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Red Flag: A rare moment of gender unity on Twitter NG to evaluate gender wars

Gender wars have become a staple of Twitter NG. But yesterday, we laughed together and point out certain types of questionable behaviour.

The world is woke. The behavioural standards of appropriate conduct have since taken on a revolution. Due to this, the definition of concepts like jokes, admiration, flirtation, friendship and so forth became subject to change.

While we converse regularly and banter with friends on Twitter, those can easily turn to moments of ‘call-out’ and shaming. On a good Twitter day, a regular conversation about sex could turn into a gender war. Everyone has an opinion about the other side and each side believes it can do no wrong. However, that wasn’t the case about 24 hours ago.

Red Flag November

The events of November 1, 2019 were shocking. On the night of Octoberber 31, 2019, a thread of women discussing their various red flags in men took centre stage. Before the night was over, it got a male version.

On it, men discussed the various things they dislike in women. The tone was lighthearted and it was reminiscent of football banter on a decent Premier League weekend. However, some of those tweets were as hilarious as they were vicious. They also hit straight home with women. Most of them could relate to one thing or the other on the thread.

When women woke up on November 1, 2019, the tone was heavy. It felt like we will have a day filled with another round of the very endless gender wars. Some women fought back win angry tweets about the account balance of some of these critical men. But as people who had become accustomed to football banter, men were not affected and the guns kept firing.

As the morning took on 11:00 pm, FK Abudu, Ozzy Etomi, Kiki Mordi and some of the other usual female commanders surprisingly reacted to men’s thread with lighthearted talk of ‘accepting an L’ and how men won. From then on, it was smooth sailing and lighthearted banter. It was a welcome development on Twitter NG.

On other days, we would have gone from subs to name-calling and then to shaming. But instead, champions of feminism saw the joke in what some me didn’t even see the joke in. As such, words like Chinenye of Galilee, Seyi UBA and so forth have become descriptive words of pop culture relevance – at least for the day.

Today, ‘bitterleaf Twitter’ didn’t become a trending topic and neither did ‘rape apologist.’ Instead, we had fun together and probably passed messages of impropriety better than we ever had. This is a welcome development, but it’s not always been this way.

As an ‘unbiased umpire,’ it was a bloodbath. Men didn’t hold back and moved in for their biggest win in a while. Even women had to admit defeat. Kiki Mordi and FK Abudu especially fought gallantly like Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

But then, they were like shining lights for St. Etienne in a Champions League semi-final second leg after losing the first leg 20-0. They fought so well that their names started trending.

We need more days like this. We also need to be able to see eye-to-eye. However, gender wars aren’t all pointless. During a few of them, both sides eventually understand each other, but never admit it.

Gender wars are not all pointless

Gender wars are a result of ego, sentiment, misunderstanding and an inability to recognize what is important. Sometimes, that is due to worrying sentiment from conservatives/men or excessive liberal/female tendencies to project sentiment as truth. Case in point, ‘it will end in tears.’

For liberals/feminists, it is hard to make conservatives/men unlearn the ingrained toxic masculinity and destructive behaviour – even when unintentional. So, they lash out when their points don’t get properly received. But then, liberals also have tendency to abuse their knowledge of rightness.

But as MI Abaga said during Godwin Tom‘s 10 Years A Learner, conservatives sometimes need to overlook the excesses of movements like feminism and look at the good in what it preaches. But even when engage in gender wars, some little victories have happened.

M.I. Abaga always takes time out to educate people about feminism. (Eletiofe) M.I. Abaga always takes time out to educate people about feminism. (Eletiofe)

For one, topics of rape and sexual harassment have gotten more amplified with the #MeToo/#TimesUp movements as well as the ‘call-out’/cancel cultures. Movements like LGBTQ have also continued to wax stronger.

While these movements have been inevitably abused by proponents, they have also made strides by imposing a culture of fairness and acceptance on conservatives.

Even if you are not fair and even if you don’t accept, you are sensitive enough to refrain from talking about certain things. This could be either for fear of being villified or for an emotional need to be fair to someone. We might not accept it, but these conversations/gender wars have helped a lot of people rethink their roles in fostering toxic masculinity, rape, derogation and so forth.

This is all made possible by the very aggressive fourth wave of feminism. The tool to measure this movement by is social media platform and conversations aggregator, Twitter. It might be an elitist sub-culture, but it has helped document our lives, culture and evolution in real time.

Reasons for and downsides to gender war

Even with these wins, human nature is flawed. Sometimes, conversations have stopped being about positivity, but about its mode and style of communication. Sometimes, it was also about what is being communicated. On one side, a lot of women are championing these conversations while aggressively hoping both men and women understand the need for change.

But a lot of times, they get carried away and project their personal feelings on those conversations and conflate the truth with their version of it. That might be inevitable because we’re human, but we can’t always defend tantrums. However, the necessity of what they preach remains prime.

Some tantrums are sometimes caused by men who are obsessed with the way things are being communicated over what is being communicated. We must also point out that sometimes, what is being communicated is also fundamentally flawed even when it is from a good place.

Some men recognize the need for growth than communication issues of liberal politics. But a lot of times, even those best-meaning man struggles to think straight and be fair with the tantrum on the other side. Other times, some men can also be downright insensitive and myopic. They blatantly refuse to change and drag conversations back crippling acts of self-serving ignorance.

The flaws of our judgement in this regard are mostly about the African society that birthed us as well as the values it ingrained in us. It is hard to depart from the ‘normalcy’ of what we’ve lived from birth or the pain it has caused us at one point or the other. So, instead of conversing with each other and being fair, we fight to the death.

But then…

Obama criticizes liberal politics. (Washington Post) Obama criticizes liberal politics. (Washington Post)

As President Barack Obama pointed out, in situations like that, the conversation stops being about what is right, but our anger at each other. One one side, the conservative only sees the flaw in what is being said. On the other side, the liberal positions himself as one who can do no wrong. He doesn’t seek to correct, he only screams and shames.

Sometimes, shaming can be effective. But a lot of times, it is only looks that way, it is not. What happens is that we all become hypocrites. We only refrain from doing certain things in the public eye as political correctness reigns with an iron fist. The moment we are in private, we unleash all the vulgarity.

Change can be especially hard for someone who has become accustomed to a particular pattern of behaviour. No matter how much the liberal/woman screams, another conservative/woman validates his flawed line of thought, so he wrongly thinks he is right.

Good sides of Red Flag

There are better ways to communicate that incessant gender wars. Sometimes, we can be civil to pass across messages. We need to humanize each other and stand for good. We also need to understand that we’re only one stage of human evolution and not the sum of it. What we can only do is contribute out quota and die.

However, we will be judged by that quota, so we must be careful. As #RedFlag pointed out, we can still have fun with each other even when things seem destined for the rocks. We can banter and point out bad behavioural flaws in each other. We can banter and achieve great things. As harmless as #RedFlag was, messages have been passed that certain behaviour can be bad.

We need to be calmer with each other and have more conversations. That is the only way that posterity will be fair on us. In 200 years, the receipts of what we did will be evaluated. Let’s be careful, we are not enemies.


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