In an era of gengetone music, which primarily utterly objectifies and worships superficial feminine beauty, I cannot help but rethink what beauty means in today’s society. Gengetone music paints an illusionary picture of what a beautiful woman should be like. It deludes young men into making non-reasonable choices for their partners.
My little nephews were singing this song whose absurd lyrics struck me:
Nitiere nyako ma kiwuotho godo, to kata chif owinjo ochwadi… (There is a type of a girl that if you walk with, even the Chief should scold you)
Nitiere nyako ma kinindo godo, to kata par owinjo otamre….(There is a type of a girl that if you sleep with, even the bed should say no).
Our society today is flooded with a lot of nonsensical songs, such as this one, which are not only morally detrimental, but are also despicable and are a sham to society. They please us, and that’s enough. We leave the scrutiny of the lyrics to CAK and ‘self-righteous’ Kenyans who pretend to be mature, learned, and reasonable. No doubts.
When I heard these lyrics come from my 4- and 6-year-old nephews, I was intrigued and amazed. I asked them why the chief should scold you for walking with that type of a girl. No doubt, they only reiterated what their innocent minds had gathered from the morally polluted environment.
Well, to be honest, I don’t really know why the chief should scold someone for walking with some type of a girl. I don’t know the rationale or the intent behind these lyrics. I assume the singer feels some girls are just too ugly to afford or deserve the company of a man. My question is, where do we draw the line?
How does our society define feminine beauty? Curvy body? Tiny waist? Pretty face? Light-skin? Flat tummy? Certainly. The result? A lot of our daughters and sisters have fallen into depression and attempted life-threatening hacks to get into the fold of those societally accepted as ‘beautiful’.
Lupita Nyong’o is often regarded the most beautiful woman in the world because of how she meekly accepted her insufficiencies and embraced herself despite her typical ‘color of Ramogi’ skin tone. Lupita is an embodiment of true beauty even though she might not have the features prescribed in today’s gengetone music.
The true African beauty that Margaret Ogolla. Grace Ogot, and Marjorie Oludhe spoke of in their literary works was not about a curvy body, tiny waist, pretty face, light-skin, or flat tummy. And I’m not saying they have the ultimate definition of beauty, no one does.
It’s no secret, no one created themselves. It does no good to anyone to tell them they’re not beautiful just because of how they look. Truth is, some people accept themselves, and some don’t. But the real task is to accept others. To acknowledge that everyone is beautiful in their own way even if that beauty may not be visible to us.
Beyond the stereotypes of inner beauty and the old philosophical phrase of ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,’ we must learn to see beyond looks. We must learn to look for feminine beauty in the persons women present and not in the objects they portray.
by Vincent Owino