Freda walked out of Mr. John’s office laughing loudly. She bumped into Gina, her colleague and friend, who wore a pronounced frown, with her hands akimbo and shook her head in disapproval.
“Why were you coming out of his office like that?” Gina asked, “what did he say to make you laugh?”
Freda paused and regarded Gina closely. It was unlike her to harbor I’ll feelings. So, she decided to prod.
“What is your problem with Mr. John, Gee? I know you usually like people.”
Gina faked a smile.
“He’s a feminist. And we both know that me feminists are not all that. They’re cunny and dangerous, only after your money and the fact that you’ll always split bills. Remember Lanre, Obinna, and even Sule. That internet celebrity.. What was his nickname? Milkshake – he was just the worst! The number of complaints that came up against him eh. God forbid! Please leave John alone o. He’s just like them.”
Horrified, Freda said, “Ah. No. But Mr. John is none of these things you just described! He’s actually very sweet when you get to know him, Gee. He even speaks highly of you self.”
Gina shifted uneasily but maintained her level voice.
“Freda, see, I know you’ve been lucky in relationships but I’m warning you as a friend. This sly fox isn’t written on their foreheads – and that’s the idea: to lure you into their trap and devour you. Don’t fall for it. Trust me, it’s better to be with a man who is honest than one who masquerades as a Feminist.”
Nodding approvingly, Freda smiled and said, “I completely agree that we should be with honest people and I know about those horrible people you described – and the things they put people through. But I can assure you that Mr. John is not them. You can’t use everyone else to judge him, you know? It’s not fair at all.”
“Me, I’ve told you o. Stay away from him! I’ve lost good money to so-called feminist money. Yet, I still got my heart broken. They always left me for a bigger mugu. Not a nice experience my dear. It’s not.”
Freda patted Gina affectionately.
“I understand all you’ve said, Gee, and I’m sorry for all you went through. You know we talked about it and often and we identified telltale signs that could help us pinpoint men like that in the future. And trust me when I say that John is not like that at all. Okay, can I ask you a question?”
“Of course,” Gina said, curiously looking to see what Freda will do next.
“Are you a Feminist?”
“Of course, you know this more than anyone!” she replied, winking.
“Yes, I do,” Freda replied, linking her arm in Gina’s and steering them towards her office, down the passageway. “So, are you a bitter, toxic or man-hating person?”
“Of course, not!” Gina replied, threatening to pull her hand away. “How can you be asking me that?
Freda smiled sadly, “Are you wicked or against Christianity?”
“Freda!” Gina exclaimed, a little louder than she should have. “Why are you asking me this? You know the answers already – they haven’t changed yet. Or you don’t know me any more?”
“Not like that, Gee,” Freda said, “I’m driving somewhere, I promise.”
Gina rolled her eyes as Freda unlocked her office door and they both walked in and sat opposite each other.
“Have people suggested that you were these evil things? How did it make you feel?” Freda asked.
“You know they have joor! And it really hurt me a whole lot. Freda, why are you asking all these questions – when you definitely have all the answers to it?” Gina asked.
“I want you to understand that if being a feminist doesn’t make you bitter, toxic or wicked, then it doesn’t make another, whether male or female. So, you can’t label Mr. John. It’s not fair to him.”
Gina nodded slowly, finally letting it sink in.
“But what about those guys I talked about? Those ones that hurt me and many others in the past?”
Freda cut in,
“You mean those men that go about calling themselves feminists but they are terrible people. It’s just like those feminist women that are wicked – and have encountered men who are really complaining about them. Now, the men have started judging you with that. In the same way, these men use feminism to lure women and then unleash their real identity. You can’t judge Mr. John with your past experiences.”
Gina: Wow, I get that now. Thank you so much for the clarity.
Male feminists are no different from female feminists – they are individuals, and so you can’t lump them in one bucket just because of a few sad experiences. The same way you wouldn’t want to be treated like a stereotype, is the same way we shouldn’t treat them. Rather, we should relate with each one on an individual basis and stay away from the bad eggs we have available.