In the olden days, especially in the traditional African society, children were raised up by one entity, the village. The village was responsible for the upbringing of a child, right from its onset to its death. A child’s behavior was centered on the influences and teachings he/she got and as far as we have read or seen, most of them turned out great- ask your parents or grandparents. But fast forward into the 21st century and children are being influenced not by the family, but by technology.
The rising age of technology has had its ups and downs; the ups mostly being making our lives easier and opening us up to a world of innovation like never before and the unfortunate downside being the fact that some of these innovations, for example the internet are having negative influences especially on us.
Just last week, I bumped into this video on the internet. The video which is called ‘M.I.L.F $’ – that’s MILF Money by pop superstar Fergie, who rose to fame in the early 2000s with the popular group the ‘Black Eyed Peas’ has been doing rounds on the internet ever since its release in early July. The video which shows popular celebrity moms including Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen (wife to musician John Legend) and Ciara in various day to day roles – a waitress, teacher, a mom doing yoga etc. But what makes this video go viral is not just the fact that it has several celebrities, but the fact that Fergie says that the video is meant to empower moms.
The video includes famous and beautiful moms who are scantily dressed and obviously shaking their bodies in a sexual way while sometimes pouring milk all over them. Also a fact that is way more evocative is the vulgar meaning of the word ‘M.I.L.F’ which was changed to ‘Moms I’d Like to Follow’ in the video. Now I’m not saying that hard working mothers shouldn’t feel beautiful about themselves even after they’ve had children (which is a factor that pops up in the video) but do we really need almost naked women making an explicit video and saying that the whole point of the video is to empower women? I don’t think so!
Another very weird article I came across was “20 tips for your first abortion” which outlines a couple of tips that can help a woman if she realizes that she might as well want to decide to terminate her pregnancy. Two particular tips that stood out were “It will cost around six hundred dollars (around 60,000 shillings depending on the exchange rate). Consider the cost of raising a child. Consider the cost of that Beyoncé concert ticket you almost bought. Now let it go.” and “Having an abortion is not a big deal. It could be a teeth cleaning. A very deep teeth cleaning.” Is this really something a young adult lady should be stumbling upon on the internet? Worse still, if a young lady who is pregnant and is having second thoughts about keeping the baby happens to come across this article and decides to execute on some of the tips that she’s been given.
So who really is empowering women? And are they empowering them in the right way? Who is feeding them information on how to realize their sense of self-worth and teaching them that they have the ability to influence the direction of societal change for a better society and a better world?
My take is, Instead of giving a woman ’20 tips for your first abortion’, tell them what abortion really is and how it can affect her. Also tell her the other options she can weigh instead of abortion and let her choose. Let her choose because she has that power and whatever choice she makes, support her. Instead of telling a woman that she is still beautiful even after going through childbirth by her seeing videos on the internet of half-naked women drowning themselves in milk and telling her to ‘Let me see your milk shake.’ – One of the references in the video – show her a mirror. Tell her that she is beautiful, smart and a game changer even without taking off her clothes.
The fact remains that women empowerment is still a widely discussed topic all over the world, especially in developing countries and it is also clear that age is not a factor when it comes to being falsely empowered since the video is talking about mothers who are working and have children; so the question is, who do you choose to empower you? There are hundreds of women to look up to, women who are rightfully excelling in their various fields and are in the right capacity to empower women and some of them can be found here.
You can also choose your own game changer whose great work is an inspiration. The Top 40 under 40 women in Kenya is one that is doing such. You can do so by nominating someone who deserves that recognition, be it a relative, a friend or even yourself here but let us take the right step in rightfully empowering women.