Stereotypes: oyinbo versus naija men

31Jan08

Tell me that I’m not the only one with preconceived notions about Naija (or more generally African) men versus their oyinbo counterparts! White guys are more malleable and are often not as strong, personality wise. They tend to fear conflict and are more likely to go along with your plans rather than disagree, because the latter could lead to a strong minded Naija woman insulting him for his views, or raising her voice and yelling due to her passion on the subject being discussed.

What am I basing these conclusions on? My male oyinbo friends. They readily admit to not liking conflict, and don’t seem to be picky about things, while I can be very picky about where I want to go for dinner, or what movie I want to see. My married oyinbo male friends are married to women who for lack of a better word are in charge: they get what they want, and even when their husbands try to be strong, eventually they come around to doing what their woman wants. One of my female oyinbo friends even tries to make it sound like it’s her husband’s idea but I think she knows deep down that he’s just going along with her idea.

(To be fair, I’m sure there are oyinbo men who are strong minded and not afraid to get into a fight if needed, but they are few and far between in my life, let me tell you!)

I’ve always said that I don’t want to marry a man who doesn’t know his mind. I want a guy who has a strong character and knows what he wants and won’t go along with me just to keep the peace, especially if he thinks there’s a strong chance that I’m wrong. I want someone who’s not afraid to argue with me, and try to persuade me to see things his way. But will a Naija man do that or just frustrate me?

Most of the Naija men I’ve met have personalities that are almost too strong, and ideas that refuse to be changed or influenced by their girlfriend or wife. They are (generally) a tiny bit arrogant and are so sure they are always right, and in some ways, that cockiness is cute. Some men, however, go that extra distance, to that place that actually believes that the woman is beneath him and is not an intellectual equal, so anything she says is insignificant. I could not deal with that, yet I don’t want a guy who says yes to me all the time either. What is a girl to do?

Just pray that God sends me the right person to balance out my idiosyncrasies, I guess.

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13 Responses to “Stereotypes: oyinbo versus naija men”

  1. My dear go marry half-caste!!!! lol!!

  2. You’ll get someone who’s just right for you. Your best bet is a Naija man anyway.

  3. 3 PJ

    my dear i feel ur pain!

  4. 4 loreeba

    Ah, but I have never known a Naija man to be faithful. Not one.

    • 5 sophlames

      Have u met an oyibo man that is faithful and also ask ur self what kind of naija men do u follow before opening ur mouth. Because there are millions that are. Also i would have u know that bill clinton is all WHITE. He cheat when he was the No1 oyinbo man in the world take care.

  5. 6 Lenny

    The oyinbo behavior you perceive to be weak-mindedness is ironically a culturally-different expression of arrogance. As you described, to the stereotypical naija man a woman’s mind is beneath his, therefore he should impose his will in every matter. To the stereotypical oyinbo man, women’s minds are focused on smaller matters than his, so arguing with one over trivialities is beneath him.

    The stereotypical oyinbo will let you be as picky as you like about where to eat, what color the drapes are or other day-to-day things, not because he is afraid of you yelling at him but because he considers it unmanly to expend energy to resist a woman who is upset about something of little importance. Declare to him that the two of you are going to move to Texas or that he needs to paint the house orange, however, and you will definitely receive the argument that you desire.

    As with all stereotypes, the above are sometimes untrue and sometimes are taken too far – for example by a naija man who treats his woman like a mindless pet, or an oyinbo who lets her decide absolutely everything.

  6. 8 Ugh

    I’m an “oyinbo” man. Feel free to call me white.

    I think your opinion of men and strength are really, really backwards. Strong men don’t need to act tough or get in fights to prove anything. Those men are the weakest types.

    I’m paid to fight, I’ve been training my whole life. Trained fighters have discipline and maturity, the guys you’re talking about who you think are “strong” wouldn’t last 30 seconds in a ring with me.

    Do I try to dress tough, and go to bars and get in fights? No. I’m an adult. You’ll never see me in a Tap Out shirt.

    Do I fight with my girlfriend to get what I want? No, we’re adults. We compromise.

    Giving your girlfriend what she wants and doing things to make her happy is the sign of a strong man.

    I would never, ever be with a woman that though yelling at me or arguing with me irrationally is a method of discourse. It’s childish, it’s pathetic, just like guys who act tough. It’s a bunch of empty postering, and gets as much respect out of real successful, mature, strong people as shitting your pants.

    I hope you grow up some day soon.

  7. You’re absolutely right, Ugh. Now YOU are a real man!

  8. I totally agree with Ugh. I think it’s funny what ‘good nigerian girl’ wrote. She has doomed herself to a sad, lonely marriage if she equates shouting with passion, and a tyrannical husband with strength. I think I learned to differentiate these things as a teenager. You have a lot of wisdom to gain yet, GNG.

  9. 11 GoodNaijaGirl

    Thank you for your comments. I’ve moved the blog so I don’t come back here often and because of that I had missed a number of the comments that were left here when the entry was originally posted (almost a year ago!).

    To those who were (or are) insulted by the entry, please accept my apologies. My point, which didn’t come out with as much tact or finesse as I would have liked, is that in my experience (and mine alone), the oyinbo guys that I know have personalities that are less assertive than their Nigerian or African counterparts. That was my point. I was never referring to physically fighting with a potential husband, nor was I equating shouting and constant fights with a passionate true love. I was merely making an observation about the two types of men.

    I appreciate those who took the time to express their opinion without descending into insults.

  10. 12 Daniel

    GNG, I’m also an “oyinbo” man, and I don’t see giving your women her way as a sign of weakness. If what she wants wouldn’t cause me significant grief, I see no reason not to give it to her. I don’t need to have my way all the time.

    Later on, when something is important to me, she had better be prepared either to give it to me, have a good reason for denying me, or live alone.

    Of course, I would rather find something that works for both of us, but that isn’t possible in every situation.

    Do I fear conflict? Yes, of course I do. Only a fool wouldn’t, because the outcome is never certain. I believe a person must decide how important what you stand to gain is compared to what you stand to lose. If a woman were to be unreasonable toward me once, and I cared about her, it wouldn’t be worth the conflict; however, if it became a theme, something would definitely have to be done to stop it.

    The same could be said for physical confrontations with other men, for any who are still following that line of thought. If some fool is insulting you in a bar, what does it matter? Let him run his mouth. Enjoy yourself, and if he starts a fight, then you finish it. If he insults you every time you go to the bar, decide how much you like going. If you love the place, then teach him some manners. Otherwise, just don’t go back.

    Lenny:
    “The stereotypical oyinbo will let you be as picky as you like about where to eat, what color the drapes are or other day-to-day things, not because he is afraid of you yelling at him but because he considers it unmanly to expend energy to resist a woman who is upset about something of little importance.”

    No, it’s probably that he really doesn’t care, and he thinks it’s ridiculous to have a conflict over something that doesn’t matter to him. It has nothing to do with him considering it “unmanly,” at least for most men. Imagine someone you love approaching you, trying to argue about which rock to put in their pocket. Both rocks look just about the same. Is it worth potentially damaging your relationship with this person, as well as ruining your day, to decide something so meaningless to you? It’s obviously important to the other person, so why not let them decide?

  11. long long time ago .. Long, long, long, long time ago
    African man we no dey carry shit
    We dey shit inside big big hole
    For Yoruba-land na “Shalanga”
    For Igbo-land na “Onunu-insi”
    For Hausa-land na “Salga”
    For Gaa-land na “Tiafi”
    For Ashanti-land na “Yarni”
    For Ethiopia-land na “Sagara-be”
    For Kagyu-land na “Cho-Cho”
    For Bemba-land na “Chimbuzi”
    For Tunga-land na “Echibuzi”
    Long, long, long, long time ago


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