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Mental health and liberated womanhood

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Dr Adeoye Oyewole

There is obviously an increased awareness among women in Africa to regain their pride of place in society and utilise their God-given endowment in the service of humanity.

There are increased calls to women to seek elective offices and become presidents and legislators. Also, there are demands on governments to ensure that appointments are made on an equal ratio with men. Our modern women are, no doubt, equipped to play more visible economic, political, academic and social roles in the society than their mothers and aunts, who could not get a fair deal from the menfolk. They have witnessed and read stories of the inhuman treatment that women have experienced in our African societies through reckless patriarchy.

As a consequence of the predominant agrarian community that operated a basic subsistence economy, men had the upper hand by cultural prescriptions and economic advantage through brawn rather than brains. The post-modern era, characterised by the consequence of globalisation of values, has altered the dynamics of culture and economics, such that patriarchy is actually becoming obsolete as a premise for male dominance and awaiting redefinition or end up in the dustbin of human history.

The modern African woman through the acquisition of technological and other professional skills, in addition to their natural endowments for prudent management, are gradually but steadily some steps ahead of most men in financial standing, especially during this economic recession. The dynamics have changed and with grave consequences on our marital relationships and mental wellbeing.

I am quite worried about the shift in the intellectual dominance of women, even in our universities where, in a situation of 12 first class awards declared, only a feeble male is paraded. Questions should be asked about this abysmally skewed finding. The women liberation campaign agenda should be objectively interrogated in the context of its mental health consequences.

Some of the men have become absentee, castrated fathers parading the neighborhood as alcoholics and sexual opportunists. The women executing the campaign agenda are under enormous pressure to crush patriarchy by assuming roles not compatible with their endowments, thereby coming down with cardio-vascular and various grades of psychiatric disorders. Many children that grow in such marital circumstances invariably become cyber-criminals and the girls become prostitutes recruited by the crushed men who want to reconstruct their fractured ego by seeking sexual conquest with a female minor as a transfer of aggression from failed marriages. The women liberation campaign of the feminist flavor is largely unbalanced, vindictive and unwholesome.

The major religious faiths of the world agree that the woman is the mother of creation. This is backed up by scientific evidence, which established that women possess certain psychological characteristics that make them more resilient and resourceful than the male gender. The brain of a man operates mainly on one side in terms of basic logical and narrow reasoning. while that of the woman operates on the two hemispheres, enabling her to multitask with enhanced awareness of vital but salient issues crucial in decision making. This capacity makes women an indisputable complement in all leadership roles, especially in a synergistic marital relationship that patriarchy had shut down over the centuries due to fear, selfishness, and cowardice.

The women, arguably being aware of their repressed inherent capacities, have chosen to react rather than synergise their enormous powers in filling the gaps created by a male-dominated leadership. This has created a grave imbalance in the most basic unit of society which is the family leaving men’s ego crushed with the attendant mental health consequences. The son may initially serve as a surrogate husband to this reacting woman until he chooses to marry a particular younger woman against the counsel of his mother and the vicious cycle of animosity and bitterness ensues. The daughter in such settings may view men as victims to be manipulated, used and dumped.

There is some evidence that when marital relationship is skewed in the direction of the woman, the children, especially the males, may end up with some serious mental illness. The daughters may become combative in their marriages, providing a breeding ground for mental health disasters emanating from an attitude she picked from her mother.

The liberated woman is aware of her God-given powers of creativity and indispensable stabilising endowment, which she deploys through a well developed emotional intelligence to make the family and invariably, society a better place. Then it shall be said of that truly liberated woman that the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.

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