Chidera Eggerue has empowered women through her social media body positive campaign #SaggyBoobsMatter and her book What A Time To Be Alone, a self-love manual for women who want to be alone. Yet this feminist icon also believes it’s more than OK for her to want a man to look after her.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, she explained to podcast host Kate Thornton that she only dates men who can take care of her. She said: “What's ironic is that I'm such a feminist that out of principle, no man is going to enjoy anything about me for free… So pay me, make my world safer and more convenient.”
When Kate challenged whether a true feminist should rely on a man, Chidera admitted she had angered many feminists with her strong opinions.
“I know why I've got so many feminists pressed, because they're like, ‘Hold on a minute, we agreed that we're not going to take man's money’,” she explained. “‘We agreed we're going to work ourselves tirelessly to the bone’. I'm not here to do that. I didn't come here to be tired!”
Chidera believes that feminism is about giving women a choice – and that some women are excluded by those women fighting for equal rights.
“Feminism and the suffragettes worked really hard so we can have the option to work,” she said. “This is why feminism is quite a difficult conversation because within feminism there are genuinely some women who do aspire to be stay-at-home wives.
“And if feminism is working effectively, we should be able to accommodate those women as well, because they're not harming or detracting from our work. The whole point of feminism is to create a world where everybody feels safe enough to show up as they are.”
Her advice to other women dating is to know your self-worth and that you should walk away from any relationship that doesn’t fulfil you – financially or mentally.
“What I'm trying to explain to many women,” she said, “is that the point where you become impenetrable is where you're able to literally walk away from the very thing that you want anyway because you can always choose yourself over any man – whether he's rich, whether he is interesting, whether he calls himself a creative poet, writer, whatever he calls himself.
“You can always choose yourself and know that your love for yourself is more important than any kind of butterflies or any kind of cute ’90s romance-type experience you can have with him, because these men are just not interesting enough to take you off the course of your life.”
Her fellow podcast guest, model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, agreed that it was important to find someone who inspires you.
“At the end of the day, the dynamic has to work,” she said about forming a relationship with someone, “and that’s got to be something that you're comfortable with.
“I probably wouldn't be comfortable being in a relationship with someone who has less drive than me, who is less secure in their career than I am. I have done it before, and I feel like I'm picking up the slack.”
Munroe also said there’s proof men benefit more than women from being in a committed relationship.
“There was an article that was published not too long ago [...] about how men stand to benefit emotionally and financially from being in a marriage. Women do not benefit emotionally from being married.
“Happiness is found in singledom for women and happiness is found with having a wife for a man.”
One thing’s for sure: if you do go on a date with Chidera, don’t expect her to split the bill. She recently created a Twitter storm for telling a girl to dump her medical student boyfriend because he always split the bill on dates.
As she says: men earn more than women, so why go halves? “In a world where for every dollar you make, I make 79 cents, it doesn't make any sense for me to go and be pouring water into the ocean, going halves on bills.”
Hear Chidera Eggerue and Munroe Bergdorf talk more about feminism and what it’s like to be a black woman in today’s work on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.