Before I begin, I wish to thank Maggie for agreeing to do this collab post with me. It really means a lot to me as a new blogger! 💜🧡🤍
A girl’s expectations. That’s a rather broad topic. And I mean a reeeaaallly broad topic, when considering the many, many dreams the average girl has.
Every girl has things she looks forward to achieving in her lifetime, her expectations. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the expectations of all girls, notwithstanding diversity factors, can be linked to one another in some ways, because a girl will always be a girl.
But even though we as girls have common, underlying expectations, the different societies we find ourselves in tend to influence some aspects of our expectations.
So what are we doing?
Are our anticipations changing or not?
In this post, I’ll be answering these questions (and more) from my perspective – a Nigerian Igbo girl’s.
JUST A NOTE: Maggie’s headings were in the form of the questions I asked her to answer; I’ll be answering the same questions, but not in the same way as her headings.
That make sense?
Okay, here we go!
Obeying Society’s Norms. 🙆🏿♀️
In Igboland, and in Nigeria as a whole, no matter how intelligent a girl might be, she is only said to be a true girl if she knows how to handle domestic activities: cooking, cleaning, balancing her academics/work and would-be family requirements, managing stress, and all she can do to be a balanced woman-to-be. And we learn this domestic aspect from our moms, from childhood up until we leave our houses at adulthood.
In times past, that was enough. Back then, with a well-grounded domestic background, a girl was more than sure of getting married to a good husband. But that was all people thought a girl was good for back then.
Nowadays, with so much exposure in our societies, the eyes of us girls have been opened regarding our capabilities, and the lengths we can reach, thus bringing about change.
Strong, brave Nigerian woman like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Buchi Emecheta, Dora Akunyili, Chioma Ajunwa, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola, and many other women, were some of the first to realise this, and they blazed the trail for us girls to follow, and to even create new ones of our own.
By default, in the traditional Igbo society, girls are meant to follow the dictations of society. If a girl does something that strikes up noise, or causes heads to wag, she should stop it at once. Girls are meant to be obedient and quiet to a fault, only doing and saying what they are asked to, especially in terms of careers.
But thankfully, with our parents being exposed to the male-female balance in workplaces of the world, they are letting us go into careers we choose, and letting us realise our potentials.
But in other cases where a girl might want to go into a career in entertainment (acting, modelling, music, etc.), for example, the average Nigerian parent disagrees and tells her to ‘be sensible’ and go into a more professional field. 😥
And if she remains unwavering, her parents often leave her to her fate; because in Nigeria, professionalism and corporate jobs are held in high esteem. People in entertainment are widely seen as ‘loose’ and ‘spoilt’.
A girl’s freest age is adulthood. At childhood and teenage, she is still heavily under her parents, and these are the shaping years. We all know that at teenage, teens tend to crave freedom and independence.
The case is no different with Nigerian girls, but we are only allowed a small bit of freedom, as our parents, teachers and elders are never too far away to discipline us when we try to go too far.
Parents fear the behavioural outcomes of teens abroad. From what we see in movies and the likes, teens abroad can be openly sexually active and/or homosexual; when a teen disrespects an elder, no serious punishment is given; teens abroad can choose their own lifestyles, deviant or not, and parents often take no severe action.
Whether the image portrayed in movies, books and on social media is true, Nigerian parents fear that the same fate awaits their children, and so the average Nigerian parent doesn’t even give their child a smartphone (or even any phone) till he/she is (at least) done with secondary school.
They closely monitor their children, most rigidly during teenage, and make sure they are never too far away when they reach adulthood; all just so their child does not ‘spoil’ or become wrongly exposed.
Is Religiosity a Must?🙏🏿
In my view, the most actively religious people in my country are Igbos – our religion widely being Christianity. Igbos believe that a girl can only effectively overcome the challenges she is to face in life if she is actively spiritual.
Not a lot of emphasis on spirituality is laid on boys as it is on girls, because if in a marriage, for example, the wife is actively spiritual, the family is okay. The woman can rub off her spirituality on her husband, or be the one to pray the family out (in a case where the husband fails to pick up).
And girls who are not actively spiritual can most times be said to be ‘loose’ or ‘spoilt’, because it is highly considered that spirituality = morality.
What Our Society Should Really Expect.😊
While I actually commend my society’s rigidity towards the upbringing of young people, especially girls, I still frown at parents who dictate to their children what to do, holding them with an iron fist.
The older generation of Nigeria should learn that the world we live in encourages diversity, and young people, especially girls, should be given the chance to pursue their right, unique aspirations.
Societal groups should stop stereotyping. In Nigeria, when a girl tries to make a statement, tries to be different, tries something new, she is gossiped about and backlashed – and this is seen as normal!
These gossips and side-talks kill our morale and make us doubt who we are and our capabilities. Societal groups, especially women, should learn to give us young girls a chance to express ourselves rightly – not killing our buds before they bloom.
My Advice to Girls Worldwide.🌍
Your expectations are unique and personal, girl. Never waver in whatever you’ve decided to achieve in your lifetime, no matter what. Here are some points I can give to help you out with this:
- Embrace your diversity. Diversity I mean here is your unique aspirations. Don’t be moved by ‘what everyone expects of me’. The only person that matters is YOU. Do what you love, and those who truly love you will appreciate you for it.
- Morality is the emphasis. Yes, in my society, it is believed that spirituality = morality, but nowadays I find that that is not always the case. Do what is right, especially in terms of morality and sexuality.
I won’t lie, I’m not a fan of LGBT movements, because I see them as unnatural. But whatever it is you choose, always make sure you do what is right: try to be positive, lend a helping hand whenever you can, and try to put a smile on someone’s face every day.
- Respect your body. Still linked to the morality point, anyway. I again commend my society for kicking against sexually active teens and unmarried adults.
I’m not against dating, even as a teen, but make sure you’re serious with your relationships. Jumping from one relationship to the other will only distract your attention and make you lose focus.
- Listen to your heart. We’re girls. We have it going on when it comes to listening to our hearts. Always be sure that every step you take – big or small – is in harmony with your dreams and aspirations. Never do anything you aren’t at peace with.
- Work hard. Never neglect the steps you need to take to get to where you want to be.
Put your head down and run, girl. Run towards your dreams! 🏃🏿♀️
I once again thank Maggie for doing this collab with me. I look forward to doing more collabs with you in the future!
Head on over to her site to read her post on the topic. I bet it’s a really amazing one!
Thanks for reading!
Feeling inspired, 😇🙏🏿