Let me get straight to the point here. Feminism is not about defending women no matter what they do. Any person who believes that, is perverting the meaning of feminism.
To form this argument, let us use the Toke Makinwa, Anita Solomon and Maje Ayida fiasco. Maje was married to Toke when he impregnated his longtime mistress Anita. Twitter warriors were very quick to drag Anita and call her all sorts of derogatory names, that weren’t afforded to Maje. So feminists jumped to Anita’s ‘defence’ in protest, saying “Wait hold on a minute, what about Maje? He’s the married one here. He’s the real hoe here”. That is where the ‘defence’ should have ended. However, many went on to say that Anita didn’t owe Toke anything, and that she was a single woman free to exercise her sexual liberation.
The difference between the two lines of defence is such that, the former, is not so much a defence, as it is a compellation. Compelling people to acknowledge that Maje (being the married man) was also in the wrong. More so than Anita could ever be. He was the one that strayed from his marriage, disrespected Toke as his wife, and the vows he committed himself to less than a year before. His conduct was disgusting and shameful, and made a mockery of a Toke. He is the quintessential antagonist, and deserving of all kinds of insults and denunciations. However, this line of defence does not exonerate Anita, who although shouldn’t have been denounced as a whore and other degrading names, was in the wrong too. The latter line of defence, is a total defence. It is excusing Anita’s role in the whole fiasco. It rationalizes Anita’s behavior, the behavior of an adult woman, who should also be responsible for her actions. To say she did not owe Toke anything, is absolute drivel. As human beings, we all owe each other a level of respect and dignity. To me, that includes not knowingly engaging (sexually or romantically) with someone who is in a relationship. Based on that, sexual liberation cannot be unfettered but must be exercised within boundaries. Boundaries, which would still afford others due, regard and respect. Boundaries, which would not interfere with another person’s dignity. Unless you are perfectly content with your would-be husband, constantly straying from his marriage, disrespecting you and impregnating another woman, no one should put another person through what they themselves would not accept, if they were in the same position. Its baffling to me that a woman who ‘home-wrecks’* would expect loyalty from a man, when she finally gets him, yet, they were a willing party to the disloyalty afforded to the other woman. How incredibly selfish and frankly quite sociopathic!
What we should be trying to achieve here, is to force society to see that a married man straying from his marriage is as disdainful and immoral as a woman knowingly being a mistress. Even more immoral, in my opinion. We have to change the way society is so quick to drag the mistress, instead of acknowledging that the wrong perpetrated by the man, outweighs any party to the debacle. The disdain we have towards women who are ‘home-wreckers’, should be even more intense for those men that chose to stray from their marriages. These men should be held to account for that. On the other side, what we are NOT trying to achieve, is a society where we will defend women no matter what they do, and even go as far as rationalizing improper behavior. It is not a black and white battle, where one party can be in the wrong and one party is not. It is more of a grey battle, wherein both parties are in the wrong, one more than the other. That is something that must be acknowledged.
Feminism isn’t supposed to perpetuate a war between the sexes. But it is a war demanding that society hold men to account, the same way we hold women to account. It is not about exonerating women of poor behavior, but demanding that men are held to the same standards, when they too have been party to the same poor behavior. A thin line exists between the two and we should be careful not to fall prey to the latter, at the expense of feminism.