We are in the era of conversations and opinion sharing. Social media makes us all audacious, gives everyone a voice and opens a window of endless opportunities to be more. We are living in extraordinary times, though mentally draining, I am glad to be part of this generation. Every day on social media, people are interacting, communicating, advocating, wanting to be heard and seen – Seeking attention. Attention is now one of the most important resources that we have, the new currency and that’s why everybody is fighting for attention. Also daily, there is a viral conversation hence ‘trending’. People create activities on a daily basis on the web, whether it gets the attention of hundreds, thousands or millions of users depends on a lot of factors including defying all known factors. Social media gives us the power to connect. How we choose to use this power depends on us.
Social media (SM) challenges
Social media challenge is basically internet users recording themselves doing something and sharing. It inspires people to have fun, connect and try new things. Also, lifestyle bloggers have started and executed some SM challenges which involves writing and sharing fun/useful information on their blogs. From the Cinnamon challenge on YouTube from 2013, to Planking challenging on Facebook in the same year, to the viral 2014 Ice bucket challenge, Mannequin challenge in 2016 and Bussit Challenge in 2021, the audaciousness boldens. Social media challenges are started for various reasons – Fun, Marketing, Advocacy, Donations, etc. Social media challenge virality has gained extra momentum with the advent of platforms like TikTok & Triller. This speaks to reduction in the average human attention span.
Lifestyle Shift & Gender Equality
As these challenges become more audacious, revealing, sexual and fun, many fight back. These fight backs are usually fueled by different leanings – Morals, Orientation, Background, Religion, Outright misogyny & Radicality in the guise of feminism. We have opinions, we share them. We think something isn’t right, we make our displeasure known, because we can – we ‘ve got platforms – our voices must be heard. In using this voice we sometimes forget ourselves as we begin to exhibit what we preach against – stifling others. In Nigeria, an outpour of disgust was imminent. Someone tweeted something around women objectifying themselves and I wonder when and how expressing sexuality became objectification.
Humans love to pick and choose while exhibiting a high level of hypocrisy. Nigerians and Africans are indeed disgusted by nudity on social media, forgetting where they come from and who they used to be. Ignoring the fact that there are still places in Africa where nudity doesn’t need to be referred to as nudity because it is a way of life. We still have festivals in Africa where Ladies dance naked as tradition demands. We pick and choose when westernization should be washed down with a bottle of palm wine and when we spit it out like bad Kolanut.
What a person’s nudity does to you has more to do with you as a person. This does not mean I advocate we walk around completely naked. I mean I like the idea of clothes and I am in no way hoping that we go back to where we are coming from. But before we utterly condemn a way of life, we must pause and reflect while lacing our utterances with love.
If you must join progressive conversations as we tailor our lives for better, men must understand that women do not exist solely for their pleasure as they do for women. Men took part in the silhouette challenge and I must say that seeing dangling penis in red light was not a fun sight for me but I won’t go around chastising those men for not upholding moral standards. Men expressing their sexuality in the same challenge while bashing women for not exhibiting the attributes of a wife, mother and ‘Nation building’ is outright misogynistic and irrelevant to questioning a woman’s capacity. She can be sexual and a boss.
My reservation with Christians in this part of the world is how they see everything as a battle. I wonder how extreme their actions and reactions will be if guns are made readily available to them. Nigerian Christians are ready and willing to fight for the Lord when clearly, the bible says – The battle is the Lord’s. In the wake of silhouette challenge and proving a point, many ‘gatekeepers’ of Christianity in Nigeria social media space expressed their displeasure for the challenge and how the devil has begun winning more souls. It didn’t end there, they needed to prove a point – enters Scriptural challenge. It was nice to see that trend, so what is my problem? Christianity is a Lifestyle. Living has to be done with intentionality and I dare add – audaciously. Why did it take a challenge like silhouette for a Christian to be moved enough to start one? This reminds me of Nathaniel Bassey’s Prayer challenge in 2017 – Hallelujah Challenge. It felt more Christ Like to me because he was living, harnessing his relationship with God, being intentional and not trying to outshine the ‘devil’ or react to a group of people living their life the way they have chosen.
By population, the world largest religion is Christianity, however there are over 10 other major religions including Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. And guess what, we all think that our way of life is the right way. The entitlement to domination aggressively displayed by Christians should become a discussion for leaders in the religion. There are over 7billion people in the world, estimated to cross 8billion by year 2025. Christians account for about 31% of 7billion. Doing the math might give you a different perspective of how you see the world. For me, Love is the goal and if your religion preaches love and acceptance, then that’s a religion I want to be part of.
So do you genuinely think some users who participated in the silhouette challenge aren’t Christians? And do you think the users who joined Scriptural Challenge are not Silhouette candidates by any standard? I mean we have the likes of Big Brother Naija Tacha and Nengi joining the scriptural challenge after having bussed it and silhouetted us away on live television.
Point is, it wasn’t about Christianity to start with.
Choices have consequences – Be ready
Many have questioned the true intentions of Ladies who have cheered other ladies on as they participate in the silhouette challenge while themselves reserve their nudity for the eyes they choose to show it to. Some were worried about the privacy of these ladies nakedness. As much as I understand the worry and intention behind it, I laughed. Because as much as I am all up for doing what you choose, I tell you that proper evaluation of the consequences of actions for today and tomorrow must be deployed by any adult male or female who chooses to engage in any form of challenge. We must be reminded that what we post online is forever. Some used to bask in the euphoria of the ‘delete’ button, but I tell you that as the internet evolves and gets more sophisticated with interesting tools and features which comes with the possibilities of downloads, screenshots, screengrabs, screen recording and whatnots, what you post online is now more than ever – FOREVER!
What are your goals in life? Owning the best “onlyfans” account? Being a porn star? The next minister in your chosen career path to help nation building? The next VP? A public speaker? Sex coach? The next Kardashian? What is your bigger picture? There will always be a societal standard, a place for being a gentleman and lady and upheld moral compasses for the society. Ensure your freedom to express your sexuality does not hinder your bigger picture