How much do you really NOT care?

It is very common these days to see people claim not to care about what other’s think about them. I have to confess I actually care and I think deep down a lot of people do. If not then why are we so bothered with pointless social participation on social networks? Why do we dress to be fashionable when we are afforded the option of comfort? Why do we get fired up when people have clashing opinions to ours if we really don’t care about what they think?

Contrary to the ‘I don’t care’ and ‘fuck the haters’ posts that clog my news feed I think we have never been more self conscious than we are today. I bet everyone knows someone doing the insanity workout and lets not even go into diet pills and plastic surgery. My question is why are we so scared to admit that we seek approval and acceptance? Surely this is a natural condition. We might want to all be unique individuals but no one wants to be an outcast. I’ve had girls say to me that they don’t care what anyone thought of their outfit, the same girls before my very own eyes labeled another girl slutty for dressing how they considered to be inappropriate. I wonder how they would have felt if they were on the other end of this label.

For the most part guys will admit to make an effort to impress women. The rise in small legs syndrome as a result of skipping leg training is evidence in itself why a lot of men pump metal at the gym. The notion of looking good for ones own self sound just vain to me. We might struggle to admit it but the principle reason to look good is to be approved of by others. Why else has Instagram been so successful? I mean what benefit is having someone like a photo of you to your life really? Just Google ‘studies on facebook pictures insecure’ and see the findings on the subject.

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Too much religion, too little spirituality

The other day I was having a conversation with a female friend of mine. It was a Sunday, and naturally she asked if I had done much with my day. I told her I hadn’t even stepped out the house and then came the second question. She now wanted to know if I went to a church service. I told her I didn’t and that was were our argument started. She said she would only marry a God fearing man and I asked her what that had to do with attendance in church.

Nigeria is an overly religious nation and if I dare say it, this is one of the biggest issues we face as far as social progression is concerned. Can you believe that on a road in Benin City I was able to count 16 churches in 1km. That is to say Usain Bolts would run past 16 churches in under two minutes in this city. But for all this presence of God in Benin there are very few cities in Nigeria as dangerous as this one. If we cannot accept anything else, let us at least accept that the current religious scene in Nigeria is marked with hypocrisy. How do we explain being one of the most religious countries in the world and also one of the most corrupt? An oxymoron if I ever saw one.

I have no problem with people believing whatever it is that soothes their soul, but when ideas drawn from these belief systems start to affect others then it become a problem. I will give an example. Earlier this year a law was passed to send homosexuals in Nigeria to prison for 14 years. Sadly, as I expected this was greeted with cheers by Nigerians on the premise that it was termed an abomination in the bible. This is the questions I pose to these so called Christians: What would Jesus do? Is the fundamental philosophy of being a Christian not being Christ-like? I cannot tell you for certain what Jesus would have done, but I am certain he wouldn’t lock anyone up for 14years. That in itself is immoral and if you support such measure of marginalisation then you are part of the Nigerian problem.

And when did religious grounds become valid for law making in a secular state? We were all up in arms with Yerima’s insinuation of child marriage on religious grounds, but when it suited our agendas we were all happy to accept religion as grounding for law making. And why stop at anti-gay laws, how about anti-adultery laws, laws against fornication,….did you know that the bible also regards eating shrimp to be an abomination in Leviticus! Where are the state laws to regulate these sins, or have we decided to pick and choose because it is easy to accept restrictions that do not restrict us. If you are a man and have watched girl-on-girl porn then you aren’t even qualified to have a negative opinion on homosexuality. For as long as religion has existed men have bent and twisted it to suit our needs and that is all that is happening in Nigeria today. I will stop here before I go into essay mode and rant on, but you can expect more posts of this nature. We need to drop this religious charade and get into the habit of learning to respect others even if we have clashing spiritual ideologies. It is almost as if the average Nigerian cannot comprehend that someone else can have a different idea of life to theirs, like we have some sort of monopoly of the truth.

53 years later…

I am no Nigeria historian or anthropologist but I don’t think it takes either to understand the Nigerian problem. It’s been 53 years and we still suffer from side-effects of colonialism as the world merges into a global village. Today Nigerians all over the world would be partying to mark he birth of our nation, but this is my question…what exactly are we celebrating? Surely this would be a good time to sit and reflect on our journey so far and the prospective future. With out constant reflection and evaluation how can we improve? Or is the idea of a better Nigeria merely a fantasy we delude ourselves with while carrying on with business as usual. I will spend this month writing on social issues in Nigeria and I would very much like fellow Nigerians and foreigners alike to engage in these discussions. As you can expect the content of some of these post will be sensitive, I ask that all arguments are brought forward with respect of each other’s opinions in the absence of foul language or other derogatory remarks. I look forward to hearing from you all.

Bullying

If you went to school in Africa (Nigerian boarding schools to be precise) you undoubtedly have a completely different perception to what gets passed off as bullying in the West. The concept of cyber-bull where I’m from is more or less an oxymoron (ain’t no body got time for that!). From as early as nine or ten years old most kids (myself included) experience physical bullying in the form of belting and a range of corporal punishments I cannot begin to explain. The school systems are structured to permit this kind of treatment with an unspoken rule that arranges a power structure within students based on what year you are in. Teachers of course are allowed to smack you. While I will not promote or defend bullying in this way, I would point out that this ‘suck it up’ philosophy encourages a certain type of character building unseen in the West as far as bullying is concerned. I have been reading through comments about the victim of cyber bullying on Ask.fm that ended up hanging herself and it has really got me thinking. Of course this is not the first time such a case has arisen and if steps are not taken it wouldn’t be the last either.

Most comments seem to call for better monitoring of these sites, better parental monitoring of children’s internet activity, or blame the victims for not being mature enough to handle the situation. I think it is worth considering how children are socialized these days to figure out if society is not giving kids the tools essential to build strong characters. Could it be possible that in today’s society children are over-protected and under-monitored? I will give an example. In Nigeria it is very common for parents to physically hit their kids to  deter them from repeating an offense. Because this happens to everyone there is no stigma attached to it. No Nigerian grows up feeling ‘abused’ because their parents hit them with a belt or shoe on a few occasions. In the West a parent hitting the child provides this child with a sob story for the rest of their life. I actually remember being teased with the term ‘ajebor’ (posh) in school because I said my parents never hit me. In fact I considered making up that they did just to feel normal!

Do you think old people suggest bringing back the cane because they want others to taste their pain or because they actually believe it is can help for character building?

I do not have kids therefore I feel rather unqualified to suggest a solution, but it is obvious that much needs to be done in regards to character building to reduce the need for social acceptance among the young. Perhaps some scheme rolled out to lecture kids on handling bullying after teaching them how to put condoms over cucumbers?

Toying with sex…

Don’t ask what led to this, but basically I went from discussing the possibility of a future where robots were integrated into society to how they might replace spouses. There are already people married to dolls and even pillows in Japan. The obvious question was would we eventually start sleeping with machines…ermm we kind of already do (vibrators and all that stuff). But I’m not trying to write a post about sex toys, instead I’m trying to ask why is it that the use of sex toys is socially accepted for women but not so much for men?

Women talk to each other about their latest purchases and there is no real awkwardness in discovering a sex toy in a female’s room. For men on the other hand, your hand is as much a helper as you are allowed. Just imagine walking into a guy’s room to discover this:

Given that men are generally assumed to be the hornier of the gender you would think the shop floors of sex shops would be littered with toys intended for male sexual gratification but this is far from the case. I have two theories to support the phenomenon but I am curios to what everyone else thinks. Firstly, I propose that maybe because it is too easy for men to ‘arrive’ there is really no need for us to invest in extras. While this explains why very little research and development has gone into producing male sex toys, it doesn’t explain why it is hasn’t been normalized in society for men to use sex toys for self-pleasure (I am cringing writing a lot of these phrases, such a prude). Regarding the social stigmatization of men using toys for masturbation I am guessing it arises of the egocentric thought process of men in regards to sex. Because we praise our ability to be promiscuous we regard using such toys as a sign that the guy is ‘not getting enough’ because his game is weak. Women on the other hand are free from this conception, at least to a degree enough to make it acceptable for them to substitute with mechanical assistants. Any thoughts?

Chivalry is dead, and no, women DIDN’T kill it!

Love these ironic jokes

Love these ironic jokes

It has become popular opinion that chivalry is dead, and it was murdered in cold blood by women with their battle for equality, I beg to differ. Chivalry is dead because men today lack the character to be chivalrous. Guys are going to argue saying:

‘These women today don’t act lady-like so why should they be treated like ladies?’, ‘They want equality right? Well, they can open their own doors, pull out their own chairs, and I’ll be damned if I offer her mine, that b*tch better have some calf for standing’…you know what guys are like.

Before I carry on with my rant allow me to define chivalry: The qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women (it did not specify a type of woman, it is towards ALL women). Keeping in line with the context of this post I will address mainly gallantry towards women. Day to day life in 2013 doesn’t really offer a lot of opportunity to display bravery, and honor (unless you’re in the army). If you already can’t display courtesy then you have no hope of ever being a decent person.

The notion that the independent woman cannot co-exist with the chivalrous man is at best lazy, and worst stupid. Men did not treat women gallantly because they felt women were somehow unequal to them in the past. So why would we decide that the working woman is somehow not deserving of the same treatment her ancestors enjoyed. Guys, please stop letting the side down and get some manners.

Ladies you have to be receptive to this treatment. I have to say I’ve met a few ‘I can do it all myself’ women. That’s not the point!

As for the argument that the 21st century woman doesn’t act like a lady and should therefore not be treated as such, why are we making excuses? Respect must be earned and not given, but that should be no excuse to develop inconsistency in character. I like to think of my gallantry towards women as a personality trait. It should be independent of the woman in question. We don’t need to deem a woman the cream of the crop or creme dela creme of the female specie to show some manners. If women went about accessing men for traits of classic gentlemen, the bulk of us are at best grown babies suffering from emotional instabilities and a sever case of immaturity. There is never an excuse not to show some class, unless you have no class that it. Rant over 🙂

Objectification of women (gift or curse)

Got your attention didn’t it?

The issue of the objectification of women in the media and society is probably one of the most controversial social issues of our time (not really). Sex sells and women are the more sexy of the gender so as you would expect capitalists have done what they have to do to make the profits stretch. It is almost impossible to go through a whole day without seeing some form of female objectification. Some are done tastefully, some funny (Lynx adverts), some outright derogatory (see most hip-hop videos). So is this a gift or a curse? And how is the way women are portrayed in the media affect both the way men perceive women and how women perceive themselves?

It might seem like the highly sought after ‘fat free’ hourglass shape represents an empirical formula for female beauty, but this hasn’t always been the case, and in some parts of the world it still isn’t. A quick look into history will show you that in the past women were expected to have a bit of meat on them, and the paler you were, the more attractive you seemed. I don’t need to stress how much money businesses are making of fake tan and sunbeds. Ironically in Africa women take to bleaching their skin to look lighter. I guess we are all aiming for a shade of caramel. I heard the pale skin represented wealth because it meant you didn’t work in the fields, and the weight represented the same as it meant you had enough to eat. Today the tan shows wealth because you can afford a holiday and the weight loss shows you hit the gym (wealth and fitness).

I have met a lot of ladies with real issues as regards to the media standard of beauty, but I have even met more trying to conform to it by working their ass of in the gym (pun not intended). I personally believe in the idea that the standard of beauty is determined by the society and the time in question. The media only reflects the ideas we already have in our minds but then reinforces it. But maybe I might be wrong and already brainwashed by years of exposure to MTV (when they did show music videos). The second question is do you think the current depiction of women in the media has forced insecurities on ladies today and influenced men to respect them less. While I cannot answer the former (as I am a man), I will say the latter has an element of truth to it. When a girl comes across looking like one of the objectified women we see on TV, men do have the habit of objectifying them. Can this be in anyway seen as empowerment as I have heard some girls argue, or is it downright disrespectful? Famous women all over the world have sexualized themselves to get ahead and while sexual harassment remains an issue at work women still maintain wearing pencil skirts and tight fitting blouses.

P.S A woman dressed provocatively is NOT an invitation for harassment. But all things taken into account I think we can all agree it increases the chances of that happening.