Random opinion or informed opinion; the world is full of choices.
This last Friday was my first time to read Hashtag, a new pullout which I have learnt circulates with the Thursday Standard Newspaper. Therefore, I must begin by pointing out that I do not know the context within which they write, for what audience and for they aim to achieve. I appreciate that there are chances that I am the idiot and that is why I did not get this particular piece by Ivy Aseka titled: The Campus Girl Is Not A Wife. Again, that is the only piece I read, which by the way, I read as a screenshot – someone sent it to me.
Now that I am through with the disclaimer, I will go straight to what made me write this piece. You see, that piece drew me by the title because I agreed with it; of course, yes, the campus girl is not a wife, she is a student. It is not up to seven months since I graduated so I know for a fact that a campus girl is not a wife.
Then I started reading the piece and I immediately started to encounter problems – I read that books are foreign to campus students, I also read that campus girls spend their weekends in adultery and they copy… In a nutshell, the piece was arguing that campus girls are nonentities who are constantly taking emergency contraceptives because, in the author’s estimation, they are immoral. All campus girls.
I write for a youth magazine and one of the things that I do is meet with and interview young people who are doing exemplary things in their fields of study. I meet young girls who have won scholarships (so obviously, books are not foreign to this lot), I have written about young girls pioneering very important initiatives in their campuses and apart from helping their fellow students, they are already on the path to bright futures. I have interviewed so many young people, university girls and guys, who have never touched alcohol in their lives so no, not all university students are drunkards.
I could go on and write about the university students on impressive leadership programmes or university girls who have won various awards and recognition for their exemplary initiatives. But I see no point because really, anyone who is serious about finding this information needn’t search far before they encounter remarkable campus girls.
But maybe I am digressing too fast or even beating about the bush.
Is it fair to write about a group of people like that – I mean, lump them together and give them a bad name? If this is how we write about ourselves, do we really have any moral ground to complain about the way international media many times (mis)covers Africa? Decades after formal education arrived if we still cannot have informed opinions, just whose fault is it? Bad economic times? Politicians? Too much rain?
Well, maybe life is not fair, so I will quickly dispense with my points of dissatisfaction and then move on to other things:
Generalisation /stereotyping makes one shallow
So because you know ten university girls who do not love their books you think you have all the necessary evidence on earth to make you wake up and conclude that all university students do not read? Well, those who do not read are more than ten, strictly speaking but avoid the temptation of believing that everyone in the university is playing. And this message goes to the younger girls just getting into campus: do not be fooled, the resources that we are all preparing to partake of are scarce and it helps if you are well prepared for the stiff competition that awaits you. Getting a good education is one of the best ways of getting yourself ready for this competition. So yes, just like there are students who do not take their education seriously, there are those that are extremely serious with their books – the ones that you will need to catch up with.
2. Maybe getting a degree and having weekend getaways are not mutually exclusive?
I don’t know but what is the chance that you can achieve both? Like you have fun and still study for your degree? Well, there is a problem when we assume a higher moral stand and begin to insult other people because the audience might stop listening to what we are saying and start looking at just how pure the self-appointed “God’s regent on earth” or “vice-God” is. In a WhatsApp group that I am in, this article was shared and someone asked if the writer had gone to a university at all. Yes, this sounds like a senseless and petty question. I do not know the answer. Maybe the answer does not even matter. But the conversation in this WhatsApp group shifted from the substance of what the writer highlighted to the possibility that she was just trashing university students because she has not been to university and she was trying to feel better about herself. Now that is the danger –you could miss an opportunity to tackle an issue.
I was going to address the issues raised in the article one after the other such as adultery, feminism, wife material, culinary skills and womb but I realised that this is exactly the kind of talk that threatens people’s autonomy and which sometimes serves no real purpose except if you are having this talk with your mother, your mentor or your husband in an environment adorned with mutual respect and a willingness to listen.
I have a persistent thirst to know things and that has pushed me to read a lot of books and ask questions including stopping strangers on the road to ask them questions about the inspiration behind their hairstyles… Apart from the madness, I am generally a very bubbly, reasonable and energetic person.