Marrying Down: My Niece And The Metha.
NTOABOMA—My niece and her grandmother got into quite an exchange at the family gathering this month. My niece is marriage-age and her grandmother is concerned. It is the view in Ntoaboma, according to our traditions, that a woman (ages 20 – 30, roughly) or a man (ages 25 – 35, roughly) should be married and have some children.
My niece claims that women are happier unmarried and childless. And this was the cause of her grandmother’s outrage. She should not have said that kind of thing in front of her grandmother, but she did, and now the rest of us have to deal with settling the matter peacefully.
Later that day after the evening libation was poured, I sat with my lovely niece on her father’s front verandah. She claimed she got the information from watching a video on youtube. A certain feminist (and this is what the lady claimed she was) reviewed a recent study on her blog that claimed that women were in general happier than men, single and childless. I watched the entire video with her.
Of course, my niece wanted my opinion. People tend to ask my opinion on issues like this. They presuppose that because I have lived outside Ntoaboma, and dated several gorgeous women in and outside of Ntoaboma (and this is my view), that I might know a thing or two about topics pertaining to women. Strange.
My niece was not wrong.
As in, my niece’s view and this is also the view of the feminist lady on youtube, who by the way spoke eloquent Wolof (and this is what she claimed), is not wrong. I told her I can see how women, in general, can be happier single and childless – whether the study that actually made this claim is either valid or not. That is to say, this is also my opinion.
Let me explain: Just assume for a second that this claim that women are happier than men, single and childless is true (the Null Hypothesis). One alternative hypothesis is that married women with children are not as happy as their husbands. Or that men are better off married with children (this is a better framing as the study also finds). In this way then the only way to square the marriage deal for a woman is for her to find a man in a higher social class and better socio-economic or socio-cultural standing.
A man’s strategy then is to marry a woman of a lower social class, or even lower socio-economic standing. This way, a man can be useful to a woman, who want to marry, in order to justify her choice, since the man is already, by the hypothesis, happy in marriage anyhow. Now this is not the only way a man can be useful to a woman, but in general this seems to be the only objective way to phrase it. At the same time, a woman of a lower standing has something to gain by marrying a man of a higher standing and having children.
Which means that women of a higher standing, if this study is valid, can enjoy their happiness unmarried and childless. Frankly, I don’t see why women of a very high social class and socio-economic standing would choose to marry if, according the study, it is at their own detriment. You see?
Now that I have my explanation out of the way, let’s briefly react to the feminist’s video. Apparently this study has revealed a certain new “knowledge” about marriage and children. But has it? In traditional Ntoaboma it has always been the norm, in fact, it is the duty of the family to make sure that a woman is marrying a man who can be useful to her to justify the bargain. This is called hypergamy in certain western social circles, but the idea remains the same. And so how is this study, reviewed by this feminist on youtube, new?
And that is my point about modern culture, spawned increasingly by the Mis-Educated Than His Ancestors (the Metha). A feminist, by philosophy, at least now agrees with certain parts of traditional African culture, which I found to be the actual revelation. After all these decades of “women’s equality,” about traditional African culture being “oppressive to women and primitive,” feminists from the west (although some speak fluent African languages) have discovered that marriage is only justifiable when women, who choose to marry, are hypergamous?
I said to my niece. I can understand. It doesn’t have to be true, but I see how. Although I think she was stupefied by my reaction. She probably – and I don’t meant to say that this is the case – expected me to react in the same manner as her grandmother. At least she expected, not an altercation, but a certain strong retort. I am a traditional Ntoaboma man after all! My niece said to me, “Uncle, you are strange!” And she got up and left me there on the porch. I called after her, she left.
My niece is exceedingly intelligent and she’s going to need an exceedingly intelligent man to square her bargain, should she choose. I hope she does, but I am beginning to doubt this generation of men and women if they insist on rediscovering what has already been discovered. That is the sign of gross stupidity.