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#VraieFemmeAfricaine, the hashtag that overturns gender stereotypes


It’s a hashtag that shakes the web and upsets men. An initiative that sends back into a boomerang the stereotypes of which African women are victims on a daily basis. All over the continent, #VraiefemmeAfricaine is leading its little revolution with little well-spoken phrases: “A #RealAfricanWoman apologizes when her husband hits her because she looked for him”, “A #RealAfricanAfrican must wash her husband's feet and massage them every night otherwise she will not go to heaven”, “#RealAfricanAfrican cultivates the land, #RealAfricanAfrican owns it”

At the origin of this revolt, a woman, Bintou Mariam Traoré. This 26-year-old Ivorian journalist and feminist tells how, one evening in February, she looked “A program where he said to himself that to be” a real African woman “, one should not give birth by cesarean or with the help of an epidural. As if, because of our melanin, we were doomed to suffer ”, does she tell the World Africa. His blood only turned and came back to him “All the remarks on what made me a real or a fake African woman”. This is how it arose “The idea of ​​creating this hashtag”.

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Since his first post on February 26, his #VraieFemmeAfricaine has had tremendous success. First on Afro-feminist Facebook groups and today more widely on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. “This hashtag is very clever. Many have tried to make African women speak on issues relating to the couple, harassment, sexual assault but, from experience, you never talk about yourself, rather about “the girlfriend” who it happened to, analyzes Sarah-Jane Fouda, academic and consultant of Cameroonian origin. With his sarcasm that sticks to African humor, this hashtag creates distance and frees speech.

“A #RealAfricanWoman stays behind her husband when they walk on the street. Walking next door is disrespectful. “ “A #RealAfricanWoman doesn't bother with her hot flashes. This is Africa, the heat is for everyone! “” #RealAfricanWomen, skin lightening is better. Hey, but don't think you're white! “ According to these publications, men are divided into two camps: those who perceive irony and take offense at being criticized “Ancestral practices” and those who do not detect sarcasm and encourage to “Good behavior”, in “In tune with tradition”.

From words to deeds

“For many men, a woman who laughs is suspicious because she is an intelligent woman”, advanced Sarah-Jane Fouda, who observes that “Misogynists have a hard time grasping the irony” and remembers the African proverb “Laughing woman, sweating man”. But behind the attacks of men who denounce the impertinence of this boiling movement, there is often the argument of Africanity, as a continental peculiarity “Used to muzzle women better”, Bintou Mariam Traoré analysis. For her, “African women are victims of injustices like women around the world, except that in Africa, poverty multiplies them.” In the case of violence too, the context shows an exacerbation. “We are still asking the question of the right to life. When you go to the police station to complain about your husband who beats or rapes you, you are told: a real African woman does not file a complaint against her husband so as not to ruin his life. Clearly, you just have to close it ”, added the journalist.


It remains to be seen whether this hashtag can accelerate behavior change. The example of Senegal would tend to tip the scales towards “yes” after # BalanceTonSaïSaï #Dafadoye and #Doyna (“balance your pig”, “that's enough!” And “stop”, in Wolof), which appeared in 2018 and 2019 following a series of rapes and feminicides, helped change the classification of rape from “offense” to “crime” on December 30, 2019. Between 2016 and 2019, 4,320 cases of rape had been identified in the country and the fight on social networks, then on the street, helped this major transformation. Rape perpetrators now face life instead of five to ten years in prison.

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At the head of this Senegalese movement, Oumy Ndour, journalist, co-founder of the feminist platform Ladies Club, follows the new hashtag with enthusiasm. The journalist says to herself “Convinced that social networks can free speech by reaching people across the continent. It is an electroshock which makes it possible to become aware of all these physical and mental obstacles which African women undergo. But it must be accompanied by mobilization on the ground. “

Bintou Mariam Traoré intends to use this momentum to organize the movement and take action. “I was told that this hashtag would not last seventy-two hours, but it is still there because it frees the speech of women”, she rejoices. On the eve of International Women's Rights Day, it is conceivable that #VraieFemmeAfricaine will take to the streets. So that March 8 in Africa “No longer just the day of the loincloth”, concludes Sarah-Jane Fouda.

Anthology #RealAfricanWoman

#VraieFemmeAfricaine does not know the rebellion, it only knows the cropping.

#VraieFemmeAfricaine is like the CFA franc: emancipation never comes.

#VraieFemmeAfricaine knows that March 8 is the day of the loincloth with female motifs.

#RealAfricanAfrican does not experience menopause. There is ” pause “ in…

If your Husband rapes you or your children, you must not file a complaint or divorce. You have to post anonymously in women's groups to encourage them to stay and give you Psalms to pray against the devil. This is a #RealAfricanWoman.

#RealAfricanWoman kneels to talk on the phone to her husband, no matter where she is

#RealAfricanWoman stays behind her husband when they walk on the street. Walking next door is disrespectful.

A #RealAfricanWomen lets her daughter draw water from 4 am to 4 pm, while her boy sleeps or watches soccer.

A #RealAfricanWoman does not leave her child at the crèche.

At home, if your maternity leave lasts 48 hours, you are not #RealAfricanAfrican.

#AArealWomanAfrican must not inherit her father's land because it brings bad luck.

An #RealAfricanAfrican does not give the name of her rapist, does not ruin her life.

A #RealAfricanWoman must die before her husband if she wants family peace.

If you read this post, you are not a #RealAfricanWomen because authentic Africans do not go to school.

The only verb that a #TrueAfricmeAfricaine must know how to conjugate at all times is pout. Which meanssupport everything ”in Wolof.

If you space births for your health and that of your children, you are not a #RealAfricanAfrican, but a criminal sent by the West to commit genocide!

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