It is always very amusing to remember those stories we heard a lot while growing up: that India beat Nigeria 99 to 0 with players that turned shots to meteorites and lions, or that, once you eat a bread eaten by a rat you would hear what rodents say. Or even that when you place a stick between your legs and point your crossed fingers at a flying eagle, the bird will fall.
Aside the comic relief however, the context similar to these stories and requires recognition is how we have evolved beyond those ideas and so many other things. What should warrant a psychological evolution? Why do we need to rethink certain norms, boundaries and thoughts? These are questions that this text seeks to answer.
A society consist of individuals who live together with a certain element of culture and more importantly, a group of ideologies which explicitly characterizes them. These ideologies are the things that form the social construct; the things we deem right and wrong. More basically, this construct fences an arbitrary boundary around the way we live, act and talk. While ideologies need to be cherished and well-preserved, we should learn how and when to modify our norms in many occasions. It would be logically inconsistent to see that as humans who have thrived through many ages and generations, we still in many ways, bend ourselves to certain ideologies that deprive us from the ultimate liberation and development that we may seek. No one tells those aforementioned tales any longer. In fact, a lot of young people don’t even know these tales. Even the popular adage, “The sky is your limit” has been modified to “The sky is your starting point”. It means that, at a point, we have realized that these things may necessarily not be true and even if they were true at all, they serve no utility. If they served any utility at all, those utilities were not enough. This is exactly where the evolution of thoughts comes to play. It is in the same way that saying that only females should be in the kitchen serves no utility. In worst case scenarios, it will make the male child partially dependent and the female, permanently designated to the kitchen. The idea thus, is to make us individuals who can question the norms and not be restricted by it.
“Tech literacy will be as delineating as actual literacy used to be decades ago. People who don’t know how to decipher truth from skits, concepts or fake news will be the new illiterate class” – David Ejim (unpublished data, 2020).
Going to school didn’t matter several years ago. The same society that told us that we can make it without attaining education now points out the flaws of people who managed to get there but were limited in one way due to illiteracy. The same society is currently building an ecosystem that allows for the survival of tech literates. And no one needs to be told what to do to remain relevant: Rethink your position and beat the construct!
That a female should not be allowed to go to school at all or study to her satisfaction doesn’t only stains the woman identity but also pulls back a society that ultimately seeks to grow. Imagine how much intellectual and human resources we deprive ourselves by allowing unqualified men take up spaces of many capable women; all in the name of what we accept. More amusingly, these ideologies modify themselves even when we the actors, fail to modify them. If an individual will hesitate to wear shiny jackets and bootcut jeans with an afro to a birthday party now, then no one should limit himself to norms that have always existed.
Culture is important. Ideologies need to be preserved as well. But when certain constructs build barriers to how we can self-actualize as individuals and consequently, as a society, we should go back to the drawing board. Religion has faced and beaten these barriers. Feminism and equality are fighting their own war. With people realizing how important it is to stand up to corruption and not leave the bourgeoises to their immoralities, the fight for transparency and accountability is struggling its way as well. What about you? What is that barrier that is limiting how far you can reach, how productive you can be? Don’t hesitate, stand firm and rethink a way to beat that barrier. It is very important.
“Even when you paint yourself like them, they will still not be satisfied” – Gbala Ifeoluwa (unpublished data, 2020).
Even as social constructionism is as wide as ever, and as many questions like whether age, traditional masculinity, virginity, fear and many others, are societal construct as well, we must recognize when certain norms diminishes our efficiency and productivity and know when to stand up to those ideals.
Be you, reach for the apex of your dreams and work hard. That’s the best you can do for yourself, and for those around you.