Religion

Emerging Cultic Tendencies In The 21st Century World

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are the author’s and are not intended to attack a particular society or group.

So we are getting closer and closer to the end of 2016. New year resolutions are already in the making and goals that were not achieved in 2016 are now in the bucket list for 2017. As we draw closer to the finish line that is this year, I decided to take a look at some of the Cultic tendencies that have over time invaded our society. Some, you will realize, have equally been evident in the past century so it’s nothing totally new, simply more pronounced in the current century and Kenyan society, to be more specific.

So what are these emerging cultic tendencies I want to address, I hear you ask?

RELIGION

Over time, religion has been the most misunderstood aspect in society. And while the intentions of religion have always been to provide a spiritual guidance to the masses in their daily living, scripture has often times been taken out of context therefore, paving the way for a misguided cultic way of handling religion. The fact that many more individuals are enduring sufferings of every manner and are in dire need of a miracle, cultic leaders have had a field day recruiting vulnerable members into their fold.

And while in the previous century, cults had distinct ways of living and dressing that separated them from the masses and made it easier to identify them, in this century, cults have taken up a different form where they are not easily identifiable. As a matter of fact, many more people are joining cults without even realizing that they are in cults. Religious cults have since morphed into movements that are appealing to the masses and are not overly direct in their approach of recruiting. Threats to members having a desire to leave a cult are no longer issued, since the cult leaders have perfected the art of ensnarement that often is psychological.

Logical reasoning is often shunned by members who are unlucky enough to unknowingly find themselves in religious cults. Other people not subscribing to their misguided doctrine are often associated with being of the devil or lost. Indeed, the daily cropping up of churches and religious leaders purporting to possess divine powers in our Kenyan society and a hunger for a religious miracle in the lives of the masses, does little to help with this emergence of religious cultic tendencies.

As a result of their emotional nature, women have been targetted by religious cults. Innocent lives have been lost at the hands of extremists who interpret religion differenty from the rest. Young jobless men have ended up recruited into extremist groups. In the 21st century, the most distinct hallmarks of religious cults has been extremist views,that are often detrimental to society at large not only the members.

NETWORK MARKETING COMPANIES

Our Kenyan society is currently bombarded by offers to make that extra income in Network Marketing Companies. Personally, I have been involved with a Network Marketing Company whose only purpose in my life was seemingly, to drain me off the little finances I had.

I will not say that Network Marketing Companies are scams since I have witnessed individuals who actually make money in those companies and ultimately improve their lives, never to need formal employment. Plus the company I was in was pretty solid. So it’s not all doom and gloom in Network Marketing at least for the 1% who succeed in it. According to statistics, 99% of the people who join Network Marketing Companies fail.

However, during my stay in a Network Marketing Company, I noticed a cultic tendency among a majority of the Network Marketers. The fact that I found myself having to talk about what I do from day break to night fall in a bid to make a sale or recruit members into this “amazing” opportunity did not quite sit well with me. I made friends with a guy who never seemed to want to talk about anything else except the Network Marketing Company we were in.

When it became clearly evident to me that I wasn’t making any money, I started poring over the good and ugly information on Network Marketing. I also subsequently realized that none of the Network Marketers looked at the other side of the coin. They will mostly dwell on the positives and never on the negatives which is great for knowledge and self improvement purposes, so I thought. Needless to say, it was hard for me to walk away from Network Marketing since the message being preached was that “employment was enslavement”.

But when I finally did, I knew I was never going back. Some of the cultic tendencies of Network Marketing Companies I identified, is the constant desire to talk about one’s achievement despite a majority, actually struggling in the business. Again, logic reasoning is shunned. Walking out of a Network Marketing company is often associated with failure on the person’s part. Formal employment is given this ugly face.

Nobody forces you to join a Network Marketing Company so the choice remains the individual’s and if you believe it can work for you.

CELEBRITY LIVES

Sometime this year, Beyonce was performing on stage and got a slight injury. I was appalled to read on the internet that several of her fans equally cut themselves in solidarity with the singer. Sometime back, Enrique Iglesias injured his fingers while on stage performing and he didn’t quite get the same reaction from fans of showing solidarity to that extent, save for the messages of goodwill. And by the way, I’m equally a fan of Enrique.

I guess it all depends on the kind of pull a certain celebrity has to his/her fans. Now I have nothing against any celebrity in particular but in the 21st century, we have witnessed more and more of a cult-like following of celebrities. Never mind that some are not very good role models to the people looking up to them.

I have personally watched on TV, individuals who decide to go under the surgeon’s knife just to get that Michael Jackson look or Marylyn Monroe look or Spiderman look. We follow up on the lives of these celebrities and try to emulate what they do so as to be more in tune with them, or so. In reality, these individuals are just like us. The only difference between us and them is the fact that they are in the public eye and adored by many.

Terms like Beyhive (Beyonce’s fans) or Beliebers (Justin Bieber fans) and the likes are not going to end soon seeing that most of these fans take it a little too seriously than expected. Reality shows presenting a near perfect life of celebrities are just another channel of promoting the cultic following of many celebrities by clueless, wannabe, normal people.

 

Kenyans Will Shame You For Not Attending Service

Africa is a religious continent. No doubt about that. Be it African traditional religion, Christianity or Islam. Anyone from the African continent definitely takes religion seriously. But sometimes, in our attempts at being pious, we tend to take it a little too far if the mushrooming of questionable churches and beliefs is anything to go by. My country is no exception.

Picture this scenario;

Last Sunday, we had a work related meeting at 2 in the afternoon. Now a handful of us showed up on time and were already seated before the guest speaker arrived. One of my colleagues of a higher ranking than us, showed up equally early. What caught my attention was his choice of an ice breaker. You see, a majority of us are not well acquainted with each other as a result of the nature of our job. So we were obviously seated there not speaking to one another.

And our colleague (in good faith I presume) asked, “You people do not go to church on Sunday?” (Forgive the very Kenyanised English). And you could immediately sense the kind of discomfort that particular question created among us. I mean, we are Kenyans and over time we have grown used to a majority of Kenyans attending church on Sunday.

I mean 3/4 of Kenyan shops and all Government offices are usually closed on Sundays. It is a day we set aside for religious purposes and sometimes, act hypocritically astonished that some of us never saw the need to attend service as we did on Sunday.

Then we condemn them with hell fire in our hearts, when we notice with hidden glee, how uncomfortable our question has made them. Nobody in Africa desires to be associated with lacking in religious belief. So it wasn’t really a shocker this particular colleague asking if we didn’t go to church. I can’t really blame his choice of an ice breaker never mind the slight negative effect it caused. But was the question necessary really?

Anyways, a couple of weeks back, one of my neighbors (with whom I’m not very close but we occasionally chit chat) decided to play the good Christian and hand me a flyer inviting me to her church. Her intentions seemed genuine so I mentioned my denomination and promised to attend service with her next Sunday if I would be available.

Come next Saturday evening and this neighbor gave me a call just to confirm if I would be attending. Unfortunately, I had left earlier in the day for a relative’s place and therefore, apologized that it wouldn’t be possible and that I would attend my church wherever I was. So I thought the whole thing was sorted then.

The following Sunday, I got a call again early in the morning from the same neighbor and that is when my irritation set in. As if 100% sure of my movements that particular Sunday, this particular neighbor decided to conclude over the phone that I hadn’t gone to church.

And she kept on insisting that she just knew I hadn’t attended service never mind the fact that I wasn’t even home and hadn’t been that weekend. My exasperation got the better of me and I remember demanding to know why she thought I hadn’t been to church. It took a generous amount of self control on my part, not to snap at her and still play the friendly neighbor despite my irritation. That was the last time she called me on those same lines.

My reaction was not at all related to shame and guilt but rather to the fact that sometimes, people tend to assume to know you more than you do yourself. In my adult life, I have never felt the need to justify my beliefs to someone. I have equally never seen the need to put someone on the spot over what beliefs they hold concerning religion.

I used to when I was younger but over time, I realized that condemning others for their beliefs or lack of, was simply not necessary. If condemning someone’s beliefs made me choose who to interact with and who not to, then there was no point in me condemning in the first place.

I have a pretty religious background myself which I hardly publicize. I have been to strictly Christian schools and experienced deep religious Christian beliefs at home.

However, I tend to think of myself as someone who is very private with my religious beliefs. I have been put on the spot many times in the past, by people who assumed I do not pray or attend church as often as they did, just because they have never seen me pray in their vicinity or have witnessed me skip church a couple of Sundays.

I value my relationship with God but it is not something I would like to gleefully rub in the faces of others just to feel more pious than them. To me that is simply hypocritical and instead of drawing people to your beliefs only push them further away. There’s no perfect Christian out there. We all have weaknesses that sometimes need a lot of praying about.

Like it or not, as an adult, you are going to interact with people of all kinds of religious beliefs be it at the workplace or at the social scene. I know there’s that argument of being a lukewarm believer which goes further to state that you have to completely lean on either side and not be in the middle. But if subscribing to that school of thought only makes me constantly rub people the wrong way, I tend to steer clear from it.

I have absolutely nothing against religion. It is what defines us as human beings. It is a way of life. But you cannot force your religious beliefs down the throat of a non-believer who has no intention whatsoever to subscribe to your beliefs. That is where you draw the line and choose to stick to your boundaries without seeming offensive to the other person. However, many of us choose to rattle others on a daily basis on religious lines.

Is it worth it?

 

 

The Complexities Of Nude Selfies/Pics

Disclaimer: Any nude photos used in this post are only for illustration purposes with no intention of corrupting the mind of the reader.

The first woman to appear nude in a Hollywood film was Audrey Munson in 1915. The film Inspiration wasn’t anywhere close to being classified as a porn flick but rather, Munson played a Sculptor’s model and is therefore seen completely naked in a couple of scenes.

Audrey Munson. Photo Courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com

Audrey Munson. Photo Courtesy of http://www.huffingtonpost.com

The feisty Marylyn Monroe would set her own record in 1947 with the first nude sitting after she got hired by Earl Moran, a calender and magazine Illustrator as a model.

Fast forward to today and nude photography and selfies are beginning to transform into a normal occurrence for quite a number of urbanites. Save for a few instances, where the subject suffered severe backlash and embarrassment after some nudies leaked online, a couple of celebrities seem to benefit greatly, from having their naked pics splashed all over the internet.

Closer home, a Ugandan TV personality was fired by her employer after naked selfies of her surfaced on the Internet early the previous year. Further afield but still in Africa, BBA(Big Brother Africa) 2011 winner, Karen Igho equally had nude photos of her splashed all over the Internet around the same time she was in the BBA house.

The photos were attributed to her modelling days and did not seem to cause her much damage as she went on to win the competition. In Kenya, a female musician suffered enough backlash and quite some huge embarrassment after nude photos of her were maliciously leaked on the internet some years back.

Socialite Kim Kardashian seems to be raking in enough benefits from her nude selfies. And especially with the one below which had her trending worldwide.

The taking of nude selfies and photographs has been associated with Art and creativity in some quarters. In these same quarters, it is believed that a woman who agrees to pose nude or takes her own nude picture is indeed very comfortable in her skin.

She appreciates her whole being and embraces her flaws as part of what makes up her femininity. She is not at all scared by her vulnerability in that state. And as long as the parts considered private are covered up or cleverly concealed, then there is absolutely nothing off putting with the picture.

The picture can actually be used to pass a message! And a very strong feminism related one at that. Quite admirable, you might be tempted to conclude since many women are highly conscious of their nakedness. But here is one who is acting as an example to all, that being naked is actually nothing to fear, flaws and all. Never mind that some naked silhouettes are actually edited to give that picture of a perfect naked female body.

In other quarters bordering on the conservative and religious, nude photographs and selfies are an abomination. A rebellion against the religious or societal view to cover up one’s body for decency and to protect what is considered sacred.

A woman who is willing to bare her flesh in such societies suffers castigation, violence even and labeling. She is considered a woman who deserves no respect since she does not see the need to accord herself any in the first place. A non-marriageable material.

However, some of the women in liberal societies who have no qualms baring all are actually married women with husbands who seem to endorse their wives’ decisions to be in the nude for the public. It is therefore very interesting to witness people who have no relation whatsoever, to such women pointing accusatory fingers at them for being in the nude.

A billboard in my country sometime around 2013 caused so much uproar after one of our then celebrated, female radio personalities seemed to appear nude in the Vaseline advert. Compared to the kind of uncensored naked pics and selfies which increasingly make their way to the Internet in recent times, the picture had been taken professionally, with the woman in a sitting position with only her arms, legs and shoulders bare.

Whether the intention of the advert was in good faith or not, many Kenyans complained bitterly about it. Many thought it was a corruption of our morality and there were several debates going back and forth about the said billboard. The radio personality herself handled it graciously and this worked perfectly for her, since the moral judges gave up on pointing fingers eventually.

The main intention behind many nude photographs is for professional purposes. However, this has always seemed to rub some (and sometimes many) people the wrong way. We have our young children who are growing up and if we constantly expose them to nude photography, then what kind of generation are we risking to raise? Many have reasoned.

I’m personally very sensitive to nude photographs. I see no value behind a woman posing naked and posting it online or have it spread on a magazine. I would prefer a stone sculptor of a naked woman over a real life naked woman anytime.

Indeed my sensitivity is so deep, that I recently thought a carving of a head of a Maasai woman with her breasts bare, wasn’t appropriate to put on an office desk and settled on another carving that was less revealing. I had been sent on an errand by a close friend to get a gift.

My views aside. I respect a woman’s decision to bare it all if she finds it perfectly comfortable as I consider her an adult in her normal functioning capacities. However, I wonder what would have initially pushed her to that level, where she feels that the only way to prove her confidence is to strip naked? Couldn’t there have been a much better, different way to prove this other than a naked body?

What do you think?

 

Of Body Art And Beauty Politics

What crosses your mind when you see a heavily tattooed woman?

genevieveng.com

genevieveng.com

Well, I kinda was confronted by that question a couple of hours back. I walked into a shop and one of the shop attendants was a woman, with lots of tattoos on her arms as well as a large flower detailed one on her lower back. You might wonder how I was able to make out that she had a tattoo on her lower back. Well, this particular woman who is every inch African, was wearing a daring cut out blouse that was literally open at the back so you could get an ample peek of her bra as well as the tattoo.

I emphasize on the word African because the tattoo craze has only caught up in Kenya a couple of years ago. Back in 2003, you could walk up and down a street all day long and not spot a single soul with a tattooed arm or neck or whatever. For those who are African and have been born and brought up in Africa like me, they probably know how much religious Africans are. We tend to attach every little detail of life to what religion states and since the Bible forbids one from putting permanent markings on their skin, tattoos are still being frowned upon by many of the older and younger generation alike.

Most people of the above reasoning tend to associate the putting of tattoos on one’s body with being devilish. However, for quite a large number of people from this generation, tattoos just like ear piercings are a form of body art. A way to express oneself. Well, if being tattooed wasn’t entirely a painful process, perhaps I would be having one teeny tiny one myself. I’m not so big on several tattoos on one’s body but I must admit that I have previously (and in the recent past) yearned to have one small one. If I was the very daring type, perhaps 3 small ones in different locations. However, it’s not something that I’ve finally concluded to do. Fleeting thoughts if I choose to look at it from that angle.

Some religious denominations equally discourage body piercings in addition to tattoos. There are members of certain denominations who would not dare wear earrings or any jewellery. All these things are usually attributed to some demonic origin thus the shunning. Well, Christians tend to be divided in the aforementioned reasoning. I personally have had my piercings from a very young age and I now consider them a part of me. The first pair of ear piercings I got at 6 years of age and the second pair at 10. I sleep in my studs, shower in them and only part with them when I want to change earrings into something more fancier.

I tend to believe that the Israelites too donned a lot of jewellery. When Moses in the Bible went up to the mountain and these people who seemed to possess such little faith, decided to remove all of their jewellery and make a golden calf to worship, that must have been a ton of jewellery. As a kid, we once visited the Gede ruins in the Coastal region of my country on a school trip and one of the photos I saw and remember, in the mini museum at the historical site, has this Arabic woman wearing so much jewellery including a quite heavy looking nose ring. I had never known people adorned their noses with other things other than studs before and therefore, remained quite puzzled for a while, long after the school trip was over.

Africans too have been known to fancy tribal markings. This is more like the tattoo version of Africa. Surprisingly, the idea behind some of these tribal markings was to enhance the beauty of a woman. I have witnessed Sudanese citizens currently residing in Kenya with wavy tribal markings on their foreheads that are permanent, men and women alike. I once mentioned that to a friend and with a puzzled look on his face, he stated that he had never noticed these kinds of markings on our Kenyan-Sudanese counterparts. I reminded him to pay close attention next time and he will surely spot this.

It might come as a surprise to many Kenyans of the latter day generation that some communities too in our country had tribal marks. However, you can hardly spot any Kenyan nowadays with tribal markings since these are practices that have been completely phased out over time. Save for the Maasais, Turkanas and Samburus who still elongate their earlobes, it is quite rare to encounter a Kenyan with tribal markings across the face or body. So we can confidently state that human beings have always possessed this fixation with body art for eons. That doesn’t mean that those actively pursuing the culturally motivated ones are primitive or in need of serious enlightenment.

On the tattooed woman I met today, well, I personally still get a little surprised seeing all those tattoos on someone. I’m not one to impose what I believe on another. I’m also very aware that there are a lot of stereotypes attached to people who decide to get tattoos. We may be tempted to brand them as misfits, ungodly or rebels. Perhaps people who have no intention whatsoever of ever being employed in a sober organization. Being a third world, Africans tend to place a lot of emphasis on education for a better life. We are guilty of overlooking the Arts or someone’s creativity in making a living. That’s what the missionaries drummed into our heads. Education is the ticket to success.

Well, it might come as a surprise to many that there are people out there who have no intention whatsoever of ever getting white collar jobs. Who do not care whether a tattoo is on their face, wrists or wherever. That is simply their choice. We also vary greatly in our choices of body art and while I will always prefer ear piercings over large tattoos someone of another thought may view tattoos as the way to go. Such is the diversity of different personalities.

So what crosses your mind when you see tattoos on anyone?

 

 

 

African Men And Polygamy

Are African men naturally polygamous?

I got thinking about this after a story surfaced on the internet sometime last week concerning the African country of Eritrea. It was alleged by an unknown source, that the Eritrean government had passed a law requiring all men to take up two wives or a second wife or face life imprisonment. The story has since been proven to be a hoax according to http://www.tesfanews.net/eritrea-forced-polygamy-story-exposed/ 

Knowing how creative and hilarious Kenyans can get, the news immediately sparked a horde of memes mainly communicating the glee and anticipation that the story had caused in Kenyan men. Almost like they all couldn’t wait to get a go ahead to woo and marry Eritrean women considered very pretty together with their Ethiopian counterparts in the African continent. The author of the above post on the link provided, has quite some harsh words to say with regards to the reaction, the supposed hoax of a story caused.

I’m not basing my post only on Kenyan men but on African men in general. For generations, most African men have been painted to be polygamous by nature. The practice of polygamy is so deeply ingrained in some African countries that their own leaders have no qualms, getting several wives and being actually proud of it. After all, it is considered normal for an African man to prove his manliness by not sticking to one wife.

African women on the other hand are expected to go along with the flow and accommodate the additional wives. They should consider it healthy competition and accept that their men’s needs have to be met. They should actually keep up with the timetable if there happens to be one, dictating what days of the week or month the husband will visit particular homes of his many wives.

After the introduction of Christianity in my country, many Kenyan men felt embarrassed to openly exhibit their polygamous sides and therefore opted to keep concubines. For some whom the polygamous bug had bitten them to the point of no return, one woman could have been wedded in church thus paraded as the legitimate wife while the other could have been wedded traditionally.

Of course once the secret leaked that this man had more than one wife other than the one people were used to seeing, the man would indeed be at horrible pains to explain his situation and especially, if he had a position of some sort in the church. No wonder the need for our own president to sign a bill into law permitting men to marry additional wives even if the first wife does not approve of it in 2014. I have a feeling that the African patriarchal way of thinking regarding polygamy pushed the president to do this.

With the emergence of the HIV/AIDS virus at some point in time, a couple of polygamous homes suffered gravely. Many homes too, where the husband kept a concubine or side chick were not spared either from the spread of the deadly virus. Suddenly, polygamy did not seem all that fashionable if people in marriages got infected with HIV and had to suffer the consequences of living with the virus. But still, a huge section of African men felt that they could not survive with only one woman.

Is this really true? Could this be a myth that over time turned into a fact for some?

Polygamy in my view, is another form of cheating in a marriage that is only coated with terms of culture, tradition or male nature. In these times where the economy is never that favorable, you cannot quite convince me that a polygamous man will give his extensive family the very best of his abilities. As per my understanding, one cannot serve two masters.

Many Africans for the polygamy idea may argue that most men who take up additional wives are in fact capable of providing for the whole brood of children as well as the wives. After all, polygamy is yet another sign of wealth in Africa. However, a man with over 12 children from different women may find it difficult to give all of his children and wives his undivided attention, education and livelihood of a similar standard. Of course there is the school of thought that the women should understand the situation and live with it.

But could it be the reason why many co-wives suffer bitter rivalry among themselves all through their lives? There is no one woman who is similar to another and in such a situation, the man may tend to favor one woman over all the others. It is human nature to develop preferences over some things of a similar nature. Jealousy is bound to arise as well as unhealthy competition. It may be hidden in some situations but deep down, it will always exist only to further hamper the success of the whole family. You may even encounter children of a particular wife being more learned than children of the other wives or vice versa.

A section of people advocating for polygamy look at it from the Biblical point of view. Indeed some notable men in the Old Testament of the Bible had more than one wife and God endorsed it. Why is it now considered a taboo in some circles to be polygamous? It should be noted that in Biblical times, population was not as dense as it is in modern ages. Perhaps it was God’s way of fulfilling his multiply and fill the earth law if we choose to look at it that way. It should be remembered too that Jesus Christ in the New Testament came to amend many of the laws that had existed in previous times.

Patriarchal societies have however seemed to twist the whole idea to suit their patriarchal needs over time. African women are now expected to put up with this culturally endorsed form of cheating by turning a blind eye to their men’s philandering ways or welcoming a new wife in the house. Quite recently, there was a story of a Kenyan woman whose own adopted daughter ended up stealing her husband and her husband blaming her for it.

It is despicable really that many choose to justify their lustful transgressions by riding on the wave of polygamy being a male nature. However, polyandry should be frowned upon and such a woman stoned to death if possible. If African women should have no qualms whatsoever sharing their husbands, shouldn’t the African men too have no qualms sharing their wives?

Issues of polygamy in African societies can transform into a raging debate of sorts. I however firmly believe that polygamy is based on personal choice and not biology as many would like us to believe.

 

 

 

Would You Take Up Your Husband’s Name?

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I belong to a highly interesting Whatsapp Group. Perhaps I should give you guys a brief history of the members of this group and why I find it that entertaining.

Well, all the members are people we schooled together in the same year in primary school. Most of the members are people I’ve shared a class with from age 6 all the way to 13. A couple of the members are people I’ve shared a class with from age 6 to 17 which is primary school and high school included. Plus we are at that stage in our lives where some of us are settled down with kids, others are in the wedding planning process and others are kind of starting to feel the heat, to find that someone and make a family.

Quite recently, we had quite a charged debate on the group on whether women should take up their husband’s names after marriage. Of course the opinions were varied with some stating that they would retain their maiden names, while others thought it best to take up the hubby’s name. I lay on the latter form of reasoning.

Marriage to me has always been some sort of fascination. I especially love how other cultures conduct their weddings. I love how the Hindu brides dress up for their big day. The intricate henna designs and the jewellery. Makes any woman anticipate marriage! I admire the Muslim Nikka and all the celebration that goes with it. I will always want to watch a program that is wedding themed. Indeed, the reader can already judge that weddings are a key factor in my fascination with marriages.

Over the years, I have kind of settled on the idea that an official marriage would be good for me in future. I would not fancy a “come-we-stay” arrangement as we refer to them in my country where we live under one roof as partners. That doesn’t mean that I frown upon people who haven’t made their marriages official. I’m of the idea that whatever floats your boat with regards to whom you want to spend the rest of your life with, then by all means, go for it!

However, I find an official marriage in my case to be some sort of a sense of security. I would yearn to make it official whether it will last only 2 years or a lifetime. Quite a number of people from the opposite sex may argue that weddings are an unnecessary expenditure. A tiresome chore for the man. Others of both sexes may conclude that if a marriage made official does not work, then divorce court proceedings will definitely be an otherwise, avoidable cause for sleepless nights. I tend to hear the reasoning “tujaribu” (we try) from some people when they talk of settling in marriage.

I personally would not want to “kujaribu”. I would want to make it work. I would want to go to a church and take my wedding vows from there because I believe in seeking God’s blessings in a marriage and where else, if not in his house! I know it’s probably very easy for me to talk about making it work when marriage for me is not even in the cards yet. I equally know that this whole union needs a lot of tolerance and may not always be “a happy ever after” affair. Heck, I’ve seen enough marriages break all around me to further confirm my fears that it’s quite rocky in that world. However, it wouldn’t hurt if I still did my best to make it work and that is just per my reasoning.

So yes, if my husband-to-be is willing to go through all the steps to be officially hitched to me, I will definitely take up his name. It wouldn’t be something I would think twice of doing. If I’m in love with him and willing to spend the rest of my life with him, then I believe we are one unit and we can’t successfully achieve that one unit, if we are using different names. I would want to show my children the importance of having a family name. I can’t quite say that worked well for my parents but my mother ensured we used our father’s name. It didn’t matter to her that they were no longer together, she still insisted that the name should appear in our school certificates and national IDs.

Personally, I wouldn’t feel less of a woman for using my husband’s name. As a matter of fact, I will have a sense of pride for being accorded a Mrs. So and So status. It would only serve to remind me of the commitment I made to that special someone. I have witnessed many professional women still retain their maiden names then add a hyphen and their husband’s name at the end. That didn’t make them less professional per se. It didn’t make them lose their brand. It only proved that they have moved from one stage into another.

I view marriage as a transition. Of course with all the adjustments you have to make in your life once you get married, it is only befitting to accord it that status. A name change to me simply signifies the whole transitioning process.

So, would you take up your husband’s name?

 

 

Monsterhood Seems To Be Replacing Motherhood.

Quite recently, I was walking with a friend on a busy street and suddenly, a woman passed by. There was nothing extra ordinary about the woman. However, a few meters behind her was a small child, around 3 or 4 years of age whom I believe, was her child.

I remember reacting immediately with shock at the sight of a mother leaving such a small child to follow her behind, on a busy street teeming with humanity, vehicles, tuktuks and motorcycles, all the while seeming oblivious to the danger that posed to her child.

What if some reckless driver or rider hit the child? What if the child lost sight of her mother and got lost? My friend, who obviously has since gotten used to such scenarios of careless mothers, assured me that this was not an isolated case. So I let it slip. But not for long as I’m still recounting this tale, several days later, to you my readers.

I mean, even elephants take better care of their offspring!! They do not leave them behind to be attacked and mauled by predators while the elephant mothers stroll breezily ahead.

fineartamerica.com

fineartamerica.com

I am reminded of how my own mother raised me back then when I was still a small child. If we were walking in town, she would always say, “Pita mbele yangu ndio nikuone, ukikaa huko nyuma sitakuona” (go ahead of me where I can see you, if you lag behind, I can’t see you). She was a fast walker and I always seemed to be dragging my feet and complaining quickly of fatigue.

One day I did not heed her instructions. We were heading somewhere and with her fast walking nature, as soon as she turned the corner, I lost sight of her. As absurd and hilarious as it may seem, I got lost. I simply could not tell where my mum had disappeared to down the corner. For some minutes, I walked back and forth, obviously in the wrong direction, trying to figure out where she had gone to.

Eventually, almost on the verge of tears, I gave up and ended up standing by the street with some male strangers, who seemed genuinely concerned I was lost. My mother must have realized that I was nowhere to be found because in less than an hour, she was back on the same street and found me standing with the good Samaritans.

If she had initially been worried sick by my brief disappearance, she did a very good job not to show it by instead laughing it off. Then warning me afterward sternly to always walk ahead of her. I had learnt my lesson so now I knew better not to lag behind.

This particular memory came flooding back to me the minute I saw that woman breezily walking ahead while her small daughter followed behind. I’m not a mother yet but I already have full knowledge that a mother needs to be careful.

In one of the recent issues of The Nairobian, there is an article of a woman being arraigned in court for sexually abusing her own daughter. Apparently, her daughter’s crime was going out unattended to borrow a book. And this insane woman decided to insert her fingers into her daughter’s private parts, injuring her in the process, as punishment for such a petty issue.

Well, we can dismiss her as a deranged bar maid for that is her profession but I beg to differ. I have full knowledge that even mothers engaging in prostitution would not let their daughters enter the same profession. It is ingrained in mothers to always want better and the best for their children.

So if this so called disgrace to feminism, wanted to prove a point to her daughter, that there are sex pests out there who can do just the same to her if she goes out unattended, I think she ended up missing the whole point and acting like a child molester herself.

As per my knowledge, motherhood is a choice.

It does not matter whether it was a one night of drunken passion that got you pregnant, if the father chose to stay in his child’s life or not or if you are struggling to raise those children and barely making it. The minute you made a conscious decision to keep the pregnancy and not to abort it, then it automatically became a lifetime choice. A choice that needs to be embraced whole heartedly.

Therefore mothers who take out their frustrations in life on their children are actually hardened monsters who have failed dismally at parenting. Remember, a child does not choose to be born. A child is totally innocent irregardless of whether the parents concerned are getting along or not.

As much as religion clearly states that children should be disciplined, there also happens to be a limit to the kind of discipline that parents met out on their children. Nowhere in the Holy Books has been written “thou shall douse thy child in paraffin and burn him or her alive for stealing or for disobedience.”

Instead there are instructions as to how a parent shall bring up a child.

If there is a mother out there concluding that her own children are her source of misery, then she probably has an underlying psychological problem that needs medical or spiritual intervention. Mothers are supposed to love, nurture, support and guide their children.

It is the reason why God gave us the necessary threshold for pain while bringing forth life. He knew that despite the intensity of labor pains, we would still have that ability to unconditionally love our children. For a woman to give birth to a baby only to later damage that child, shows that a section of mothers got confused along the way.

They forgot about their responsibilities or were simply looking for scapegoats to blame for their denial to be responsible. If we truly want to be good examples of feminism, then we better start with how we parent our own children as mothers.

Motherhood is not an unpleasant chore – Borrowed Quote

Why Extreme Religion and Cults target Women

Many people in my country might remember a particular feature on a certain TV station where a false pastor who had been fleecing his followers got exposed. In one of the scenes, a woman is seen being urged by the said pastor to expose her breast to the whole church in order to receive prayers for healing. The poor woman had complained of constant aches in her breast, a condition which i would like to assume had she had enough finances, would have taken her to the doctor’s. But she was obviously desperate and in her desperation, she found herself in this particular church, requesting for prayers for healing. And you can actually hear the said pastor snickering at her as she turns to show him her breast in private. Only to order her to turn around and face the church as according to him, nobody can’t claim to not have seen a woman’s breast before. She could have been somebody’s wife and mother, mind you.

In another incident, some women belonging to a certain church in one of the African countries i shall not mention, are seen eating grass after orders from their pastor. I didn’t spot any man in their midst but only women who somehow seemed possessed by something, scrambling out of the church to the grounds outside where there was an abundance of green grass. And even after criticism from other people not of the said church who were appalled by that clip of people feeding on grass, the women claimed to have received healing afterward. There were other claims of yet another church in my country, where the women were asked to attend service without underwear so as to allow the Holy Spirit to travel freely in their bodies. Others in another country away from our continent, were supposedly tricked by their pastor into giving him oral sex as he claimed that his semen was `holy milk’.

And you might wonder why mainly women are targeted by denominations practicing extreme religion as well as cults. Before you start pointing accusatory fingers at me for touching on a sensitive subject, let me first clearly state that i am a Christian. And that i have happened to be a witness before, of how extreme religion can be used to twist the mind of an individual and especially a woman for that matter.

Women are emotional creatures. This is particularly helpful especially in our Christian lives. We get easily touched by God’s word and mostly if we feel like it is speaking directly to us. We yearn for a closer relationship with God and would like to connect with him through prayer and our spiritual walk in life. Cultists know this. Same to those out to brainwash others with their often misinterpreted, extreme, religious beliefs. Most men avoid being in tune with their emotions. As a matter of fact, they consider it unmanly to be highly emotional and as much as some may be born again Christians, it would not be very easy for someone to use their emotions to manipulate or control them with religion. Being mostly out of tune with their emotions make men to be practical thinkers. Before a man decides to run out and eat grass at the orders of his pastor, he would want to know why the said pastor is not setting an example first by being at the forefront of the grass eating stint. But for women, with their emotional desire to connect with God, they will gladly follow the orders and especially if they have already been manipulated enough to believe that by doing so they are getting a spiritual healing of sorts.

thecryingwoman.com

thecryingwoman.com

Society can be extremely harsh on women and especially if these women live in a patriarchal, chauvinistic society where the men rule. Women may be going through a lot in their personal lives in such societies. Perhaps a violent husband or a husband who is irresponsible or who left her for another woman and hardly provides. In laws who do not want to see her and almost all their waking hours are spent trying to get this particular woman to divorce with her husband. Perhaps a child born out of wedlock where the woman has to endure constant castigation. Homelessness and abject poverty. A previous rape incident where the woman isn’t allowed to talk about it at all and therefore has to live with the emotional scars as a result. These things equally happen in non-partriachal and less chauvinistic societies. And they are known to cause desperation in an individual. Cults many times welcome such women with emotional issues into their fold with an initial promise of acceptance and understanding. And being as vulnerable as she already is, she ends up unknowingly ensnared. In other situations, women suffering emotional issues may embrace extreme religion in a bid to overcome and forget about whatever their issues are. She may claim to be born again but not really sure what the word being `born again’ actually means except the fact that being overly preoccupied with religion makes her forget her problems.

Women are known to associate with authoritative figures. She wants to look up to someone. And that is why there is a particular reason why God designed a family to have a father so that he can be the head of that family and exercise his authority in that position positively, for the benefit of his family. Some men are known to misuse that authority by using it excessively and negatively therefore impacting their families in the wrong way. Others are known to neglect that responsibility as an authoritative figure. Many grown women are walking around battling daddy issues no wonder these cult leaders require their followers to call them `daddy’. And the women followers gladly do so because there is a fatherly void in their lives. The extreme religious leader or cult leader carries himself with the grace of a father and therefore she has no qualms addressing him as such. And everyone knows that a `daddy’ deserves his respect and obedience from his children. It is much easier that way for him to exert his control and manipulation over them in a cult or extreme religion situation.

Terminal illnesses. A wonderful bait for cultists and false preachers. These people know that it is never easy for a person to live with an unspoken `death sentence’ upon their lives and they use it to their maximum advantage with promises of healing. Many women have been misled to the point of death by being asked to stop their medication since they are now healed. The sad fact is that even men have fallen victim. God heals but there seems to be a misplaced notion amongst some people that even men purporting to be called by God can also heal. Yes, there are indeed those with a gift of healing from God and this is where we all need to have a discerning spirit to be sure whether the gift is really from God or a sick gimmick to garner followers.

 

Someone questioned why it only seems to be women being possessed by demons and rolling on the ground violently in church as the demons are being exorcised. Women are vulnerable and emotional. They get affected deeply by problems. Some end up in witchdoctors’ dens and dabbling in witchcraft as a result of it where the demons come in. They get even more afflicted and end up at times in wrong churches where the demons are exorcised in return for complete loyalty to the denomination leader. As a woman, i wish we joined churches out of a need of spiritual nourishment and not because we are desperately looking for something or are at our most vulnerable. I guess only then will our thinking be more practical. I believe in prayer and i believe that also an individual’s prayer works and therefore we need to trust in our praying skills and God to answer them at times.