YES IT IS.
Before you hate on me, let me explain myself. I’m a realist. I’m one of those people who has their feet firmly planted in reality. Yes I idealize, I imagine, I dream, but only about things I think I have power over. I look at situations as they are, then I try to see how I can navigate them to achieve my goals and my agenda. I fight systems by navigating them, not by carrying placards. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against those who carry placards, or fight loudly. In fact, I respect them deeply for the work they do in bringing issues to social consciousness. But I understand myself well enough to know that I hate conflict, and so I avoid confrontations that lead to conflict. I like to handle things in a more insidious way (stealth mode 😎).
And so, as much as it pains my heart, I have to admit that it’s really a man’s world. Men have or have had an unfair social advantage over women for most of human history. Even now that things are subtly changing in some climes, you’ll be shocked to know that the difference is only slight. So, as “advanced” as a country like the US is, they have not had a female president in over 200 years. Hillary Clinton still had an uphill battle to fight because of her gender. She was forced to answer for her husband’s infidelity, while her opponent was excused for his personal moral atrocities. In most developed countries, there are still major issues around equal-pay-for-equal-work, and women in the same position as men still get paid less. Don’t let me even start to talk about societies like Nigeria, where last week an official of some strange agency who was wearing a high-visibility jacket that I didn’t recognise, tried to stop me and after I refused to stop, he came to me a few metres away where I parked to buy something, and asked me if I didn’t have someone like him in my home. As close as 2006, a Nigerian woman still had to get her father or husband’s consent to get a passport. Such amusing things, you’ll be shocked to hear.
But I believe that society changes when people individually refuse to submit to the status quo. If we wait for society to change before we take a personal stand against traditions, we will wait for a lifetime. I may not carry a placard, but as a woman, I refuse to be a walk-over. In handling issues, I ensure that we drill down to the real intentions rather than deal on the surface. So, this man says “Don’t you have my type in your home?” And I say, “Yes I have a younger brother”. Or to the taxi driver who says to me, “You’re not better than the person I keep at home”, I simply respond, “You’re just like my driver”. Rather than start a hue and cry over what they have said, I have learnt to pass the fight back to the instigator. And I believe women need to learn how to use wisdom over conflict. A controlling husband will never tell his wife that he doesn’t want her to work so that she has no financial independence and he can control her, he’ll make it about the children and how he can cater for the family, etc. So I would say to a woman in that situation, don’t fight him, be obedient and don’t go out to work, but start a graphic design business using Canva and social media on your phone. Then save your money using PiggyVest. Without getting out of that house, you’ve started to build a nest egg for yourself. You’re not out to prove a point, so you don’t need to flaunt it. But if it becomes an issue, then he’ll have to go further to explain what the problem is, since you haven’t flouted his “rule”. There’s always a way to work around issues without making too much noise.
The advantage of “stealth mode” is that your opposer doesn’t see it coming, and it’s therefore difficult to combat. And it works almost everytime, even in the workplace. In my opinion, not all activism has to be loud. Silent activism can be strategic and insidious, and have impactful results. Never underestimate the power of a determined woman, you may not see it coming, but she will achieve her goals.
Quiet energy can be just as disruptive as propaganda, you just have to know how to use it.