Marital Submission in the face of GLOBALIZATION has a different definition from what my fore-fathers used to know.
Modern day submission has to do with both parties in a marriage and not the stereotype Woman-Man Submission that was application in the past.
Present day wives are equiped with knowledge through education and civilization, which makes them involve in decision making at home unlike those days when women were taught to believe that Men were superior to them in every marital decision from ranging from childbirthing, child rearing, kitchen responsibilities to career building .
Religion and culture do play a in tmajor part in social construct around marital submission.
Some religious and cultural settings do not promote womens’ right, decision making and privileges especially in the home front. Thereby giving women sanctimonious humility and depressing identities, with feelings locked up like an angry child who is taught to never to disobey adults even at his peril.
In present times, social issues sterming from marriages are on the increase compared to the past. Not that these issues did not exist, but people were on ‘enduring and silent mode’, especially women. Now, driven by elements of GLOBALIZATION, voices of oppressive marriages are heard and institutions are also evolving to handle emerging issues.
Worthy of note is the changing etymologies of words that have women at the focal.
Words like liberty, equity, equality, freedom, rights, sexuality, genital, autonomy, integrity, reproduction, health, widows, gender, female, harassment, violence, alimony are now conveying powerful messages in phrases and nomenclatures that were unheard of thirty years ago.
From Gender and Violence to Gender-based Violence (GBV); Sexual Autonomy and Bodily Integrity (SABI); from Female and Genitals to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM); from Child birth to Childbirth Spacing (CBS); from Sex to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) to the current one which is Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR); Widow’s Right; Educate the Girl Child (EGC), from Gender to Gender and Equality Access (GEA); Sexual Exploitation Analysis (SEA); Gender Desk Officer (GDO) etc.
Infact, learning curriculums have adapted to these evolution especially in Multi-Disciplinary Courses like Development Studies, and International Development, Gender Studies, Public Order, Communication for Development, Globalization, Occupational Health and Safety, Public Health. In all these Courses, there are Subjects designed around Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gender Stereotype, Gender Roles in the society, social norms, Migration and population change, Risk Communication, Social Change, Behavioral Change Communication, Occupational Psychology and Social Bonding, Behavioral Economic and Human Centered Design (HCD) etc.
For instance, a Medical Doctor furthering a Post Graduate Course in Public Health will definitely acquire new aspect of experiential learning to fit in completely as a Community/Public Health Doctor and also manage clients’ behaviors. Moreso, an Engineer taking courses in Development Studies is able to fit into any Humanitarian setting with skill and patient to conduct an after action review (AAR).
In the context of the theme of this article, Knowledge driven by Globalization will contrast the conventional definition of ‘Submission’, and as Knowledge shapes the society, that is how an emotionally or physically abused woman is shaped in mindset, and her constant exposure to these tools of globalization like social media, movies, x-rated porns and others (beauty product adverts), reality TV shows, female role-models in business and politics and other Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, sooner or later expose those inert social actions.
At this point, if a partner is not flexible and adjustable in marital relationship, friction and shadows of conflict would set in.
Other influencers are women centred reforms, policies and legal instruments like Work Place Policy, Gender Policy, Palimony and Alimony can further empower women if wielded properly. These instruments have broken grounds for woman and more gains are still being made – The recent Court Judgement on Female Right to Inheritance in Igbo land can tear down an age long tradition.
There have been an overwhelming support to the assertion that the western world is developed because they uphold rights of women.
A Modern Teacher who is also a proponent once told me that any society that does not recognize the inert and active rights of women will perpetually remain stagnant with its original and traditional landmark features. He would say that there are similarities in landmarks across local Communities in Nigeria, like rugged, untarred and undulated terrains, dark at night without electricity, some with uncompleted town Halls, primary schools with leaked roofs, obnoxious customs and beliefs etc.
Hmmmmmmm! But his hypothesis seems to be true in a way, but i may not in entirety attribute our underdevelopment to deprivation of certain rights because where I come from, there had been a time in history women wielded decision making powers to the extent they had the liberty of naming children after themselves.
This is evident to the fact they are persons still bearing ‘Ekaete’ (Mother’s Father), ‘UdoAdiaha’ (second son to the mother), ‘Kopno Uka’ (Listen to your mother) and so on. Also, what would have led women to revolt against excessive taxation by the colonial Whites, which for whatever reason was tagged “Aba Women’s riot’. This more or less depicts that Women had assets.
When did they lose these liberties? Could it be that the liberties in decision making process led to the custom of brothers/relatives inheriting the wives of demised brothers/relatives, so as to situate the assets of demised brothers/relatives within family watch? Then while trying to hold on to those powers of decision making, widows decided to adopt either their first or last sons as Husband in order not to be married to late husband’s relatives?
In my thinking though, I believe that was when the Rubicon line of rights deprivation was drawn and it found its way into local customs, belief and thus gave a superior mentality to male children over females.
This also affected gender roles as our foremothers taught their daughters to stereotype Woman-Man submission model.
I remember then in the village during summer holidays as a kid, there were moments my grandmother will prepare a chicken meal as a punishment for failing to add certain condiment like periwinkle in my Grandfather’s meal.
Those moments were fun and sweet anyway, but a modern women would not be confined to such practices. Even when she happens, with the modern Life skills of persuasion, assertiveness, Interpersonal Communication, charisma, and empathy, she can comfortably negotiate her way out of modern slavery.