MODERN MYTHS: THE BABYGIRL LIFESTYLE
I read a hilarious article the other day. It was a two-year-old blog post on “babygirl lifestyle tips” by a (then) fresh Nigerian university graduate offering her fellow young women pointers on how to live their best lives, which included – among other things – becoming the “enjoyment minister” or “enjoyment president” of your life, “pressing necks”, “peppering dem” (I had to Google those two) and “don’t allow men to stress you”. It intrigued me. Not just for the expressions and laughs I got out of it, but for the message it preached, which I’ve seen a lot of recently on my Instagram feed.
This #babygirllifestyle thing is everywhere. It’s on t-shirts and other cheap branded merchandise, posts with captions extolling the virtues of “the soft life”; a life free of responsibility, labour or hardship, characterised by champagne-soaked midweek brunches, frequent luxury shopping and carefully curated holidays. It’s the life we all wish we could live – if only it were real.
You see the thing about the babygirl lifestyle as portrayed on social media is that it’s a myth. It’s simply not real, and those who claim to be living it every day are lying to us. The only people who can live this life are actual baby girls (and boys). Little people. Babies, toddlers, kids under the care of responsible adults whose work is to provide for them and keep them comfortable, without expecting anything but innocent cuddles and thank you’s in return.
There is no adult woman living a babygirl lifestyle for free. In fact, there is no woman who works hard for her money, who respects money, who knows what it takes to live a very comfortable life, who will put #babygirllifestyle on every post. Someone is working to pay for that lifestyle. It might be the “content creator”, or it might be her…as my mother and her friends would put it, “friend”. A lot of times, this “soft life” lived by influencers (and I use the term loosely) is courtesy of brands that pay for fabulous trips and extravagant PR packages in return for mentions – advertising basically. And it’s unlikely that what we’re shown is an everyday thing, which would make most of what we see a collection of babygirl experiences enjoyed from time to time, rather than an actual lifestyle – and we need to be transparent about that.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not an attack against anyone living their best lives while I sit through an endless string of meetings I’d rather not be in, listening to yet another issue that could be solved if leaders and other decision-makers actually gave a shit. It’s more…a word of caution to young girls and women looking up to these people who seem to have discovered the secret to a life without even the faintest hint of struggle.
I’m not trying to preach, and I’m certainly not one to glorify struggle (I like nice things and have spent a considerable amount of time fantasizing about this elusive soft life), but I’ve gotten enough DMs and questions from young(er) women asking me how they can live that lifestyle to know that this is a problem.
There are way too many babes in their late teens to late twenties questioning why they too cannot have this lifestyle they see online; when their time will come; when the God of Elsa Majimbo (bless her) will answer their prayers. I’ve been asked whether I’m rich (LOL) – I am not, and my bank account can attest to that. How I afford the things I have – I work, because the Lord decided that that would be my eternal punishment despite Jesus dying for my sins. Whether my husband pays for everything – he does not, we share financial responsibilities. And whether I believe women should pay for their entire upkeep when they have men – women should know how to, and be capable of, taking care of themselves because financial and emotional independence are both important.
Listen, I’m all for manifesting that life. Hell, I would pay for a course if it guaranteed me the ability to unlock the secret to that lifestyle, which would, ideally, not involve putting out, full-time submission or tears wiped away with a lace Chanel handkerchief while I type #babygirllifestyle in my Instagram caption featuring a photo dump from my last holiday. Who wouldn’t want an easy life in a world that seems determined to build resilience and “develop character”? I’d much rather have my character built in other ways that aren’t painful. But life doesn’t work that way.
My point is: the babygirl experience is possible. The pampering, the indulgence in the finer things life has to offer, the delicious decadence of spending your days sipping on mimosas made with premium champagne (not cheap sparkling wine) in exotic locations, it’s all possible. But the babygirl lifestyle as marketed to us by grown women with seemingly nothing to worry about but what to buy or where to go next? Not so much. Someone has to pay for it.
I realise this might be an unpopular opinion, but I’d love to know what you think about the lifestyle. And if you’re an actual babygirl, tell us how you did it. Maybe you’ve unlocked something the rest of us need to know!
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The Cultured Cow