This is not a ground for bigotry. Thus, we need objectivity. Concepts like culture, religion and love will sometimes fail in the faces of reason, logic and sound judgement, but people have died for them.
That means, there is an element of genuine appreciation to them, if people hold them in such esteem and obey their dictates willingly.
The concept of solving a non-existent problem
Nonetheless, certain people do not realize the fault in certain acts till they get told. While that means creating problem where none was existent by ingraining the dictates of a new reality, it has been the idea behind progressive ideas across humanity.
Someone thought slavery, colonialism and gender inequality were wrong before people saw the wrong in them. Without such clamour, inequality would remain a worrying reality.
Who is an Emir?
Emirs are religious leaders in Muslim settings of Caliphate. They have also assumed the role of the traditional rulers of communities, to administer customary laws and maintain order.
The equivalent of an Emir in the south is the Oba or Obi, depending on where you check from. Yoruba for example assume the Oba is the Ifa’s lieutenant, who administers Eledumare's wishes and dictates.
In the traditional parlance, that should lend some theories on reverence, perception and range of power as well as influence Emirs wield.
Like their Yoruba counterparts, they have certain rights and are viewed as demi-gods in native parlance. That is why their wives respect them in ways they do.
Emirs’ wives are called ‘Gambiya’, and while their husbands sit on the throne, they kneel down, and sit on their heels and calves. It is a practice that was meant to underline the power and influence of kings.
While in modern context, it means derogation upon women, it is a cultural practice that women are accustomed to.
Should the act be eradicated?
As noted earlier, culture doesn’t always make sense, and sometimes, mentioning certain wrongs with culture equates creating a problem where none was existent.
Emirs’ wives are not complaining. They are also incredibly respected within the community as a First Lady would. They are like deities that embody the rudiments of class and beauty of power.
A lot of the modern Queens are also modern women who have accepted the reality they marry into and conform to them.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t make such things right. Even though such objection might create a larger conversation that no one wants, we must have these conversations that lend ideas to our thought process and progressiveness, especially when women are concerned.
It seems a very misogynistic idea that women don’t even sit, but still kneel while their husbands seat on their thrones in the throne room.
It might send wrong messages of exceptions from fair treatment and equity, regardless of gender to the younger generation when fair treatment should be limitless and without exception — except where choice is involved, despite being privy to other options.
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Should such practices then be eradicated?
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On Tuesday, September 4, 2018, Northern Blog, an internet pop culture blog, with an Instagram accountcertainly thinks the practice should be eradicated. It thinks it is derogatory and should not stand.
The commentators on the post however disagreed, repeatedly stating their vehement support for this supposedly derogatory culture.
The summation of their replies, written in Hausa seems to state that these Gambiyas only do this, when their husbands are in the Palace, fully dressed in kingly regalia.
Such exceptions also seem reasonable, as the women are also not complaining.
Nonetheless, if we let every derogatory culture towards women stand, women would be stuck in the dark ages of intense patriarchy.
Ordinarily, any culture that doesn’t cater to equity and fair opportunity should be eradicated and this should be, but it is a sensitive topic and we should thread carefully.
That said, I think we can show the regal nature of kings without such extreme measures. We can thus get these women seats, albeit lower to their husbands.
Kneeling through Emirs sessions in the Palace is certainly very conservative by modern standards, but culture is culture.
Culture is not always right, however.