This is my first post and I am really excited, yay!!!. This is something that came to my mind after an encounter and I could not help wondering what the world would be like if it were different for men and women. So I wrote this little thought of mine, the setting is in Nigeria but I believe that many people, independent of your nationality, can relate to it. Enjoy... and share your own little thoughts, if you may:
Recently, I overheard a conversation which I thought was funny but interesting. A group of men sat together and were complaining of the challenges African men (especially Nigerian men) faced to impress their women. A member of the group spoke loudly, “I do not understand where they (women) expect us to get such amount of money from. The way they demand, one would think we pluck money from trees” “...or co-own a bank!” another concluded. The men laughed and talked more, ranging from how they had to buy women expensive gifts including the latest mobile phones and jewellery, as well as pay for shopping sprees and holidays, and still look good as men. “The one I find the most annoying is that their Brazilian hair, the cost is enough to buy bags of building cement!” Others roared in laughter, “Seriously, it is not funny o”, he continued. “This is exactly why men steal and get into trouble. These women should learn to pity us sha”
As I listened to them, I could not help but think about what the women would say. I had just returned back to Nigeria from abroad and I was quick to observe “the new look” for a lot of Nigerian women. Almost all the dark skinned women I had known few years ago had suddenly become lighter in complexion despite the increasing ozone layer depletion, resulting of course in more sunlight and heat in the country. However, many women had found ways of evading the effects of the burning sun, the scorch of which I had felt instantly from the moment I arrived at Murtala Mohammed airport in Lagos. The new redemption for the women was quite obvious though; they had subjected to the use of chemical products – “skin toning creams” they called them. These creams were however bleaching creams which ended up leaving patches of colours on the skin with time. I also noticed that being skinny was fast becoming most women’s dreams and also, almost every young woman I came across wore rather long hair extensions, high heel shoes that they seemed quite uncomfortable walking in, cleavage revealing shirts, cumbersome jewelry, alarming long nails and eye lashes, and very loud facial makeup. The overall result was that many women ended up looking like different shades of Michael Jackson and quite like “the joker” in the Bat Man movie.
What had happened to our beautiful, curvaceous and ebony Nigerian women with thick black afro hair, I asked myself. After all there was a common saying that “black is beautiful”; so why did people want to alter their natural given black skin and hairs for ones that did not even suit them. Why did these women feel to the sudden urge to go half-naked and the need to go through so much discomfort to keep up with fashion? These were the questions that went through my mind for days but with my little curious mind, I set out to discover the answers; of which I soon did. Just like the men felt the need to impress the women, these feelings were mutual for the women too. The women I spoke to also complained about how their men often compared them to the foreign women they watched on the television, how the men wanted them to still look “sexy” after multiple child births resulting to the fast rising skinny look in vogue and how majority of the men preferred “yellow girls” (light-complexioned young women), thus the skin-bleaching. Therefore, they (the women) had to step up in the game or else they would be left single and even the married ones might be dumped for the “fashionable” ones. It was puzzling to me how the words “sexy” and “fashionable” now meant being lean and boisterous in our new generation. It was also obvious that the men could barely tell the difference from the naturally beautiful women and the women masked with make-up, nor could they tell the difference between simple real gold earrings and cheap glittering long ear-fangs; in fact the flashier a woman looked, the more appealing she was to them.
These new observations spurred deep thoughts in my head with new questions. What if these women did not feel the need to impress the men with high heels and ridiculous bangles but rather with good manners and family grooming; what if these men did not feel the pressure to lavish expensively on women even though they knew they could not afford it but rather, showed genuine care and concern for the women’s welfare? What if the women only combed their clean natural hair and wore beautiful smiles on their faces instead of all the make-up and what if the men appreciated the natural looks of their women and called them gorgeous? What if fake looks and electronic gadgets were stopped being exchanged for attention and sex? Maybe, people would be easier to read, things would be clearer to see and competition for the wrong things would be reduced. Maybe, the efforts, thoughts and time incorporated into unnecessary troubles could be channeled into innovation and creativity for a better country. Perhaps, with less worries, there would be more happiness. However, these will continue to be my little thoughts until maybe people learn to be just simple. Just maybe!