Exploitation Double Standards: What is love?

My first close encounter with the male species outside my eight brothers was at the age of twelve, when my old folks sent me overseas to school, I wonder what they were thinking; I had the suspicions that they decided to enroll me into religious all girls’  boarding high school for fear of me getting myself spoiled[1], by some irresponsible lad. The no boy, stay in school to make something out of your life policy monitored me for decades.  I remember getting scolded when old woman saw me playing with older boys; subsequently, I distanced myself from the opposite sex who might seem interested in my living particulars.[2]  Due to the constant surveillance, even when my old folks were hundreds of miles, four hours flight away from me, my internalization of the parental gaze prevented me from magnet-ing to my counterparts. Well, who could have ever imagined that even the saints amongst us have veiled desires in their cubbyhole?[3] A month before my departure for Nigeria, at fourteen, I had the conviction that I was predestined to have such a considerate, brilliant, drop dead gorgeous 6.2 feet lean dark chocolate, six years of distance communiqué over the oceans kept it strong, besides the rule instructs, one must maintain her chastity[4], but as nature began to urge for at least corporeal presence, it concluded.  

 I proceeded further to mingle with a counterpart of different pigment and continent  whose love I was reluctant to accept given my past records, nonetheless, three years were interrupted when it was discovered, two others were involved and abundant irreconcilable differences eradicated it forever! 

At twenty-four, while some colleagues: nursed, married, died, aborted, sexed, and divorced. I began reflecting on god-father’s profound thoughts[5], questioning is answering, with such a lead, I proceeded to read: books, articles, partners and experiences outside my sphere. Yes, I may not have won Kora medal [6]in girl, boy nesting given the backdrop above, however, my short lived experiences and knowledge absorbed are muscular enough for me to say, I too have something to say.

Through my quest for knowledge pertaining relationships, I was able to unearthed concealed questions; even I was baffled over them:  

What is love? Do gender roles, race, nationality have anything to do with love? 

Love  is an expression and an act that seeks  to assuage insecurities and  in order to gain that which one lacks, exploitive double standards are executed accordingly ( in this essay, I would say exploitation as per related to romantic relationship is neither positive nor negative) .[7]

He loves her because of what she has to offer, she got what he needs to make him feel, “like a man” that is why the moment Caroline walked on the grounds of his god forsaken, barbaric continent,[8] he jumped right on her,  “ I love you” he declared. She in return with her loose self fell right in his trap without thinking critically about the contextualization of the phrase, “I love you”. [9] She is there to save him from himself with her mini kit bag given by her hegemonic forefathers, she replied, “I love you too”.[10] Not knowing Zaza’s status, he’s been engaged to Maya for three years, in poverty and in good health. Maya even managed and stole her parents’ savings from their yearly yams sales for his education, now that he has something on his brain, he saw an opportunity to exit without saying goodbye, “God killed and gave it to him on a plate of gold”[11] Caroline pride herself with her 4 x 6 red passport, and an outstanding gross domestic product (GDP), packaged and mailed him to where the god of capitalism resides. [12]

Now here is Zaza, doesn’t like the food she offers, micro-waved that mutton that his ex-fiancée, Maya used to slaughter, clean, cook, and spoon feeds him. Zaza gets order around the house: to clean and baby sits those children he proudly ejaculated. Notwithstanding the fact that, in his dusty village men of his sort would call his obedience coward.

Maya used to give him advice and space that he needs to breathe from their sophisticated love joint, so to help regenerate their passion and friendships outside them, now, Caroline, the woman with the red passport wouldn’t let him speak with “potential competitions”.

In his search for capitalist god, Zaza, lacks any pleasant, dignified job, he bends and breaks his back, could barely pay his rent, let alone cloth himself and his new family.  He thought, that passport was good luck, Zaza left his family who worked so hard raising him up, a job offer he declined even though he was fully aware that he could have made a superb difference in the lives of his locals, terminated his engagement to Maya, the woman who sweat for years on his behalf, and now he lives in solitude. In conversation with himself, he tried very hard to convince himself that, he is in love, besides that is what he told his family and community at large before his departure. To console himself further, for his participation in his “misfortunes”, Zaza points fingers declaring, “all Nubian woman are prostitutes, the best they know how is to open their legs for men, they love money but too lazy to work for it”.

 To prove that Nubian woman is capable of achieving her dreams Lola, effortlessly got enrolled in one of the top Accountancy departments after her undergraduate degree in global south, Zimbabwe. She held positions in male dominated organizations: class president, got paid, competitive internship with United Nations and World Bank as analyst. Zaza was not convinced that a woman from his land could do such wonderful things, after all most images seen of her are: exotic high cheeks bones, flawless skin she wears and hypersexual being. In cohort to perpetuate unconstructive imageries of Nubian woman, John claims to have fallen in love with Lola, a week after their encounter. John offered Lola, bigger car, house and individualism. Lola compared the life of constant communal with beggars to that of excess wealth and individualism. Who in her right mind, rejects John’s offer? John went further to express, “Lola, you are exotic, you make me look great in front of my friends, and you are different from all those Western women”. John disregarded Lola’ intellectual abilities as per what she could offer the world; rather he limited her to  just her physical beauty and exhibited her to the world as his priced jewelry. John’s hymns of worship to Lola, glorious beauty elevated her to the throne of arrogance forgetting herself:  now her parents are the enemies when they expressed she hardly calls or response to theirs, she cried out “ you people are too dependent on me, I am tired and I need my own life”, she forgot what Sara Baartman[13] had to go through to fight on her behalf, now Lola sees every other woman of her sort as back-ward, uncivilized, and must be set free from her oppressors even though she’s been liberated by the same women, she mocks.

©Copy Right, Yoknyam Dabale


[1] The cultural understanding amongst most northerners in Nigeria, particularly that of mine was that when a girl had sexual relations, gets pregnant before marriage, she is considered, spoiled. And what usually happens to “spoiled” items, they become less appealing. Subsequently, most parents sweat to keep their daughters away from boys who might contribute in destroying their daughter’s life and family pride.

[2] Borrowed this term from Fela Kuti, a Nigerian afro beat musician and human rights activist.

[3] “ Catholic Celebrate Easter, Among Church Sex Scandal” ( April 1,2010),  http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/europe/Catholics-Celebrate-Easter-Among-Church-Sex-Scandal-89733842.html

[4]  Fein, Ellen, Schneider, Sherrie. “ Don’t Rush into Sex and other Rules for Intimacy” The Rules: Tim-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of  Mr. Right, 80. New York: Time Warner Company, 1996.

[5] Martin Heidegger

[6]  Kora is amongst  Pan- African most prestigious awards for diverse fields in media , http://koraawards.com/

[7] See Botton, De, Alain. “Essays in love.”  Basingstoke: Pan Macmillan Ltd, 1993.  My definition derives from Botton’s book and other reflections.

[8] Allimadi, Milton. “How White Writers Created the Racist Image of Africa.”  The Hearts of Darkness, 5-12.  New York:  Black Star Book, 2003

[9] This claim comes from conversation I had, and was expressed in my presence with a number of men who seriously believe the white woman is loose; she has nothing much to offer but her nationality.

[10] Many a times foreigners who visit global south tend to forget that a phrase they might use in their locals might carry different meanings in other places. Unfortunately, many western women fall for those meta-messages because they too need to ease their insecurities.

[11] This quotation comes from the Hausa language, it basically means, God handles humans worries by providing his needs without much efforts from the human beings.

[12] See countries’ Gross Domestic Products listing, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)

[13]  Sarah Baartman was a young lady from South African in 1700s  taken to Holland with the promise for a better life, it turned out she was to be place on display as an usual being. See further reading at: http://www.nathanielturner.com/sarastory.htm  and Feminist Studies. Vol. 29, No. 3, Women In Democratic South Africa ( Autumn, 2002), pp.592-593.

©Copy Right, Yoknyam Dabale

8 thoughts on “Exploitation Double Standards: What is love?

  1. wow… such a wonderful post…
    outstanding balance of lines and words….
    Learnt a lot from you….

    visit mine… & plz plz plz post your comments….

    Thank you…

    I’ll be in touch…

    • Beau,

      thanks for the “word up” I appreciate the cheer. Even though I wrote the piece, your reading gave me a new len to reflect, particularly when you expressed its authobiographical features.

      thank you for your input, you are always a breath of knowledge that wakes my sleeping brains to work.

  2. Great read. I love gaining a glimpse of your perspective on everyday issues. A few things I probably would like a bit more insight on, but I will be sure to bring them up the next time that we are able to fellowship. I will see you soon.

    • Jonny,

      thank you for the positive vibe, it is always a pleasure to gain such words of encouragment from one of the great men out there. As you know, I am always welcoming ideas for discourse, I look forward to conversing and learing from you. I hope to write more on daily predicaments, however for the time being I would focus on what I judged as urgent??, the immdiate response, one could say.

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