Challenges of Gender Bias in Marital Judgments in Nigerian Society
In the intricate fabric of Nigerian society, a glaring inconsistency emerges in the way marital issues are perceived, particularly when it comes to advising individuals facing challenges in their marriages. This dichotomy often revolves around gender bias, revealing deep-seated hypocrisy in societal judgments.
When a woman finds herself in a marriage with a difficult or abusive husband, the chorus of advice from fellow women resounds: “Leave him! You shouldn’t be there; he might harm you.” There’s a collective push for her to prioritize her safety and well-being over the societal expectation to endure.
On the flip side, if a man grapples with a toxic marriage for a decade or more and decides to seek a divorce due to emotional abuse, infidelity, or disrespect, a different narrative unfolds. Instead of empathy, he faces criticism. People question his decision, emphasizing that he abandoned the woman who stood by him, bore his children, and shared in his struggles. The focus, it seems, is on preserving the marital institution at the expense of the man’s emotional turmoil.
The online and social media landscape, often referred to as the virtual public square, amplifies these biases. In-laws, both real and virtual, readily contribute their opinions without understanding the complexities of individual relationships. Uninformed judgments based on biases and prejudices abound, creating a skewed narrative that further entrenches societal expectations.
To address this issue, it’s imperative for society to adopt a fair and unbiased approach. Emotional support and understanding should be extended to both men and women facing marital challenges. Rather than perpetuating stereotypes, individuals should refrain from taking sides based on emotion and preconceived notions. True fairness lies in recognizing the unique circumstances of each individual, irrespective of gender.