Interacting with those born before the 70s can be a little bit of a daunting task. They have these ‘undefined’ expectations from the young and will not let the line sag for any of us. The high level of scrutiny that drives every young adult into unplanned consequences has become so overbearing that no one listens to them anymore. Then still end up in compromising hullaballoo.
Having a very close relationship with my mother, I’m not spared of lifetime stories from all her walks of life and the interactions she has had.
She always starts her conversations with a little bit of dramatic filled air that gets your antennae looking like the times, not magazine.
“So one day some colleagues and I are having coffee then one of them asks why young girls wear tight short skirts”.
In my head I sighed, she is a modern woman but she is still very much African. We probably have had this conversation more times than we should. Obviously I would advocate for a woman to dress as she feels most comfortable and it shouldn’t be dictated by anyone else. She did not quite subscribe to my thought process, disclaiming the fact that women dress for themselves. Too adamant in her belief she argues that women wear provocatively with an aim to impress men. I jokingly asked about her favorite pink dress, I probably shouldn’t have.
For years it’s been in male’s primate nature to be visually over sensitized. From way back, men looked for the females with Vera hips, Kim bosom, Rapunzel hair and Kylie lips. Apparently this indicated that they were ready to bear children for them. Yes, men have been misogynists from day one. Unfortunately, this way of thinking has been imprinted over many years that it seems only right that men are bracketed to individuals who cannot see past a nice smile and great curves. Women started believing this as well and now we are stuck with problems that don’t make sense like defilement.
She goes on to explain how her colleague was disgusted by this slay queen who showed up to work with such a short garment. I asked what was the problem with what she was wearing if she is comfortable with it.
“Daisy, what is her intention for wearing that short skirt?”
I sat down on the couch facing her at an angle, the type of conversations in which you play the eyeball game because your liberation cannot be exercised. Sipping my coffee as I hear on tales of the short skirt and bad legs lady under duress…
“ Sketi ndogo kuliko miaka yake” she remarks as she signals for me to put Varshita.
“But mum, the intention of her wearing the short skirt has no bearing at all. I am assuming she has a closet full of clothes to choose from, don’t you think it’s up to her to make simple decisions such as what to wear without involving the whole universe?
“You know, you can’t just change the rules like that, she can wear the short skirt at night if she wants, nobody wants to see her thighs, we even have better, she says gleefully.
I think she was most comfortable to wear it at the time she wore it. A woman shouldn’t have to be forced to check with everyone else in the world first before taking any leap. The pressure to satisfy everyone is what makes our society so retrogressive. This translates to even more pertinent issues like voting and economy. If a woman decides that she is most comfortable with a tight shirt or a short skirt then she should be allowed to do so unless freewill is a choice.
“Wearing such short clothes is not African and it is just a bad look for any enterprise, she replies with her eyes fixed on Varshita.
“There is no such thing as ‘not African’, we used to walk naked before the whites; breasts out, penile leafs were the order of the day. This later translated to short skirts that even cucu wore”. Perversion has nothing to do with clothes, it’s all mental. That’s why a woman wearing a short skirt upsets you even though she has not done anything directly to anyone.
The conversation ended with her making legit real-time points that linger in my mind till date. I get to hear the same conversation play in my head every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning as I stand in front of my closet. It’s even louder on the days that I’m headed to the administration block with silhouettes of the security guards.
I still believe a woman shouldn’t be put in a box just because if it’s let open we will move in ways that will not favor our male counterparts. Why should all our decisions or problems be male instigated or oriented? What if we all make choices and decisions selfishly for us? You are forced to settle down early and not follow your dreams because past a certain age you won’t find a suitor; or your marriage is in the ruins but you can’t leave your cheating abusive husband because the society will scorn you; or you drop out of school to raise your child but the man who impregnated you is still in class or maybe you cut down your standards in fear of being too intimidating that you will not get married. All that bull crap but for what? Why would anyone want to be married? Those people are miserable starting from Jay and Beyonce and it doesn’t get easier when you are poor. (Chuckles)