There’s this dream peculiar to Nigerian teenage girls, or perhaps African teenage girls. Does the dream of these young girls go farther than ‘Get married to a rich, handsome man and have a bunch of kids?’ How much does the current teenage girls’ dream differ from those of the women of the past?
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I remember growing up thinking marriage was an easy-peasy; I mean it had to be easy for everyone to be talking about it the way they were.
It’s hard not to think like that when you grow up in Nigeria; like everyone is literally talking about marriage.
The first complement you get those days from aunties, uncles and family friends usually goes like: “Is this your daughter? Little Chioma of yesterday! She has grown o, ahh. It’s almost time o ah. They will soon start knocking and bringing wine…” That is always the complement.
Then your aunties are telling you: “You’re too beautiful oo. Your husband will pay plenty money oo, if he doesn’t we will not agree o.
I think they probably mean well as that’s the society they know. But these things keep going into these girls ears like that’s all they gotta do to claim a great achievement. If you grew up in Nigeria you can totally relate.
So the Nigerian teenage girls’ dream, how far does it really go?
Tell me how a young girl grows up amidst all of these and doesn’t just want to get married as soon as possible because that’s what they are expecting from her, from you, from us.
And because we’re largely a product of the environment we grew up in, you look around and see human beings of your gender, super proud to be married and having bunch of kids.
Any then there’s a family event, or church event, or village event, the women are tying their wrappers very beautifully, dragging their kids with them no matter how reluctant the kids might be. It’s like a show-off of the children, making a statement that they are still in their husband’s house despite whatever odds. That’s the Nigerian style.?
At these family or village events, the men are usually outside, bonding over palm-wine, hot drinks, liquor, kola-nuts, all that stuff; discussing their latest acquisitions, and victories. While the women are also bonding in the kitchen, amidst chaos and errands. I hated being home in those events, running helter-skelter to get the errands done.?
Then the older ones are asking you “When are we coming for your own? Hurry up let’s gather for you. It means ‘Let’s gather for your wedding’.
If you’re lucky they may ask you about school. “How’s school going?” “Hope you’re reading well o. Hope you’re passing well o.” “When are you graduating?”
And then they say “Graduate fast and bring us husband.”?
Nobody’s asking you – “After graduation, what next?” “Do you need help getting a job?” “I can package your CV for you” Nope. Just: “Graduate and bring home husband”?
After NYSC: “You did not see husband in camp? Or wherever you were posted? Not funny duhhh!
The gathered mothers are rarely discussing how good business is going, business expansion, new challenges to embark on. Rather, “Where’s the next aso-ebi” “Whose daughter put to bed recently?” “Whose son is doing well financially?” “Whose daughter is getting married next?” This is a typical, average, Nigerian family.
The big question is, “Are these important?”
Well, I think they are important but badly presented. The preteen and teen ages are fundamentally formative, hence stuffing teenage girls’ heads with how soon they get married is counter-productive to raising strong, progressive women.
Marriage should be joyful and fulfilling, not timed and pressured, especially when the men are not thinking the same. This makes it appear like marriage is only important to the women, hence women should do all within their power to convince a man to come marry them.
This pressure is evident in the prayers made for sons and daughters; where the prayers for boys are filled with financial progress, promotions and elevations, rarely any mention of wife. Whereas prayer for girls – even teenage girls, as in girls under 20 – is all about finding a husband! Nothing about promotions and elevations😏.
These things go into the subconscious and causes women to take shit just to ensure they bring a man home, just to fulfil that teenage girls’ dream and meet expectations.
So tell me, what was your teenage girl’s dream? Get married at 21, have kids at 22, and have a bunch of kids before 30? Then mother them forever, and of course be the loyal, perfect wife.🥴 Next thing you’re in your 40’s and 50’s… You probably never discovered your life’s purpose.
My Teen Girl Dream.
For me though, my teen dream was very Western and fantastic😍. I used to read things of Harlequin, historical romance novels so I always dreamed I’d meet this really cute, rich and brash guy, dressed in cowboy shorts, boots and hat😂. And he’d take me with him, be the gentleman, take me on actual dress-up dates (not or Nigerian kinda dates🤣); we’d do the whole lying in the grass, watching the sunset and dancing under the stars sort of romance. We’d love happily ever after! 🥳 LOL.
Thankfully, I got back to the real world pretty easily. My parents who are academics, didn’t give us marriage pressure, it was all education and getting jobs. But my grandma though… I don’t take her calls o😂.
So if you grew up in Nigeria and you had sensible parents, you don’t know what Good has done for you. You better not let peer pressure and social media issue destroy all of that good work. Because if you see it where it’s not good, you will not believe it’s this same Nigeria you were raised in.
Hence my plea goes thus, let our generation do better by our daughters. Groom them at their formative years to be strong, resilient and aspire to big, personal dreams. In that way, they are able to marry men that actually align with their dreams as well, they’re better respected and they’re happy.
Please let me know your teenage dreams in the comments, whether as a boy or girl. 👍
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