Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which is to say that what one person finds to be beautiful may not necessarily be what another finds beauty in. The desire and almost borderline obsession of chasing the fountain of youth is ubiquitous. Beauty standards vary from continent to continent and from race to race but what has been most common in beauty standards world over is a petite or slim body.
Generation after generation beauty standards has become to say the least ridiculous! The expectations placed mostly on women to be a certain version that is approved by society has left many to not only alter their bodies but has also seen the untimely demise of some.
One need not look far for these ungodly standards; as soon as you turn on your television, when you scroll on your social media accounts or a random pop up notification from one or the other brands that promises to turn back time, all a set up for you to buy into an illusion that will never be satisfied.
From this it is clear that media plays a significant role on how we perceive ourselves and others, disregarding that the concept of beauty is but a contingent that depends on variables that really cannot be fully accepted world over. I believe it would therefore be safe to say that the media influences our outlook on beauty and what we believe to be grotesque as well as the schemas we form throughout our lives.
CELEBRITIES AND BEAUTY STANDARDS
English singer and song writer, Adele, broke into the music industry a chubby and full figured woman who seemed happy and content with her physique, only caring about her music. Some nay-sayers did try and persuade her to change her looks to match her music, going as far as wanting her to lose a few kilograms, her replies were always centred on her powerful vocal cords being the nucleus of attention and not her looks. Fast forward a couple of years later and Adele can be mistaken for a runway model that is how much weight the multi-award winning songbird lost.
Many other celebrities the likes of Kelly Osbourne, Busta Rhymes and even Mike Tyson. The contention is not weight loss but the idea that being slim or skinny is more attractive and seen as a beauty standard. Losing weight for health reasons is a must and maintaining that weight loss is necessary for medical reasons but altering your body to fit into standards is another thing altogether This does have one cogitate; are beauty standards so engrained in society and does the media have such insurmountable power that no matter who you are, you will be trapped in the idea of attaining a delusional perfection.
Granted the media has a significant role it plays in portraying its ideal version of forever young and beautiful but as individuals we play a bigger part in shutting down such outlets that give off unattainable standards that will only depress and make both men and women feel inadequate. One of the things that should be treated with uttermost sensitivity is choosing our words when it comes to talking about someone’s body.
In an ideal world no one should be told that they are physically unattractive or that they need a nip and tuck here and there to be beautiful. The notion that being physically attractive is an important asset a man or woman can have and to maintain is a must is absolute bogus! No one should be held to standards that are subjective.
BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING
Kesego Samantha Moeng, a 20-something year old Mochudi native is collecting a number of accolades under her belt. Moeng is an entrepreneur, a motivational speaker, she recently also debuted as an author in the middle of a pandemic and lastly she has embraced her full figure as she ventures into the world of modelling.
Moeng opened up to WeekendLife about her body and the turbulences that come with being a plus size model in an industry that idolises petite body structures. “Well to me being a plus size model means more than just embracing being big bodied or full figured. It is the flamboyant way in which a woman can embrace her beauty and her strengths confidently regardless of what society may classify as beauty or rather what it may not be,” she said.
Driven by the desire to show that beauty is just an idea, the ever bubbly personality shared with this publication that for her it took acceptance to do what she is doing. It also took self-love. Like many people who have struggled to accept themselves because of being at the receiving end of trolls about their body.
“It was a process of tears, reopened scars. Above all self-acceptance. I have quite a few experiences with body shaming but I always shrug it off and wear my smile and confidence,” said Moeng. The robust personality that does swim wear model, cooperate wear modelling and other modelling for brands, is a self-starter and keeps going because her desire to make a name for herself outweighs the piercing voices of those who think she’s not built for the industry.
PLUS SIZE MODELLING IN BOTSWANA
Botswana trails behind in acknowledging plus size women and helping them embrace and love themselves as they are. There are little to no platforms for plus size models, even with the ones that are present very little attention is given to them. This makes it difficult to help grow and instil confidence in a girl or even a boy child for that matter, that the images they see advertised are not realistic nor are they typical. They have been altered.
It is important that the next generation understands that beauty cannot be standardised, it is a subjective attribute that has many variables and trying to attain to a certain standard of beauty can have deleterious effects on oneself.
Rebecca* is a woman in her late thirties. She holds her head high and walks with a sway in her steps. There is an air of confidence when she speaks. So when she tells me how her husband has been abusing her throughout their 17 years of marriage, I am taken aback.
“Everyday is a new experience for me. I don’t know what version of husband I’ll meet; the one who will scold me for forgetting to lay out his clothes or the one who will hit me for putting too much salt in the soup,” she says while wiping tears. 17 years is almost two decades. I ask her why she has had to endure all that pain for a long time but she only shakes her head and does not answer.
Like Rebecca, hundreds of women experiencing domestic violence find it difficult to leave. For some, it is for reasons best known to them, for others, they simply do not know why or have the words. People who have not experienced abuse find it unfathomable that survivors stay in their relationships and not leave. It seems almost like they enjoy it. But until an experience has been felt, it is easy to give directives on how to act.
For Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai, it took 6 years to escape the suffocating grip of her abuser. “It was a traumatic experience,” she tells me. “I can tell you this for free; the same intensity used to abuse you is the same intensity used to beg. When he does this, pity begins to set in and you become confused on what to do.”
Ms. Ilavbare Goldfish Rahmatulai
I ask Ms. Demilade Lawal, a psychologist from the University of Chester, in an interview, if there is a psychological reason behind this and she affirms.
“For a lot of women, it’s a glimmer of hope that things are going to get better. And that glimmer of hope can be understood when we are aware of the social cycle of abuse. There is a tension phase, an abuse phase and a honeymoon phase. In the honeymoon phase the abuser temporarily changes his ways and alters the victim’s decision to leave. Then the tension starts and then abuse follows.”
Another reason women remain entangled with their abusers is the fear of the unknown, the unclear reality of what would be after leaving.
“The truth is, as much as this person abuses them, there is an emotional connection. They love this person, there is a traumatic attachment whether they are aware of it or not. It is not the best love environment but it doesn’t change the fact that this is how they feel about the person that abuses them. So the thought of starting afresh without this person whom they have grown to love despite the abuse is just as frightening,” Ms Lawal says.
Although this may sound like an unjustifiable reason to some who have not walked this path, Ms. Rahmatulai agrees.
“In my case, I loved him very much. I could not imagine going to tell my family members or friends that the man I loved started hitting me as early as a month into our marriage. I was embarrassed. So I stayed back, hoping it would get better,” she says.
Research shows that one of the many reasons why women remain in abusive marriages is a lack of income which results in total financial dependency on the abuser. Could this be a strategy to trap the victim in an abusive cycle?
“While I was married, my husband would give me very little housekeeping money. He knew I did not have a job and the money would be insufficient but I could not say a word. I had to feed my children. If I complained I would get beaten. He provided for everything in the house, what authority did I have to question him,” Ms Rahmatulai says to me.
I ask Rebecca if she has a job and she says no. She mentions she’s an interior decorator but she barely gets offers. When she does, her husband collects everything.
A major factor for avoiding abusive marriages is to identify red flags. However, these flags are sometimes mistaken for natural behavioural traits. In Ms Rahmatulai’s case, she tells me she noticed her husband was quick tempered and ill mannered before marriage however she waved them aside as he had never hit her during courtship.
How then can abuse survivors find the courage to leave?
“The decision to leave is a process, it takes a shift in perspective – realising that you deserve better and that your kids deserve to grow in a healthy home where they don’t learn to be abusers or think it’s okay to be abused,” Ms Lawal says.
“When I pack my bags to leave, my husband would hit me. When I unpack, he would hit me. I started going to school to get a degree and then later I started trading. When I had what seemed like enough then (N80,000/ $192), I left my husband regardless of the worst that could happen. I realised if I stayed long enough, I would be dead,” Ms Rahmatulai says.
“It’s been 20 years since I left. I’m 51 and a lawyer now. I have dedicated my life to helping women in abusive marriages leave. So many men have called me a home breaker but I say it’s better to break a home and save a life.”
*Rebecca has asked to stay anonymous by using a pseudonym.
Claire Mom is a Nigerian journalist and an advocate for human rights. Email: email@example.com Twitter: speakclairely
Multitudes of music lovers are expected to throng Francistown’s Obert Itani Chilume Stadium for the highly anticipated As One Music concert next weekend.
Updating WeekendLife on the preparations of the event, Kesego Okie said the preparations for the show are going well and they are working around the clock to make sure that they fulfill all logistics that need to be concluded. She said, ATI has been working hard alongside the featured artists to give Batswana the best experience at concert.
She said that the concert has been accepted well by Batswana and they are very happy with the ticket sales. ”But of course we are looking forward to more ticket sales as more people are showing more interest in being part of this historic event and we are grateful to all our partners and sponsors.”
She appealed to the Francistown Business Community to come on board and support the initiative as it’s a concert for the people. Okie said Francistown was chosen for a reason as they believe it is a gate way to a number of other strategic places in Botswana like Maun, Orapa, Phikwe and Kasane.
“We also felt that since the city has been greatly affected by COVID-19 an event of this magnitude was befitting to be held in Francistown so that we can also play our role in uplifting the socio-economic livelihood hence we believe it is vital for the business community of Francistown to embrace us so that collectively we can contribute meaningfully together as one to the community of Francistown”.
She indicated that they have a large number of artists particularly from Francistown that have shown interest during the show activation and other artists that have collaborated with ATI in the past and those that have contributed in the growth of his music, and it would be very difficult for them to fulfil the mandate of the show without support particularly from the corporate community in Francistown.
Tickets for the event are sold at P50 kids, P150 general, 500 VIP silver circle and VVIP for P1500. All tickets are sold at all Liquarama Outlets across the country.
Founded 30 years ago by David Magang, Phakalane Estates came from humble beginnings to gradually expand into developing one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the country which attract high income dwellers.
When the development began in the early 90s the estate was to be developed into 13 phases. It is then that a decision was taken by the developers to come up with plans that would be appealing to certain groups of the society.
Phakalane Estates continues to make its mark in the property development space, this year, they have managed to invests over P45 million on major renovations to the Golf Estate properties namely the hotel, golf course, and conference center.
Already the company has erected 84 single and double bedroom apartments which commenced early this year. The construction of these new apartments has been set for Peto Estates, a gated community within the Phakalane neighborhood strategically placed a stone’s throw away from multiple shopping centres such as Mowana Park and Acacia Mall.
“We want the best for our clients that is why even in Peto, we have various apartments for every one and also bearing in mind that the people should be not far from the complex,” Phakalane Estates’ Lesang Magang said in an interview.
So far the roads tarring has started at Sebote estate which is part of the estate expansion, it is expected that even things electrically will get handed to the Botswana Power Corporation which will be the last stage plus the lights on the streets. “In terms of infrastructure we don’t compromise we ensure that it is world class so that we don’t disappoint our clients. Those that brought houses earlier when they sell them it comes at a profit.”
Following the success of the launch of Peto Estates back in 2014, when over 300 plots ranging in cost from roughly P300, 000 to P1.4m were immediately sold out with a high surplus of demand, Phakalane Estates boasts strong confidence in the market demand for new apartments in the area.
The apartments are set to follow the trend of the estates with state of the art modern designs and facilities that will unequivocally catch the eye of professionals in the market for a smaller yet upscale rental property in Gaborone. Phakalane Estates CEO Subramaniam Parthiban has expressed plans for the creation of an all-new industrial park in Phakalane aiming to expand and consolidate the existing industrial strength the community already boasts.