I don’t think Nigeria is laid back for an extreme culturally oriented society. I think the system is growing. Few years ago, we couldn’t even put in some of the clothes we do now. Nevertheless, the idea that there are rules that define you as a man is what really affects us. We are still sought to conform to the standards of what a man should be, ‘a man should be brave’ ‘stoic’ ‘have no emotions’ ‘strong for others’ and when you are not any of these options you are taken as the weaker man. These are the stereotypes that we need to change because being a Man is being who you want to be fully in the form that you’re created in.
I also want us to go beyond the dressing, the emotional and mental health. It’s about being better husbands to our wives, better brothers to our sisters and brothers, being better sons to our parents. Letting go of all the toxic masculinity that does us no good. We have to let it all go, and consciously live a life that is full of happiness, joy, all round peace. A life that you can look back at and genuinely say ‘I lived being happy and free’
It’s about raising the boys coming after us differently because the truth is “Boys will not always be boys” but they would be the boys that we train them to be.
There is no guarantee for an extreme change but what I say is, influence your community. Start with them, the people around you. You can’t change the world all at once but it starts with our little circles, saying Not in those locker rooms. Telling each other, we won’t treat ourselves like that, we wouldn’t treat others like that, we wouldn’t treat women that way. Ensuring that we all grow to be better men, collectively. Leaving no one out.