I was reading an article in a Nigerian/Canadian newspaper yesterday about Nigerian men and their Foreign Wives. For obvious reasons, I was interested in the writer's opinion on this issue. It seems (according to the article) that Nigerian men are marrying non-Nigerian women in droves. These men especially if they marry white women feel lucky, grateful and blessed. The writer goes on to say that these men "exceed all matrimonial expectations; but would rubbish and dominate their Nigerian women."
The article goes on to suggest that it could be that white women are submissive in bed, that perhaps we engage in sexual acts that Nigerian women will not or perhaps that it is to do with all things white being better. Furthermore, the writers questions why Nigerian men will not show their sensitive side to their Nigerian wives given that these women typically don't demand equal partnership in the marriage or "..do not demand for more than is earthy possible."
Lastly, the writer goes on to state, "For non-Nigerian wives, life begins and ends in American. For these women, marriage is not about marrying into another family; it is about "us and us alone." And in fact, they would rather you not bother them with stories about your extended families and the need for the monthly or quarterly remittances."
I understand that this article is written by a Nigerian for a certain supposed readership. I also submit to certain portions of the article with which I wholeheartedly agree. For instance, I agree that many Nigerian women don't demand equal partnership in marriage. I think that the whole approach to marriage in Nigeria is completely different than the Western approach and in some ways that is a good thing because I am a firm believer in the fact that North Americans have begun treating marriage in a disposable way. We give up too easily and that isn't a good thing. Not all of us - but the divorce rate on this continent is climbing.
That being said, I also have been given the opportunity to speak to many Nigerian men about their views towards marriage and here is what I have been told time and time again. For whatever reason - be it the financial state of the country, the desperation of its people, or just progression of the state of relationships over time - the men I spoke to all tell me that many Nigerian women while of the dating age tend to date multiple men at the same time and they do so to benefit in a financial way. Every single man I asked told me that Nigerian women want money - they want to be sure that you have some before they commit. Now, I can't blame these women completely, because practically it is good to ensure that your life mate is going to be able to take care of you especially in a country where many people are quite poor and want to ensure their well being.
As a Western born woman, I think it's sad that many Nigerian women commit themselves fully to marriage, do all the raising of the kids, work their asses off at home, and resign themselves to the fact that their husband is going to have women on the side. As a white woman, that isn't something I would put up with. Nor do I want to be subservient to my spouse. So, in that respect, the writer is correct, I DO want to be the co-captain of the ship and I don't think that's such a bad thing.
What I found offensive was the open assumption that I don't care about my husband's culture. First of all, not all white women are American. Second of all, I know many MANY white women who are married to Nigerian men and have immersed themselves in their husband's culture, his way of life and tried their best to do so - sometimes at the sacrifice of their own cultural beliefs. Don't tell me that it's about "us as us alone". Yes, I want the privacy that being married to my husband should provide to me, that doesn't mean that I want nothing to do with his family. I loved my mother in law - deeply - she was an amazing lady and taught me lessons that I value to this day.
If the assumption is made about sending money to the family - then IMO that is just reinforcing a stereotype of Nigerians. Why is everything about money? If you are living in the Western hemisphere and aren't sending money back to Africa that makes you less of a caring family member? Give me a break! I have given endless amounts of money to my African family members and you know what? The minute it stops, then they condemn me. What does that say?
Finally - the sex issue. Whatever it is that you think we are giving these men in bed - and I'm not too sure how kinky you think we are, but I sincerely don't believe that we are more or less likely to do things in the bedroom that you haven't done. I have heard my share of Nigerian women talk about giving their husband a blow job, a hand job, getting oral sex from their husband. I have also heard them talk about multiple sexual positions - so give me a break. We don't do anything you don't do. Every woman on this earth makes personal choices about their own bedroom do's and don'ts - it has nothing at all to do with skin colour.
Naively, I would like to believe that we marry those that we love. For that reason. Yes, there are exceptions and unfortunately, those can colour our vision of what is happening overall. I think that is what is happening here.
There is nothing wrong with standing up for Nigerian women - don't get me wrong. I'm all for woman power. All I ask is while doing so - try not to make incorrect assumptions about others. Just because we aren't Nigerian doesn't make us wrong.