First, let’s start with a story!
Busola, a tech engineer working at a top ranking IT firm in Lekki, is anything but a regular woman. After bagging a scholarship to study computer engineering at a top UK university, she graduated Summa Cum Laude at the age of 23 before returning to Nigeria where she secured employment at the firm she presently works. At just 27, Busola is living her best life — a house in Lekki, a brand-new car and enough money to sustain her.
Known to be a jovial person every other day, Busola doesn’t have that same energy when she attends functions, particularly family and church functions. At a particular function with her family members, Busola donned a thigh high split skirt which caught her aunt’s attention. The latter would later hit her with some really sharp and bitter words over her choice of dressing — words that could throw her into a state of depression.
On the internet, Busola flaunts her good life, but the happiness is usually cut short when even young people come to the comment section to tag her ‘small girl, big God’. These people don’t even know her, they have no idea what she’s been through or where she’s coming from.
A lot of young Nigerian women can relate to Busola’s story as it’s become commonplace for them to be judged by what they wear, where they live, if they live alone, if they are clubbers, own a car, lead an extravagant lifestyle and more.
The mindset of a lot people in Nigeria today is that any lady in her 20s and early 30s who leads a kind of expensive lifestyle —cars, clothes housing and all— can only be involved in one profession, “prostitution”.
Now, as stated in our headline, welcome to this course, Prostitution 101, here are some of the things you need to do or have to be tagged a “prostitute” in Nigeria
Have a banging body:
“Thick girls rock, thick girls rock” the same can’t be said for thick Nigerian girls.
In Nigeria, any young lady with a banging body—that hourglass figure— who flaunts it, is considered a prostitute. Society sees them as expensive and naturally believes they need the profession to maintain their body.
Own a car:
This should even top the list, cause ‘how can you be a young lady in Nigeria and own a car?’
Society has stereotyped ladies who own cars as those who have sugar daddies because the maintenance of their car can only be funded by a “glucose guardian”.
They’re of the notion that a lady with a decent job can’t afford a car. Hence the need to tag anyone with one, a prostitute.
When you’re in dire need of the “prostitute” tag, just wear anklets. Anklets are so called ankle chains, they are ornaments worn around the ankle. But in Nigeria an anklet is a symbol of prostitution.
Tattoos are seen as taboo, in the Nigerian culture. They’re believed to be a culture from the western world. Any lady with a tattoo is prone to being tagged a prostitute. Society doesn’t believe you can have tattoos and still be decent.
Have multiple piercings
The number of morally acceptable piercings in our society is one, at most two. Any lady with more than one piercing is seen as the Commanding Officer of prostitutes in Nigeria. Tweak it up a bit by piercing your tongue, nose, navel, or any other part of the body. Multiple piercing in Nigeria automatically promotes you to the position of Grand Commander in the Order of the Federal Republic of Prostitutes. You have earned yourself GCFR without being the president.
Go to a lounge or bar alone
…or with your female friends, now finish work by shaking small bum bum or try to chew gum while sipping your drink. You’ll definitely get an offer for the night. Don’t be surprised!… that’s one of the ways you know you’re on track in passing the “Prostitution 101” course.
“olosho no wan born pikin” the fact that you’re being careful in stopping an unwanted pregnancy will have some pharmacists think of you as a prostitute… they might not say it out loud, but it’s in their head or in gossip.
All these and more can have people dub you as a prostitute… A lot of Nigerians are always so swift to dub a lady a sex worker because of various despicable reasons…
But should that always be the case? Should a lady be forced to conform to a particular mode of dressing? Should a lady like Busola, who earns a good income, be afraid to spend it so as not to be tagged a “prostitute”? Can one live like Busola and still maintain a decent and acceptable existence?
Naturally, society puts lots of pressure on the female gender, ‘you are a woman; you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t wear this, you shouldn’t hold that position” the list goes on.
Labeling young women “prostitutes” because of their success or lifestyle can drive them into depression, or even cause low self esteem. A successful woman shouldn’t always have to justify her means. Let’s stop the gender stereotype, we can do better as a society.