It is clear that a lot needs to be changed about the way many Nigerian relationships and marriages are being conducted. Chief among what needs to be changed, particularly as it relates to this piece, is the undue relevance placed on a woman’s ability to cook before being considered enough ‘wife material’.
No sugar coating needed; it is plain stupid, archaic, and so, so backward to attach such importance on this skill to the point of letting a great babe go just because she is not-so-great at whipping up meals for you at the snap of your fingers.
And as insignificant as this issue may sound to many of you reading this, it is still a very necessary one to talk about, given that in the minds of many more men, a woman’s ability to make meals is still a determinant of how wifely she is.
Understandably, because of the traditional approach to marriages and home keeping that has been in place for such a long time, women are more likely to have better cooking skills than men. Society has been so constructed by years and years of systemic family organization. It is undoubtedly the way of life – man bears the financial responsibilities, woman takes care of the domestic things on the home front. Cut and dried.
But that was only good for yesteryears. Not anymore.
The family system painted above has been shown inappropriate and defective time and again, especially in the face of a changing generation. Here we are, sitting squarely in the age of millennials where women are taking on more important roles in society than ever before, conversations that used to be suppressed before are being openly had, and shared responsibility on the home front has never been more… shared.
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These days, men are being told to get more involved and more hands-on in their homes. Women are being told to pitch in with more financial muscle than previous generations of women had to flex. Everything is turning on its head, and for good.
Back to this issue of cooking; apart from the fact that this is one of the changes that society’s dynamism necessitates, treating women as if they were designed from heaven to be cooks and champions of domestic work is also wrong because the ability to cook and do domestic work is learnt and everyone can do it!
Logically, before a guy marries, he still finds a way to do his laundry and get himself fed, no matter how busy he is. If it was possible while he was a bachelor, it is still possible when such guy marries.
Cooking is a basic skill that comes from the instinct to eat! How then can that be something to place such massive importance on when you want to choose who to marry?
There’s more to marriage than meals and domestic activities, and surely, there is more to a woman than her abilities to do these. Add to that the fact that cooking can be learnt at any stage, and it becomes even more preposterous that men exist in 2018 who still have a woman’s ability to cook so highly placed on the list of things they want to see in a potential partner.
In all honesty, you will hardly find a Nigerian woman above 20 who does not know how to make good meals. We are sure from experience that Nigerian parenting places so much premium on that and it’s actually such a good, good thing.
What we need now as a society is for parents to be as intentional with teaching the male child how to cook as they are about teaching the female child. And also to stop linking these lessons to what the female children will have to do at their husband's house.
If sustained transgenerationally, this system will erode, once and for all, the belief that women are good for meals while also encouraging men to look for more qualitative reasons to wife a woman rather than these cheesy wife material qualities that should have no place in a progressive society.