It is mostly society’s fault that our ideas and definitions of beauty are not independent as I would argue that they should be. But how do you blame society without blaming the individuals, the men and the women who make up society? I would explain what society means, at least to me, and how I think it is capable of influencing everything about personhood with a real life example. When I was an undergraduate, my first semester in the university was a time I kept mostly to myself because I was new and I did not know anybody. I only related with my brother whom I lived with and my few friends with whom I got admitted. I usually would not speak to any other person including my neighbours and even in church so much that some church members thought that I was mute. It was not bad, I realize now that I have never really loved the company of others, I don’t hate it, sometimes, I prefer the company of others to the company of myself, but I don’t love it. That first semester, I did okay academically. And then, as time went by, and as people kept on complaining that I was way too into my shell and I needed to come out and have some fun, I began to open up and to let others in and to enjoy the company of neighbours and to enjoy going to church not because of God but because of the people I would see when the service is over. I let society in and society began to influence my decision to stay home and laugh at my neighbours’ jokes even when I knew that I had lectures in an hour and I needed to get prepared, or to stay outside and criticize the government or argue about how a scientist is smarter than a lawyer and other thing that I would not do if I was still inside my beloved shell. It told on me academically because my result at the end of that semester was the worst throughout my years in school. So yes, that is what society can mean and can do to you. I can’t blame my neighbours and church members because it really had nothing to do with them, I wanted to get out more and have some fun. Society sits down and waits for you then, through others, it dissolves your own ideas and puts its own instead. That is why the most beautiful lady most men can imagine is probably extremely light in complexion. We automatically tend to become softer when confronted with a very light skinned lady because we have been subconsciously programmed to prefer the light skin, this softness is almost inexistent when we are dealing with a dark skinned lady, because in our brains, there is really nothing special about her; she’s just another lady. It is hard if you look at this from the perspective of the dark skinned lady, it is hard to notice these walls that have been built around you because you are a certain way and decide to do nothing about it; which is why I now feel that I cannot blame anyone who decides to change her complexion to a lighter one with the use of skin lightening creams. It is only a side-effect of society’s preference for one colour of skin over the other. There’s the first dragon for you, the light skin.
I read on Bella Naija last night that the University don who sexually harassed a young lady in the university of Ilorin some days ago had said that he was ‘set up’ by his colleagues, who had been jealous of his ‘stardom’. That is funny because there was evidence in form of an audio clip where he was saying things to the unfortunate girl who was complaining, nearly crying, pleading with him, ‘stop it… I don’t want it… I am on…’ and things like that. The man said, ‘it is sexual harassment and not rape,’ in defence of himself. I feel it is funny that he could even make a statement in the first place and then I feel he is stupid for saying it is not rape but harassment, they are both forms of sexual assault and he should be ashamed of himself because without things like sexual harassment, there would be no such thing as rape. I am a graduate student of that university and so I feel like I have a right to say this, I don’t just think he should be relieved of his job as a lecturer, I think he should be stopped from lecturing anybody anywhere for the rest of his life. And a wall should be built around him so that he has no access to any other young lady to harass. I feel very strongly about sexual assault because it is also a dragon in society, the rate of underreporting of sexual assaults is the highest among crimes because of the way society perceives it, almost always, the response to a rape victim is ‘you should not have dressed like that… you secretly wanted it… you probably enjoyed it… it is your fault.’ My thesis is on this dragon called sexual assault and so for the next year or so I would be doing some research on it. With people like this one who boastfully say things like, ‘it’s just harassment not rape,’ I guess I have got my work cut out for me.
*This title, Men who love Dragons too much, is the title of a book at the Hogwarts library which Harry consulted as he was about to go up against a dragon at the Triwizard Tournament, it was unhelpful. Here, it depicts how we have these things that are unhelpful to us but continue to exist because society wants it to.
Till next time,, Keep dreaming!!