There is a societal stereotype that says that women are more emotional than men, some people might even argue that men are not “biologically wired” to show feelings or emotions.

This statement like many other societal stereotypes is a lie that only promotes patriarchy and toxic masculinity. However, what I want to draw out of this is that when it comes to expressing emotions, the society permits women to be expressive, however, there is a caveat to this; women are allowed to be expressive as long as it does not become an inconvenience to the men in their lives.

This article was inspired by a scene from a web series I watch and a conversation I had with a friend, a couple of days ago. I’ll be sighting these situations as examples in this discussion.

Let us begin with the web series, it’s Ndani Tv’s Skinny Girl In Transit (SGIT). In this particular episode that I watched (S6E5), Tiwa, the wife in the series had just had a miscarriage and she is going through post-miscarriage trauma, she blames herself for the loss, she particularly blames her weight for it, she feels the miscarriage happened because she is too fat and her body can’t carry a baby.

The resultant effect of how she is feeling is that she is cranky, moody, a bit aggressive and nothing, Mide (her husband in the series) does seem to be right.

Mide on his own part is being the loving husband despite the fact that he is also grieving the loss of the pregnancy but no matter what he does, he just seems to (unintentionally) make matters worse for Tiwa which she doesn’t fail to point out.

In the comments section, a lot of people berated Tiwa, comments like: “you are overreacting”, ” Your wahala is too much, you are not the first woman to miscarry” and the worse of all the negative comments I read was “you should be lucky you have a caring husband, anyway sha it’s just film, in real life no man will stand for this.”

I read these comments and I was like, is this what marriage has really become?

A wife can’t express her deepest feelings because of the fear that she might lose her husband or that a woman has to be grateful that the man she married, a man who swore before God and man to love and care for her is doing just that.

More than half of the people in the comments section thought Tiwa was overreacting and needed to get herself together because as a married woman, her husband’s feelings should come first before her own, considering the fact that she is lucky enough to have a “good” husband.

SGIT may be a fictional web series but the people who made these comments are real-life people who most likely live by these standards.

The second example is the conversation I had with my friend. She told me she has been feeling some kind of way about her boyfriend, she was asking my opinion on what to do about the issue. However, several times during the conversation, she kept saying “don’t worry Aminat, it’s probably just in my head.” She obviously had doubts about some things which she needed to discuss with her boyfriend but she kept trying to downplay those doubts, almost to the point of dismissing them as irrelevant feelings.

These situations made me realise that many of us, as women don’t know how important it is for us to voice out our feelings.

First, as human beings, our mental health should be paramount. Bottling up your feelings, downplaying your emotions and hiding your deepest concerns is one sure way to deteriorate your mental health. As someone who is suffering from anxiety disorder, I know how it feels to keep things inside, not because you don’t want to discuss them but because you don’t know how to or because you feel you might be judged if you do. What I am saying, in essence, is that speaking about how you feel is not something that is always easy to do but it is a very important step towards freeing your mind and attaining peace.

Secondly, as women, it is important for us to be assertive, to speak out our minds in other to avoid being stepped upon like doormat. It is EXTREMELY important for us to speak out minds freely, to not cower physically or emotionally.

I am not saying that we have to be paranoid and irrational or to tear up over every little thing because that’s what society expects of us. I am saying that as women whether married, single, heterosexual or queer, the world will always try to bring us down, so being able to voice our feelings and opinions, will help us stand up for ourselves.

So whether it’s in a relationship (like the instances above) or at the workplace or even in religious spaces it is important for us to air out our opinions and make our voices heard.

Thank you for reading today’s post, like I promised last week, I have made a list of must-read books written by African women. Also, there is a new series coming to the blog called Tbwspeaks, please click here to read on how you can become a part of it.

Next week, I’ll be discussing whether the hatred of men is a myth or a real threat of feminism. As usual, I’d love to read your thoughts and comments on today’s topic.

Please stay safe during this period, wash your hands, maintain proper social distancing and follow the orders of constituted authority.

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