Warning: Beauty Fades, But A Woman Who Can Cook Lasts Forever

As part of Bandeka’s PillowTalk feature, late last week we began featuring answers to the question, “Is it better for the relationship if your wife handles the household chores?” So I thought I would revisit the topic again – for those of you who haven’t been following my blog for long, I addressed this issue a few weeks ago in ‘What A Black Woman Has To Say About Submission, You Might Be Surprise‘. In the clip that I featured for that post, Shanel Cooper advised ladies that the best thing for their relationship is to assume the traditional roles of cooking, cleaning, and taking care of their man and home.

It would seem that this is a reoccurring sentiment from both sexes. In this BellaNaija article*, the same message is articulated by an African man: Women need to have an “appreciable level of domesticity.” Although things have changed since the ‘Stone Age’, and women do aspire to greater things outside of the home, the author TJ O’Karo says, “the truth [is] that women are supposed to be quite proficient [at cooking, supervising the home, raising kids, etc.].” To illustrate his point, he describes one scenario where this became an issue. I’ve paraphrased his account, and included my personal comments in bold:

Following NYSC**, one of the prettiest girls at camp moved into a house with me and a few friends from camp. An arrangement was made that everyone would contribute to food, and that the women would cookI may be the only one to think that this arrangement was sexist. But in any case, this was their arrangement. The housemates discovered that the belle of the house couldn’t cook, and as a consequence of this, she lost her status among the men in the house. “The guys who were initially wowed by her beauty and charm, gradually began to gravitate towards the more domestic women in the house!” Before you make any quick judgments, the author also mentions that it wasn’t just about cooking, the belle also didn’t take care of her room, living area, the kitchen, and the guys, etc. Why she would need to take care of the latter is a little beyond me, but point taken- she was an untidy person. Eventually, the belle began to lose her swagger and confidence, which led to her change of heart: “she began to see reason as to why men would prefer domestically capable women and she began to put in an effort and changed.”

So are women supposed to balance work/school, social functions, friends, and taking care of their man and home (or the things “they are supposed to be naturally good at”? ERRR YES! They’re supposed to be Super Women, the author says. It just is what it is, [African] men REQUIRE their woman to perform traditional roles at home- and shockingly, the “extras” are just that, extras: a welcomed part of the package, but as an addition. <- TJ O’Karo’s words, not mine. [But note, men will still cheat on a super woman for no reason…but I digress]

If you haven’t checked out Bandeka.com recently, do so and view the responses that we have received from men. I’ve now highlighted three similar opinions, but am I overstating this pattern?  Is a woman’s worth in a relationship really tied to her ability to cook and clean? Have we moved away from non-traditional roles in the household? And did this idea ever really take root in African households? Can someone make a strong argument that women shouldn’t assume the role of ‘running the house’- however this is defined?

Mr. O’Karo ends his article by saying, “a woman who isn’t domestic is like a man who can’t earn a living! A woman’s looks, charm, intelligence, and money can only take her so far with men; the same way a man’s looks and charm can only take him so far with a woman without any real source of income.” Something to think about.

*If page doesn’t open, refresh.

**National Youth Service Corps – Three week orientation for recent Nigerian graduates before they begin their one  year of national service.


Why Do Men Cheat?

Why not just break up with me? Why would you rather cheat? These are all too common cheating questions for women. So Bandeka is tackling this very issue for you THIS WEEK. Using our PillowTalk feature, we at Bandeka have spent the past month gathering honest responses from men to answer some of the burning questions we have received from women, and now we’re ready to share them with our members! I spent some time in my last post talking about the importance of having honest men in your life to tell you the truth about your relationship issues. However, not every woman has this (some don’t have these kind of men in their lives and some don’t use them for advice). So particularly for YOU, we at Bandeka have come to the rescue! MAKE SURE to check out the results of our first question on cheating at www.bandeka.com this THURSDAY!!! Two things I can guarantee you: you won’t like all the answers, BUT you will get some understanding into the mind of (most) men.

One of the co-founders of Bandeka is currently reading ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and he sent me an intriguing snippet from the book:

“I can’t go back to his house aunty”

“I am not asking you to go back to his house.  I said you will go back to Nsukka.  Do you not have your own flat and your own job?  Odenigbo has done what all men do and inserted his penis in the first hole he could find when you were away.  Does that mean somebody died?”

Olanna had stopped fanning herself and could feel the sweaty wetness on her scalp.

“When your uncle first married me, I worried because I thought those other women outside would come and displace me from my home.  I now know nothing he does will make my life change.  My life will change only if I want it to change.”

“What are you saying, Aunty?”

“He is very careful now, since he realized that I am no longer afraid.  I have told him that if he brings disgrace to me in any way, I will cut off that snake between his legs.”

Aunty Ifeka went back to her stirring, and Olanna’s image of their marriage began to come apart at the seams.

“You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man.  Do you hear me?” Aunty Ifeka said.  “Your life belongs to you and you alone”

There are so many things I cannot begin to comprehend about this exchange, however no matter how dumbfounded I am by this idea of condoned (habitual) cheating, it’s a reality the some people have to face. What I think I am most intrigued and disturbed about is the encouragement of a family member to stay in a relationship where this is taking place. It could be my naiveté, but should the way in which a man cheats matter? And can any woman really claim that their man “respects” them just because he’s not cheating out in the open?

Thoughts?? I’m also wondering whether this is something that is unique to the African culture, or whether all cultures deal with this dilemma?

In the near future we will be showcasing additional answers to burning questions from women, including:

  • What do men look for in a wifey?
  • Why would a black man prefer to date a non-black woman?
  • Do men expect a certain level of domestication?

If you have any burning questions, please use our PillowTalk feature and ask us ANYTHING. Or you can send us an email at talktous@bandeka.com.