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I don’t want the virtuous woman tag says Joy Isi Bewaji


I don’t want the virtuous woman tag says Joy Isi Bewaji.

Joy revealed that being a virtuous woman in Nigeria means you are living the life society thinks is good for you.

She said:

“Everything they dangled in front of me, like a carrot, I despised.

Marriage was one of them. I realised how much I didn’t want it when I was in it. I truly believe marriage is beneath me in every sense of it, as represented by Nigerians.

I don’t want to have conversations like y’all are having about cooking, how to love a man, how to keep a man, how to fight a side chick.

I don’t want the virtuous woman tag.

Anything the Nigerian woman represents, I want to be far from it.


I am yet to be impressed by even the best marriages I have seen. And most of the time, I am amused by the lies and convoluted practice to prove to others that YOU are happily married.

Why do we think your declaration of happiness in marriage is anybody’s cup of tea?

Many married folks wouldn’t know what happiness is if it struck them on the cheek. This happiness that evaporates the minute you realise your spouse wants some space, some adventure without you. That is not happiness. That is clinging to an institution to feed your insecurities.

And Nigerians do that so well – find cover in institutions to hide their terribly sad existence.

I don’t want the virtuous woman tag says Joy Isi Bewaji

It must be suffocating to continue to drag someone along this path just so that others do not think a (wo)man can excel alone. Tiring to attribute every smile, every slice of foundation on your skin, every achievement to a spouse. It must be tiring not to enjoy the company of someone else without reminding yourself you are committed to another.

Look at your billionaire Nigerian and her constant need to tell us she has a man and she happily washes his underwear. Questions nobody asked her… as if her value deteriorates if she stands alone with raging hormones.

Some marriages wouldn’t even allow you have a cup of coffee with the opposite sex without reminding you of your shackles. Many marriages wouldn’t allow you achieve more than they think is necessary for your gender.

No adventure except it is both of you for the rest of your life with children everywhere grabbing at your virtue. Everything is a stretch. At every turn is a sacrifice to be made.

You are living the life society thinks is good for you.

When you peep out of your hole and discover women like us living an original script, you start to hate. Because you never for once thought it was possible to have it all without submitting to society’s scrutiny.

I know I can’t be the only woman who thinks this way. I am probably the only one bold enough to say it:

Marriage, as we know it in Nigeria, needs to be reviewed. It is a sinking ship with too many cowards in it, fighting for air by grabbing any hair/head that can keep them above water.

The ordinariness of marriage: how two people can come together and still cannot feed one child and pay rent and afford a good life yet claim to be happy.

But that seems to be normal practice these days. Acceptable even.

Now your measure of happiness is determined by how long you can survive a marriage without a knife stab to your heart, your body dragged out by the hair to a trash can.

That’s how we measure happiness these days in our redundant state of being married.

In some quarters, by how many times they remind us their spouse is special – knit with the best wool from heaven.

This is how you tell the ones who are trying too hard. Your arteries will soon explode from all that effort.

How anyone finds this institution exciting beats me. If you aren’t re-writing your own script to suit your own personality for your marriage, you are far from living a life that is worth living.

I really hope we can build our children, especially daughters, differently.”


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