industry, if she wasn’t there explaining how the business worked or just being a listening ear when I felt lost and frightened and like a fraud in this entertainment space… I honestly am not sure what sort of help I could be to others at all today if any.
I think back to my sisters: Ifeoma, Barong, Bodam, Sope: who had always been there but maybe I never quite understood and needed a little growing to get there. All of this inevitably makes me think back to my loving Mother, who although wasn’t long enough for this world gave me all that she could, and planted in me the first seed of divine feminine energy. If I hadn’t lost her, maybe I wouldn’t have got to this point in my life where I not only believe but I know, that Women truly do support each other, if they belong in your pack and if you haven’t found that yet, don’t close yourself off to it.
An asshole is an asshole whether they have a vagina or a penis.
These are life facts.
So if you find yourself in situations where you are constantly bumping into assholes, please examine your life and make some adjustments. Stop continuously putting yourself in situations where you end up fulfilling the statement “ Women back stab each other”.
Because that’s what made you an asshole to a woman you never really got to know.