Girl – A Blessing not a Curse

Girl - A Blessing not a Curse

I have never had a better year. In 2016, I became an aunty for the first time, in a stretch of two months I had two adorable nieces. It was good news back to back. Being the last born of my family, I am glad I finally have younger ones to look after. I was more glad because the attention finally shifted from me to the new arrivals. I couldn’t stop posting photographs of my nieces on social media; it was fun shuffling between one niece to the other.

While scrolling down my phone one day, a message popped up from an old friend. “Ahh!! Another  ‘congratulations'”, I thought. I opened it and then it read: “…Having a girl as a first child is a sign of weakness…”  I thought my eyes were reading wrong and I read it over again…and again…and…again. I kept reading it over again as though those words would change but that was all was sent to me. My defense mechanism rose and the best thing I thought to do at that point as typical Nigerian girl was to fire back. Okay, why in the world did he choose to send me those words? In the midst of happiness why was he so negative? Now it was no longer about the good news, it was about the gender of the child.

I stood on the long queue inside a bank and the cashier’s attendance seemed to be slow. I managed to stand for a while before I was close to being attended to. The people around me talked about the country and the economy to while away time as I stood quietly wondering why every little gathering I found myself in blamed the government for every little misfortune, even for a slow-moving queue. As I stood patiently, I overheard an elderly lady and a young boy discoursing. “The money I have here to deposit is so much, it would take a lot of time before they call the next person”, he joked. The woman replied, “you will give it to the male cashier, don’t go to the female one”.  I turned to look at the woman and hoped she noticed the look of disgust I gave to her. Now it was no longer about the duty of the cashier, it was about the gender. It was more shocking because it wasn’t coming from a man but a woman.

These two encounters irked me on the same level. The way people see females makes me look guilty for a crime I never committed. What has gender got to do with weakness and the regular duties of life? Were they joking? A parent was blessed with a child, and they judged them for having a girl. A cashier was going to do her job but they judged her ability by her gender. It is so sad how the society has carved the female gender as the weaker one. Maybe it was all a mistake, maybe the word was meant to be ‘delicate’. We are the delicate ones, not the weaker ones. Somehow, the female gender has learnt to accept that title, they have been blind to see the strength they have therefore letting themselves seem weak and irrelevant.

I am a girl and I happily accept what I have, I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I do not let my gender determine those qualities. A girl’s strength should not lie in her gender but the content of what she has to create positively in her immediate environment and the world at large. I am a girl, not a curse.

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