Hey there! Miss me? Been a while, I know but life happened. Don’t be too angry at me 😉. I believe we are all still fighting the good fight, despite how incredibly stressful it is. Just like we had last week, we are having another interview today.
Our guest today is a spoken word poet, content developer for WHISPA mobile app, a graphic designer and writer. She happens to be a Jack of all trades, master of some.
She is also the author of the e-book, “Would NEVER BE SILENT AGAIN” and co-author of “Once Upon a Time” both available for purchase on okadabooks.
She has performed at some remarkable events; including LABAF 2018 and moonlight tales 2019. Had her poem personally read and selected by Prof. Wole Soyinka to mark the World poetry day 2019 organized by Providus bank
She connects to the world through the use of her pen and poetry.
Q/ Hello, can we meet you?
A/ My name is Juliet Nnaji, and I am a feminist.
Q/ What would you say Feminism means to you?
A/ Feminism is a way of life for me.
Q/ Do you think Feminism differs from country to country and how?
A/ The only thing that is different is the people. Feminism is literally the same thing everywhere. We are all fighting for the same thing. “To stop the systematic oppression and marginalization of women. To stop the injustices, rape, abuse, and every little thing that makes women unsafe, scared, and blamed, to stop men and society for treating women as second class citizens “. Whatever country you are doesn’t change this fight.
Q/ What is it like being a Feminist in a third world country?
A/ I don’t know what a third world country is. But I know what it is like being a feminist in Nigeria. Facing stereotypes, dealing with misogynists, and patriarchal people who believe they understand this fight. They don’t but thank the universe for the feminist community. People who understand the anger you feel, and are ready to be the watchman in this war women didn’t ask to be in. They make it easier because I no longer feel bad for being queer. I am sure they understand my anger and are prepared to fight with me and with every other woman until we see the change we seek. And guess what, “no woman is left behind”.
Q/ What would say has been the best and the hardest thing about being a Feminist?
A/ The best part is seeing your growth. Watching the women around you break free from things every one considered as the norm. Watching women be themselves, win, and find their voice in a society where everyone expects them to swallow their voice. The hardest part is simply being a woman, seeing the baby steps you have to take, the price you have to pay with your mental health as you fight to be sane in a Nigerian society.
Feminism is a way of life for me.
Q/ Do you have any big plans regarding the movement that you can’t achieve because of your location? What are they?
A/ Yes, I have big plans for women. I want a safe space for women. Where we won’t be groped, catcalled, raped, harmed, assaulted, harassed, beaten, forced to do stuff to feed the egos of the almighty male, where the sight of a man walking behind us in daylight or at 10 pm doesn’t make our heart want to leap out from our chest as it pounds in fear and makes us quicken our pace. With time though, I hope to get to as many poor women as I can to help them understand that they shouldn’t settle for less or allow anyone to make them feel inferior for simply being a woman. And I hope I get the funds to be able to reach as many as these women as possible.
And for feminist women, I also have bigger plans that I can’t achieve because of location and maybe money. Being a feminist in this 21st century takes a toll on your mental health. So I have plans for creating a safe space somewhere where feminist women can just breathe and connect with other women. Like a healing center where we get to laugh every one of our pains away. And I don’t have the right resources or location ATM. But I am speaking it into reality as I hope the universe helps me achieve this.
Q/ Where did your journey start from, why did you choose to stand with this movement?
A/ I have always been a rebel, always had questions while growing up, and saw the way, my brothers were treated differently from me. It made me angry. As I grew more, read more, visited more places, met more people, and began to see, hear, and watch men do horrible things to women, me inclusive, the anger germinated into so much more that I needed a safe space to vent it all out. There are so many injustices against women happening daily, so I needed to be a part of a movement who would understand this anger I feel because they feel it too as we join our voices to bring the change we so desire even though they seem subtle. Finding the feminist movement and standing with them as we fight collectively while looking out for one another is another reason why I allow myself to smile through all of life’s storm and the hurdles that come with being a Feminist in Nigeria. The feminist community is my safe space. The feminist women in this movement are my sisters who want the growth of women. Standing with them is everything.
Q/ People say it’s impossible to be Feminist and not have a role model, do you think that’s true? And do you have any?
A/ A lot of people taught me the things I know. Reading Chimamanda’s book at an early age where I didn’t know there was a feminist community, gave me so much hope and gave me that feeling that I wasn’t alone and that there were people out there who would understand my queerness even though those around me at that time didn’t. As I grew older and read more books and discovered more women like Maya Angelou, Oprah, Amandla Sternberg, Buchi Emecheta, Virginia Woolf, and every woman whose story and voice have made mine louder, it opened my eyes, gave me more purpose and more strength to want to break a lot of limitations, So, yes I do have role models. And I also believe everyone should do them, what works for them. If you don’t want a role model, screw what anybody thinks. It is very possible to be a feminist and not have a role model.
Q/ As a writer and content creator, does your Feminist tendencies rub off on your works? And do those make it easier to relate with or harder?
A/ Yes, it sure rub off on my works as I try to use my works or writing to connect with as many women as I can reach. It gets lonely on these streets so finding a way to relate is sometimes easier, and other times, a tad bit hard because you start going to a place in your heart that makes you go low as you pen these stories, wondering about the women who it is their reality. But in the long run, you have to wheel yourself to heal knowing that your art would be a source of comfort as these women either finds their voice or feel liberated from knowing that they are not alone.
Q/ What would you like to say to people in this movement with you?
A/ We are change-makers!! And though it doesn’t feel like we are making any huge changes at the moment, soon though, we are going to look back and smile for creating a safe space for women, for liberating women, for always spitting out the truth even as the world dares us to choke. We are heard.
Phew! That was a lot wasn’t it? But it’s seeing and hearing things like this, knowing there are people who feel this strongly about this movement that gives me strength everyday to keep fighting, keep using my voice as much as I can. I hope this resonated within you and gives you that push, that motivation you’ve been seeking for a while now.
Did you enjoy the interview? Any comments? Or questions for the or Juliet? Don’t forget to lay it all in the comment section and you can be sure I’ll get to every single one of them.
Till next week for another post, stay safe, stay sane and stay healthy. I love you all.