Monday, October 28, 2013

Social Media: The Oppression Factor

I was recently discussing social media with my friend and told her “Man, social media can be one hella oppressive place”. And this is the truth. It’s like no matter how immune you feel to it all, there’s going to be something out there in the cyber world that will find your Achilles heel and feast on it. There’s always somebody out there who has what you want, or seems to be doing way better in life than you are doing.

After years of wondering how the hell Instagram (IG) worked, I finally joined it and gotta attest that those visuals alone can work their magic. Everything just looks so glossy and fancy, and everybody looks “rich as f***” (in the words of my favorite Uncle 2chainzzzz). I just be perusing sometimes and wondering “which levels na? When I go hammer reach?” However, the funny thing is that not everything posted on social media is supposed to be oppressive but somehow they get to you depending on whether it’s your thing or not.

A few examples…

  • That person that stays posting pictures of their countless vacations and trips. You name the place, and they've been there. And you’re feeling the oppression because to afford one solo vacation requires you to give up so much while for some others it seems like they have an unending supply of money, time, and resources.
  • That other person that posted pictures of plenty plenty high end shopping bags and gave a shoutout to their wonderful husband/boyfriend on some “Shout outs to my baby for spoiling me. Love you boo!” and you can’t help but dash one side eye to your hardworking husband/boo who works so hard to make you happy but somehow his level of hard work never reach Neiman Marcus and Saks. And even if designer names aren't your thing, it could be something else that you would love to have in your life but you and your man can’t afford it (e.g. Macbook, Ipad, BB10, Samsung S4 etc etc. Pick your poison and there’s a woman out there posting a picture of it and hailing her boo.
  • That person that keeps tensioning you with pictures of their weight loss journey. It seems like they step on a treadmill and instantly lose 10lbs. Meanwhile you are out here struggling to lose weight even though you’ve been eating right and working out for the past 2 months. See, things like this aren’t even supposed to be oppressive but I know that sometimes they are.
  • That other one that is always doing #Himship #Goinghometomyman #Mybabyboo up and down the place with plenty coupled up pictures to boot. You haven’t even had a negro say hi to you in the last 8 months, talk less of a man to go home to. O diro easy.

Let’s shift from IG real quick and enter Twitter and Facebook…
You’re seeing tweets and status updates like “God is Good! I passed my MCAT on the first try and I’m interviewing to get into *insert the medical school of your dreams*” and you’re wondering when this same good God is going to do it for you. You’ve taken the MCAT at least 2x now…


That husband that posts a picture of the brand new car that he just bought for his wife in honor of her giving him some bouncing baby boys and girls and you’re feeling that oppression because you and your spouse have been trying for children for God knows how many years.

I can go on and on but it’s so much stuff on social media that get to at least every one of us depending on the things in life that are doing you.

For some of us it’s marriage of course. Even for me who mainly doesn't feel the societal pressure of marriage, every single time that I log into that place called Facebook, the first things assailing my eyes are at least 3 people’s engagement photo shoots, traditional weddings, white weddings and all things weddings and I’m like “Whoa! Are there any single people left in this world?? Am I going to be the last woman standing in this single struggle?” I tire.

For some it’s career…folks be posting about working in places and fields that we would love to work in talking about “I love my job…so blessed.xx” and oppression sets in when you think about the million and one resumes that you've sent out and the million and one rejection letters/emails that you received. I remember when I was in college and wanted to work for PWC so badly (after they rejected my ass) and it used to pepper me when all the accounting kids in my school would update their professional networks on Facebook to PWC. It wasn’t a game yo.

For some it’s material goods. You’re looking at all the cars, gadgets, bags, shoes that your mates are enjoying and wondering when you will be able to afford to buy such fancy things without drinking garri for 2 months.

For some it’s the fertility issue. You really want kids and have been trying for ages, and everybody around you is sharing pictures or stories of their little ones. This is also not meant to be oppressive I'm sure but we are only human and I bet something like that would get to me every now and then if I was in that boat.

For others it’s just a person’s overall packaging. Some people just seem to have their lives so well put together. Great jobs, probably did something like buy a house when they were 25, if they are female they probably got married at 28, had their 2 kids by 31 and bounced back to size 4 frames in 5 seconds, seemingly great husbands, and a seemingly great life…and they are out there on your web feed of whatever your social media poison is, oppressing the heck out of little ol’ you who is trying to get a handle on something in your life.

E no easy my people.

What do you do? I have a friend who doesn't do Facebook or Instagram (very smart girl). I think that’s a definite start to curb the oppression in your life and learn to stay in your lane. But if you’re like me and you like to keep these forms of media open for small amebo purposes, the next best thing to do is to try and rein it in sometimes. You don’t gotta be on social media every single day. Sometimes a break is good from all the shenanigans, especially if you are down in the dumps and not feeling that great about yourself. The last thing that you want to see is somebody happily posting pictures or talking about something when you’re feeling some type of way about that particular something. My final word on this: In the words of my wise friend “Social media is filled with a lot of smoke and mirrors” aka things are not always what they seem. I remember a story about somebody who posted a picture of her brand new designer bag gifted to her by her “dearest husband” only for us to get behind the scenes of the story and find out that her so-called dearest husband had beaten her the week before and then bought her the bag to apologize for his behavior. Of course we saw a picture of the bag…a picture of the black eyes nko? Not so much. I’m sure somebody out there was feeling oppression on 3 levels: 1. Husband 2. Dear Husband 3. Expensive Bag. So just goes to show that while some people are truly living the life, not everybody is truly living the life so don’t be too quit to turn a bright shade of green when you read about or see how some people are doing it up.

And that my people, is all she said.

Have a great rest of the week.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What's So Special About Your Family Name Anyway?

I not-so recently had the following conversation with one of my male cousins:
Cousin (talking about my uncle who recently re-married after his first wife’s death): How is Ikenna’s new wife sef?

Me: I really dig her and I think she’s great with the kids.

Cousin: Hmmm, I hear she’s almost 40 and so I wonder why Ikenna married someone who was that old. I’m concerned about her child bearing capabilities because you know Ikenna really wants a son and so that was one of the reasons why he got married again.

Me: So I heard o, but abegi, after 6 daughters, what is he finding with a son again? I think that he just needs someone to help him take care of his girls…besides, in this same quest for a son, he ended up with a boatload of girls, so I think he should just relax and fashy this matter of having a son. What if the next one that comes is a girl too?

Cousin: You don’t understand. Ikenna wants someone to carry on with the family’s name and so I don’t see a problem if he wants a son. After all, most men want sons that can carry on with the family’s name…

Me: Na wa  for you men and your fixation with sons to carry on the family’s name. So if you and your wife have a bunch of daughters, would that be an issue?

Him: By God’s grace, I know that will not be our portion.

Me: *Zipped lips and quickly moved on to the next topic*

And that was that, as I jejely minded my business and dropped the matter.

And then in the more recent past, I was talking to somebody who has 2 daughters and wife who is expecting one more child. He said that he really hopes that the 3rd one is a boy as he wants at least one son. And so I posed the same question that I posed to my cousin – If you guys have a bunch of daughters, would it be an issue? His response was – “Houston, we would have a problem” before he quickly interjected with “Just kidding”. But I wasn't buying it…
I asked him why some men are so hung up on having sons and he gave me the very typical “I want somebody to carry the family name and to inherit everything that I’ve worked for".  He then added "My daughters will get married and join another man’s family and everything that I’ve worked for will go to another man’s son (i.e. his daughters future husbands), so I want a son who will inherit the fruit of my hard work” . I said ookay and kept it moving. I couldn't even pretend to understand it because I didn't and I still don’t.

All of this talk got me thinking about all these men that keep on harping about wanting a son to carry on with their family name. I mean absolutely no disrespect and all, but the pressing questions that I have are: What is so special about you and your family name? What is so wonderful about your legacy? What exactly are your sons supposed to be carrying on?

I totally understand wanting a son because you want to do daddy-son things like going to watch a basketball game or whatever it is that sons do with their fathers. What I don’t understand is wanting a son because you want them to carry your name forward.
The way I see it and with the way that our generation is going, I doubt that in the long run, anyone is checking for you and your lineage. Like someone once said, if you’re not a Dangote, Adenuga, or any of those big names, why should we be concerned about your so-called family name? I mean, what great thing have you done that you want people to be carrying on your family name? Like I said, no disrespect to you men out there and the family names that you hold so dearly to your hearts, but I think it’s beyond absurd to still be on about this whole “I want a son to carry my family name forward” in this day and age. Feel free to shed light if you want to help me understand.

Who says that your daughters cannot also bring recognition to your family and carry on your so-called family name? In my opinion, if I do anything epic in this lifetime, whether I am married or single, people will always say “that is Papa Mgbeke’s daughter”, or “she comes from so and so’s family”. Look at the Adenuga’s for instance…even though that he has a married daughter, I always think of her first as Bella Adenuga, the daughter of Adenuga. People know her as her father’s daughter first, before they recognize her as her husband’s wife…if that makes sense.

Now, imagine a scenario where you have a son who turns out to be some notorious serial killer or something crazy. That your precious son will send your family name that you worked so hard for, to the pits. So much for carrying on the family name, guys. So, really my dear brothers, I will keep this short…boy or girl, whichever one God gives you, please take it and be content with it. Treat your daughters with respect and view them as more than able and capable to take on and bring pride and joy to your family name. And really, if you haven’t worked for shiz and are just a regular average 9-5 Joe, sit back, relax and ask yourself what exactly you even want your imaginary sons to carry on.

*Rides my blazing chariot out of Blogsville*