DEFINITION: “having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.”
The Nigerian man’s definition of a good woman is the “longsuffering” woman.
The one who will take every bullshit, tolerate bad behaviour, live with disrespect and disloyalty. The one who can be lied to and is guaranteed to not ask questions.
The one who will labour and grow old and brittle, still labouring without compensation or acknowledgement, help, relief or appreciation because she’s been told it’s her duty to labour. It’s what is expected.
The one who will endure verbal, emotional, psychological and even physical abuse because she’s been told a ‘a good woman’ endures.
The longsuffering woman is an unhappy woman but her unhappiness is masked by a desperate attempt to appear that she’s enjoying her ordeal.
For society to clap for her and uphold her as the role model of good womanhood, she has to wear her suffering with pride.
She has to normalize her lack of agency and cloak her daily humiliation with the shining wrapper of her wedding ring.
So she wears her longsuffering with pride. She teaches it to her daughters. After all, she is praised for it.
It doesn’t matter how many times her husband infects her with STDs, it doesn’t matter how many years she has been practically left alone to raise their children, it doesn’t matter how many times he has even put his hands on her. It doesn’t matter how many children he has fathered outside of their marriage.
She is praised for being longsuffering. She’s the ideal wife material.
I hate that word.