By Wisdom Olobayo

“Na woman”
You might have heard that sentence before along with the not-so-subtle condescending tone when the driver who was trying to make a U-turn on a busy road finally comes into view.

Or any other derisive or sexually evocative language or tone targeted mostly at women to get their attention or to show displeasure when they turn down male—often disrespectful—advances.

“You be woman?”
That’s likely the question directed at a male human person when they act sluggish or weak.

“You be woman?” (2)
They ask this question when they find a man who talks too much. Because this is a department supposedly left to the women folk—to be lousy and talkertive.

“You no be man”

Such definitive statement is used to reiterate that you’re supposed to keep silent when male folks are having a discussion with you. It says that you’re not supposed to be assertive and you should never own a bold and loud opinion.

“You no be woman na”
That’s the template sentence often used when trying to psyche up a man to do something that is likely very dangerous or risky.

“You no be woman na” (2)
Used to mean that a man shouldn’t cry or show much empathy in light of a tragic or sad event.

The undertones (and sometimes overtones) from several phrases like these are in their very best suggestive of so many wrong tags on women that women and men have fought for many years to eradicate. E.g. That women are weak because they are often moved to tears more easily than men.

So, “You be woman?” should be in today’s day only a question of gender confirmation on a social media web page if it were entirely presented in Pidgin English, because all of these aforementioned phrases and more like them create an aftertaste of the already bitter pill of “women abasement” that female human persons have been made to chew for centuries. And it shouldn’t be there.

I’m asking that you check yourself and make sure you’re not subtly anti-woman.