ON FEMALE WRITING AND THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC DIALOG AMONGST WOMEN
Aimufua is a Nigerian last name. In fact, it’s my Nigerian last name: seven letters and four syllables, likely to trigger a wave of curious remarks and inquiries. To me, it is not merely an identifier, but a token. Like a social fingerprint, it indicates me as the other. With a foreign name, a different skin color, or another ‘unusual’ feature whatsoever, time and again, introducing yourself, may turn into explaining yourself. Growing up, in little boroughs of reunified Germany, amid Muellers and Schmidts, I had a of explaining to do.
Constantly coping with other people’s preconceived narratives, can easily compromise one’s sense of selfhood. As women in general and particularly as women of color, we tend to assimilate and ultimately, sell ourselves short. Given centuries of social and economical marginalization, this should come as no surprise. Female discourse was all too often deemed shallow and chatty (needless to say that gossip itself its very own form of cultural analysis and criticism), while mens’ interests represented the status quo and dominated the public sphere. Under such conditions, women’s opinionated voices hardly even stood a chance to be heard.
These days, the power structure has shifted a good deal, and social media makes it easier than ever to engage in public dialog. Still, sharing our thoughts online remains a delicate matter. My girlfriends and I will discuss books and movies and works of art, at any time, but most commonly we’ll do that amongst each other. Is it because we don’t feel like blathering and boasting about these type of things? Or could it be the fear of failure, that deeply rooted self-doubt, hindering so many of us from speaking our mind? There is something profoundly vulnerable to writing, as an act of opening up your deepest self to the public eye. But if it resonates, writing is akin to a sharp knife. Down to the present day, the potential of female ideas has been utterly underestimated.
So starting now, I plan on sharing what I think of by making it a public thing. It is all about starting a conversation..