The Girl Whisperer
as published by the Sunday Guardian
of September 16
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU
Many decades ago, George Orwell, writer of “Animal Farm”, wrote a work of fiction titled “1984”. A futuristic piece in which everyone lived in a perfect society that was strictly ruled by a government that acted as overseer in all issues, no matter how trivial. There were cameras in apartments that recorded all citizens did (this book was written in 1949); security forces that arrested law-breakers, and rebukes as well as punishments were instantaneous for those who contravened the laws of the State.
Sometimes in the developing world, we appear faced with a Big Brother State without the advantage of living in a perfect society. Up until today in many places, women are not allowed to wear trousers, fraternize with non-family male members and are frowned at, when they smoke cigarettes.
For many women, it appears the entire world is watching, screening every act, weighing every motive, judging…
Men relatively have it easier in these matters, often being able to have the best of both worlds. A man who recklessly makes love to all comers is termed a “player” sowing his wild oats, while his female equivalent is, well, easy. Women, generally, are expected to accept their lot when they become permanently attached to a man with wandering eyes whilst judgement is swift and harsh when a woman in a serious relationship makes the mistake of having a liaison with another man. It’s amazing how the scales of judgement differ in these matters, expecting higher ideals and standards from women.
Today, I “accidentally” joined the rest of the race of drooling men who sit to watch Big Brother’s shower hour daily. I’d seen the adverts of the South African reality show on Television. It went something like this- “56 countries, 800 million people, with one goal; Big Brother’s shower hour”. Showing on the screen were men and women in varying degrees of nakedness in a communal shower, and I understood why 80 million people (men, mostly, I suspect), would want to watch this. It wasn’t about seeing the biceps on the men; it was about seeing women of all shapes and sizes in various states of undress. Talk about living in a fishbowl world (even if these ones consented to reside there). Of interest to me was the Nigerian girl, conservative, as far as I have seen, and reminiscent of our entry to the first Big Brother Africa House. Bayo, they called him. This female appears, well, kind of moderate. She’s just there, like Bayo was, not particularly expressing creative inclinations. I am of the firm opinion that the South African producers of that programme are in a massive conspiracy not to ever put the quintessential, bubbly, charming Nigerian in that forum, because our average citizen would win hands down, but I digress with my conspiracy theory.
So I sat and watched as even this “quiet” Nigerian entry to the Big Brother House, flashed some skin as she “casually” unwrapped a towel after taking a bath in what looked like sack clothing. “Interesting”, I thought, “the things we can do, depending on whether the society we live in, accepts it”. Ours is a community where a University tells its females, they will not be allowed to graduate until tests show they are not pregnant or have Sexually Transmitted Diseases. A society where women dare not rent apartments of their own but must continue to stay with parents because they might be termed “loose” and might not find husbands, where women over the age of twenty-eight have palpitations, sleepless nights and heart tremors because they aren’t married yet and are under incredible pressure from family and society to produce a partner no matter how unsuitable this partner might be.
The Girl Whisperer has a word for these women, no matter how hard it might seem, “be yourself no matter what they say”.