FINELIVING

WHY IS THE FASHION INDUSTRY SUCH AN ELITIST CIRCLE?

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Ever been interested in the fashion industry as much as I am? Perhaps the glitz and glamour of the Lagos Fashion Week fascinate you too! And of course there are the models, [mostly] skinny and beautiful; gracefully-composed/poised as they walk the runways. Such sophistication! Yet, we must all agree that mainstream fashion represent the perfect example of what everybody longs for but can hardly get to have. Why is that?

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Across the world, the fashion industry is such a closely-knit, exclusively-wealthy and obviously elitist circle. Those beautiful clothes and accessories are reserved for those who are rich enough to afford them.  Indeed, no hungry human can afford to buy a Lanre Da Silva dress or a Zizi Cardow dress. It is almost as if there is a pact between the superrich and the fashion industry experts to make it an all wealth affair, dedicated solely to those who are moneyed and classy.  Perhaps by deliberately making fashion elitist, those involved justify Hadley Freeman’s opinion that “fashion that is not elite is just clothing”.

“Rampant elitism is the cornerstone of fashion’s foundation garments. It’s like… I wear Alexander McQueen, therefore I am part of a select group that can afford it. Fashion has such a sense of self-importance it comes with a dry-clean-only label as standard…”

So why exactly is fashion so elitist? Well the fact that it can be F***ing  expensive forms the basis. Big fashion brands anywhere in the world are quite the luxury items and only those with real disposable income can afford them! Consequently, the price tag automatically excludes a wide range of any given population. They can only be the spectators, looking from outside the circle and never able to have an insider’s feel.  Such is the way of fashion.

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But the belief that fashion must be elitist to thrive comes with very many negative implications. And this can be blamed on the “matriarchs” of the industry. These are the fashion designers themselves, the Creative Directors and the Brand Ambassadors whom can be summarily grouped as “Complete bitches”. These set of humans [perhaps not all] are totally obnoxious in their ways. They feel they alone can dictate everything there is to know about fashion. More so, because they earn quite the money by selling to their select clientele, they inevitably feel like they are the richest and most sophisticated people. They have the highest expectations of newbies, including their demands that models be skinny and extremely beautiful. These recruitment yardsticks are set despite the fact that those who set them more often fail to meet the “standards” themselves.   And then there is the unfortunate aspect of the entire situation- the fact that the “matriarch’s” obnoxiousness overtime [inevitably] robs off on the “recruits” and sadly contributes in further perpetuating this culture of “perfect imperfections”.

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There is a lot on my mind on this topic and I daresay most of them aren’t patronizing. So I will just cut it short by saying that the fashion industry is such an important sector of our economy and society. And in order to ensure its longevity and continued success, it’s imperative that the prevalent culture of classism and “bitchcraftery” be done away with; please!

Written by Emmanuel Abara Benson

LESSON ON GRATITUDE

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A blast of cold air to my face… That’s the last thing I remember as I  walked into the banking hall before everything went blank. The next thing I knew was waking up in a crowded hospital Ward two days later with a bandage on my neck which hurt. I had narrowly escaped death after a bullet hit my neck during what was a major bank robbery!

That day had begun like any normal day, and feeling overjoyed  by the salary I had received the previous day I went to the bank (on my way to work) to carry out  a quick transaction. Little did I imagine I would be walking into a dangerous situation; so bad to the extent  that I almost lost my life. After I recovered from that experience, I  completely changed my perspective on life. And whenever I am asked what I am grateful for, my response is quick and clear- I am grateful for life…

The story above is a fiction by yours truly intended to  buttress this little expose on gratitude. Indeed, there are many number of things we should be grateful for in this life. But with all the sad things happening around us, we often forget to show gratitude for the good things happening as well . Therefore this is a lesson on gratitude and I shall be hinting on the simple and even ridiculous  reasons why we should be grateful at all times.

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I for one am grateful for life/good health, and for the opportunity to be happy in life despite all the bad rubbish that go wrong right around me. I am grateful for love; for the warmth it brings and the romance/pleasure too. For the opportunity to eat hot noodles on a cold rainy night I am grateful. For the morning sun that glows on my skin after a cold harmattan night I am grateful. My gratitude knows no bounds! For the food that nourish my body I am full of thanks. For the water that is life, the air and the trees… For friends that make me laugh out loud and even for the haters that give me quite the Muse! LOL:)  And for the intuition that informs my decisions and the human inkling that keeps me away from harm I am grateful.

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I am grateful! For the moon and the stars, for the sound of music and the rhythm at parties… I am grateful for the ability to know and advance myself in knowledge , for the academic process that empowers me to explore new areas… For the books I have read and for the internet. Oh! how I am grateful for the internet; it is indeed the best thing that has happened to me since the telephone and slice bread! I am grateful for Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter. Oh! my world; how I love to tweet and to read tweets from others. And by the way, Google makes my world go round as I’m sure it does yours. WordPress? Oh! my WordPress

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What are you grateful for? This is one question you should definitely ask yourself and never hesitate to answer!

~Emmanuel Benson

 

A MALE DIARY (PATRIARCHY RUINED MY LIFE)

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Patriarchy ruined my life because I let it!

It first started like a force beyond my control; my mother’s inability to get an education affected her economic/social status in life. This consequently determined a lot about my own life because not only was she ill-prepared to face life (just because she was female), she had been married off to a loser at an early stage. Her younger brother on the other hand got all the education he ever wanted (courtesy of being male), and had gone on to do great things in life. [Un]fortunately for me, my father gave me nothing in life other than life itself. So after he died early, it was as though he never even existed!

I had to work extra hard to position myself on the same pedestal as my uncle’s children. It was a hard thing to do even as I was constantly disgruntled as to why the man was wealthy enough to give his children the best in life while I struggled all by myself. My mother told me severally that the man was a money ritualist; she couldn’t even figure out the cause of the problem! But one thing was clear to me, and that was the fact that she never really got along with her younger brother.

It took me a while [though] to figured out the reason for the disparity in status and economic success of my mother and uncle. Unfortunately this was after I already did let the causative factor ruin my life! You see I was my mother’s only son and as such she adored me just like my sisters did. Like most cultures of the world, my Igbo descent privilege manhood. So I was a treasure, while my sisters were more like tools- for protecting the treasure! I enjoyed the attention and in fact lived for the it. It was my birthright. But unknown to me it would be my nemesis!

I mentioned earlier how I suffered to accomplish everything I achieved in life. But the truth is that my struggle for survival is child’ play compared to what my mother and sisters went through. The funny thing [though] is that they never even realize their predicament they were into as a result of culture. To them it was an honour to make their son/brother/lovers happy. It is an honour to most women to protect the interests of the men in their lives. But unknown to most of them they do this to their own disadvantage. Maybe I shouldn’t blame them much; I mean culture made them so!

Regrettably I never appreciated the sacrifices of the women in my life. What can I say…I was the privileged man in the midst of women. I grew up lacking maturity of mind even though physically I was every inch a man. My privileged, male-chauvinistic ways would later rub off negatively on my relationship with women especially my wife Caroline whom this story is about. She was the only woman who ever truly loved me (my mother aside). Just like my mother and sisters, Caroline also sacrificed a lot of her comforts to be with me and make me happy, including defying her dying father’s wish of having nothing to do with someone of my ilk. When things were hard for me it was Caroline who footed the bills. She even helped me to get a job using her family’s connections, all the while having to deal with my mother and sisters who all rejected her. They disliked every bit of her person. It must have been hard for her- all the difficult times she hard trying to conceive a child. My people would call her names, telling her she was a man in a woman’s anatomy. I never for once defended her, yet she stood by me and loved me nonetheless. She would eventually bear me a son. But I was too privileged to find that satisfying.
Caroline found it difficult bearing more children after the birth of our son. This therefore became a major source of dispute. My mother wanted more grandchildren, five more perhaps seven and preferably all boys. And she had a demand- if Caroline my wife couldn’t make that possible the only option was to get another woman for me. I agreed with this plan mostly to please my mother but mainly because of my insatiable appetite for variety. Sneaking around and cheating on my wife wasn’t enough; I needed a reason to make my cheating official and having more children was it. So I began to cheat openly. The plan was not just to marry any other woman into the family, but to taste the waters (and the grounds) to find the one(s) fertile enough for my purpose- expanding the family. Using this excuse I went ahead to disgrace my wife greatly. I would bring the different women into our home and force her to sleep in the guestroom. But as though nature was punishing me none of those women ever became pregnant for me. Yet Caroline stayed.

As the years passed I got worse. My mother and sisters couldn’t make the situation any worst either. But just as the say- change is the most inevitable thing. I was so surprised when Caroline gradually became a different woman. She began by not caring too much about my feelings as she used to, and then she began cheating on me just as I did on her. Eventually she left me, taking my son. The boy hated the idea of me just as I once hated my father. I would never hear about my son for many years except that he had relocated to Canada with his mother where he studied at a top university and became a successful business executive.

As I write this, I am a middle-aged man with no family and no peace of mind. Patriarchy ruined my life, and I let it…

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~Emmanuel Benson
(Based on an interview with a man who has chosen to be anonymous. Names have been changed to this end…)

DIARY OF A WEIGHT WATCHER

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Earlier this year, I decided to make the best of life and change certain things that weren’t working to my uttermost benefit. Top on the list of my New Year resolution was the desire to shed the excess fat on my body. To get ready for that, I went to the shopping mall to buy healthy foodstuff. Interestingly, I bought cheese, white bread (of assorted kinds), mayonnaise, and many other packaged products. More so, I bought several kilos of chicken, some red-red beef, and other kinds of goodness. You see, it was the New Year after all, meaning that I needed to eat the it into reality; right? Moreover, my people have a saying that the best way to overcome one’s demon is to confront it. But more than that, I told myself that the most important thing towards actualizing my resolution was that I had the motive- to loose the weight of course. It didn’t matter the kind of effort I was making towards that direction; all that mattered was that I knew what I wanted.

Most of the time, it is the same food we use our own money to buy that makes us fat. Photo credited to Google
Most of the time, it is the same food we use our own money to buy that makes us fat.
Photo credited to Google

Some people close to me did perceive this weight-loss method of mine as weird if not outright delusion. I was quick [however] to remind them not to judge me. So I ate my chicken with my rice and stew. I ate my sweet bread every morning for breakfast, ate my cake and ice cream and I generally had a nice few months of year with food. But the truth’s that no matter how I continued to keep my new year resolution in mind, it never materialized. Indeed, it was on my mind, but it certainly wasn’t on my body. In just a few months into the year, I was almost twice the body mass index I was before I made my pretty useless New Year vow. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it, and those around me were minding their businesses enough to tell me. After all, I earlier gave them a good lesson about “not judging…” Consequently, I lived in my little world with my wishes and my fatness. And by the time I realized what was happening to me, it had already taken its toll…

Seriously people, don't flaunt your fat; loose. This message couldn't be anymore blunt and sincere. Photo sourced from Google
Seriously people, don’t flaunt your fat; loose. This message couldn’t be anymore blunt and sincere.
Photo sourced from Google

Now this story, fictitious as it could ever get, tries to drive home several points. For one, our health status is certainly dependent on how lean and lanky we are, or how big and fat as the case may be. There is no doubt about it, medical knowledge (which is the best authority in this regard) has proven beyond doubt that keeping one’s body mass index within a reasonable limit is one of the ways to ensure fine living. Yet for whatever reason, many people intentional give themselves food that predispose their bodies to sicknesses that might eventually kill them. Let me ask- how many people would put a bad engine oil or an adulterated petrol into their newly purchased cars? I suppose nobody has time for that. But why eat just anything all in the name of ‘saving costs’, ‘eating what you want ’cause you can afford it’ or just because you don’t care? Why do people not take care of their bodies?

There are indeed many benefits of  having a fit body. Staying healthy is one of them. But more than that, being sexy, looking sleek and appealing is one other reason. Trust me, in as much as some men supposedly like big and busty women for whatever reason, they would rather just prefer the busty packaging without the extra fats on the stomach. And if you ask women who look like what I just described such as Nicki Minaj does, they will tell you that staying figure eight is a hard work.  In the same vein, looking slim and sexy is appealing to everyone. When you have the right body size, you would wear clothes that fit you and be comfortable in your body. Why then would anyone deny him or herself the thrill of having a healthy body just because you like that bread soaked with butter?

No doubt, Ms. Minaj is bootiful. But that's just one aspect of pretty... #Google
No doubt, Ms. Minaj is bootiful. But that’s just one aspect of pretty…
#Google

It is high-time we realized that our bodies are our priciest possessions. For those of us who are FAT, we must endeavour to shed the excess fat. It is hard thing to do, just like everything else nice that never comes easily. Yet we must strive for it and achieve it. Do not come up with excuses as to why you would rather remain with your body fat than let go of it. And most importantly, do not justify your laziness and procrastination. Get your art together, get some greens, vegetables. lean protein and fruits and then work that body. Work it out and get that priced, healthy body of which you will certainly feel good…

Emmanuel Benson loves to write. He can write on just about any topic asides aspiring to become a screenwriter/novelist. Do leave your comments, thoughts and observations. And kindly follow this blog. Many thanks.