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If I will unpack it;
-I am not religious so I do not feel the need to be blessed in a church. Or by any clergy. Strike that.
-I am not superstitious so much, so the idea of getting married without my father’s blessing does not freak me out. He will recover. I respect my father, always have, so if he gives me a hard time, I can very well tell him to take a chill pill and I will tell him sorry later. If I have always respected and cared for my dad, but the proof of it is my marriage, then I do not give a damn. You can close your mouth now, your shocked expression does not impress me.
-About being handed out, I am against this too. I know I did not bring myself to the world. But I did not ask to be born, and I sure as hell am not owned by anyone. The fact that only men may give people away, and the fact that only women are given away both rankle. So no, I do not care much about being given away by anybody. Men inform their families they are getting married, women need permission of the menfolk to be married. And we say we are serious about equality? My father is not my owner. You better face that truth. No one owns anybody, whatever they might think. But I will be fine if me and my people can also march to my prospective husband’s house and ask permission to marry him.
-Finally, since I believe marriage is an equal union, I am completely against a bride price being paid on my account, however tiny the figure, even if it is in cowries or shillings, and even if, as has become fashionable, it is returned. The very idea, the transactional nature of it rankles. Unless of course, after the man’s family come and pay my bride price, me and my family go off and pay his bride price too. No? Why not? Really, think about it beyond the tired rhetoric, ‘It is tradition.’ I should ask Chimamanda the next time I see her how she handled this particular thing. I am also against the list that is handed to the groom’s family. Many a young man has sat in the dead of night staring at said list and wondering how on earth he will begin a life with this woman after satiating her family. But in theory, she is not being sold. He is only doing this to show he can take care of her. He is only doing this to show he values her. He respects her family. They insist.