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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.

A real babygirl in her element – enjoying the lifestyle her parents pay for

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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XO,

Shiro

The Cultured Cow

Comments

  • September 5, 2021
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    Wendy Matheka

    Loved this read! I like how you differentiated the baby girl lifestyle and baby girl experience.
    So important cause for the longest time I was in the pits cause why doesn’t God love me enough to bless me with this baby girl lifestyle despite me trying to work to afford the finer things in life.
    Thanks for this

  • September 5, 2021
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    Dee Akinyi

    Haha! It’s the #babygirllifestyle holiday starter park for me. I love love your writing ❤️. I couldn’t resonate with you more… as much as social media came with a lot of positives, aspects like this babygirl lifestyle is just not it! So many of our girls are getting misled. I’m only 24 and sometimes I lose hope when I try to compare my life with my agemates…anyway everyone has their own time and like you said , the only people living a babygirl lifestyle are the small children who are still under their parent’s care…for the rest of us, it’s either we work our butts off or have a “friend” to sustain the lifestyle for us.

  • September 5, 2021
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    Jules

    Spot on! Let me sanitize the microphone so that we can speak to the women at the back! #cosigned

  • September 5, 2021
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    Wendy A

    Preach!!!

  • September 5, 2021
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    Risper

    This is such an exciting read. I was going through a “baby girl’s” profile this morning and felt I was missing out. Reading this is magical. It reminds me that I do love nice things, but money has to be respected. I am coming for all nice things right after I work my ass.

  • September 5, 2021
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    Maureen

    I love this article. This baby girl lifestyle is nearly impossible to achieve. Sadly, some will find themselves in debt worst-case scenarios die trying. That said, the baby girl experience is something we can all back. As you’ve implied, it’s something we can all experience when saved for on your terms without any ulterior motives or hops to get around.

  • September 5, 2021
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    Bernice

    This is bang on!
    It’s okay to enjoy the #babygirlexperience but pretending that no work goes into it is an idea that needs to be dead!

  • September 5, 2021
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    Jean Beauttah

    Aaah tell me why I had not read your blogs before
    Yaani facts
    Totally loved this piece

  • September 5, 2021
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    Jean Beauttah

    Aaah facts
    Totally loved this piece

  • September 5, 2021
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    Waithera M.

    Social media has succeeded in creating an illusion that people refuse to see past. They’ve taken posts as reality and that’s sad.
    Anyways, we continue to work so that we can baby girl with the fruit of our labour

  • September 5, 2021
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    Ijeoma

    Ohh honey this!! I don’t think I’ve seen that much rhetoric about baby girl specifically but I’ve seen a lot of people pushing this idea of the “soft life” — unless people are living on a different planet than we are, everything in life requires money, which requires work. So this idea that we can just manifest our way to having someone take care of us is complete bs. You are ALWAYS paying for whatever “soft” or babygirl life you’re living – whether in money currency, emotional currency, or sexual currency.

  • September 6, 2021
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    Millicent Muchiri

    Someone has to pay for it ! Financial and emotional independence is key to every woman ! Loved it!

  • September 6, 2021
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    angella

    loved it.. ❤

  • September 6, 2021
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    Florence

    Oh, Social Media will be the end of us. It is so so sad seeing lives being torn apart (physically & mentally) in pursuit of this ‘lifestyle’. Thank you for the reminder.

    https://www.oriwo-design.de/

  • September 6, 2021
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    Faith

    Wonderful read! Yes to babygirl experiences! We have a responsibility to differentiate an experience from a lifestyle especially to the young girls online.

  • September 6, 2021
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    Marilene Mercy

    TCC I am all or this life but can’t I pay for it myself? I like to be pampered, but not regret it after…So long as I don’t need to be washing no man who aint my real man!

  • September 6, 2021
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    Wanjiru Maina

    Thank you for this Shiru. I couldn’t agree more. What’s worse is that there are people who are under ao much pressure to live a “baby girl lifestyle ” while it really doesn’t exist in this life as we know it. We simply have to work for every simple luxury that we get enjoy every now and then. And even in instances that it is paid for by someone else, does it come for free? Is it sustainable? The answer is No.

  • September 6, 2021
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    Chloe

    What a timely piece. It’s good that young people know that nothing good comes easy. You just have to work for it. Plus, you actually enjoy the things you’ve worked for so it’s not too bad lol!

  • September 6, 2021
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    Speed

    Why did you leave out the elephant in the room?

    It’s nice that you talked about brands paying influencers. But, you did not mention that a lot of these “baby girl lifestyles” are paid by men in return for sex

    • September 9, 2021
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      Wangui

      Those are the “Friends” she mentioned 🙂

  • September 6, 2021
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    Catherine

    Of late, I’ve stopped following influencers who push that baby girl lifestyle because they no longer resonate with me. Deep down, I just felt it’s unrealistic and a part of me got tired of seeing a consistent highlight reel. Now I’m more interested in content creators who have real lives and can actually educate me on my interest areas.

  • September 6, 2021
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  • September 6, 2021
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    Laura

    On point!!! I hope that this can reach many girls and women far and wide

  • September 6, 2021
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    Joy

    All I know is my 20s were the fucking pits, I was broke most of it and living off the noblesse oblige of my parents until about 2 years ago. Meanwhile people I knew seemed to be rolling in cash (3 figure rents for a one bed flat, boozy brunches ever weekend, Mercedes Benz plates in the “KD blah”) lol. Anyway, it passed now and I’m kinda starting to enjoy having to work for my money. I hope those are not famous last words Great post!

  • September 6, 2021
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    Alice

    Love the article Shiro… sometimes we need posts like these to remind us that we are not doing too badly. Coz sometimes the narrative online can make you feel like there’s something you are not doing, there’s a door you are not knocking on etc…

    And also, some of these actual baby girl/boys do not even say thank you… smh… but we chose to have them I guess. We will get our thanks in heaven…hahahah

    great post!

  • September 6, 2021
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    Georginah

    You may hit a few nerves with some people but I agree with you.

  • September 6, 2021
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    Flo

    All realistic babyghurl lifestyle must be worked for. It’s easy to fall for the illusion of such a life where you cannot see the backend of how one gets to a certain degree of luxurious living .

  • September 6, 2021
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    Lorraine Indangasi

    I love this post. Thank you for writing it. Not to harp on the same string but we also need to count the opportunity cost of looking like we are living the “soft life”; your pension. Of course, live like there’s no tomorrow but what if there is? Thanks for writing it!

  • September 6, 2021
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    Zam Zam Seif

    This is exactly what I wanted to read today.
    Love it. ❤️

  • September 6, 2021
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    The Afrinado

    Lovely read! As always right on the money. There is a certain irreplacable satisfaction one gets when you reap rewards off something you worked hard for, I can’t describe it, while babygirl joy is fleeting, this feeling stays with you and adds to your make up as a person.

  • September 6, 2021
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    Caysey

    No one said it better

  • September 6, 2021
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    Fraciah

    Definitely a lot is left unsaid by “babygirls..” a lie..They market is as”its there hot looks n bodies that men can pay anything for but young girls be warned..men are not that dumb ..the currency is definitely sex and sadly that is not a high price to pay for some.

  • September 6, 2021
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    KK

    Thank you for posting this. I had to take a step back and ask myself why the TikTok slogan of “I should be in Dubai. On a yatch. Shaking my ass. In a thong.” was starting to make me feel like I need to aspire to that. Agreed, nothing wrong with shaking your ass in a thong on a yatch in Dubai but it’s not an everyday experience.

  • September 7, 2021
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    Alexander

    This was a really well written article and it was honest. The truth is always hard to hear. If someone is offended, it is because you touched a nerve. Keep Speaking your truth anyway. ‘

  • September 7, 2021
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    Gee

    Preach!

  • September 7, 2021
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    Hannah

    Love this. Thank you for sharing.

  • September 7, 2021
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    Irene

    Haha! This read resonates so much with what is happening in this world. Well put and i agree with almost everything Shiro. But what i can say is : The grass is not always greener on the other side. You have to water your garden! This babygirl lifestyle and experience requires a solid commitment and hard work. And also, we should always remember that: Comparison is the thief of joy! Do not spend sleepless nights fighting battles in your head because of what you see online! Fanya bidii nanii….and the rest shall fall into place!

  • September 7, 2021
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    Everlyne Silong

    this is easily your most relevant post to us ladies camping in a bottomless pit called IG comparison university <3 😉
    That we can and should work for ourselves is the real baby ghurl lifestyle. To be able to buy yourself a scarf, a handbag, a seat, a car, a house, a yatch, to open and maintain multiple businesses, with lots of debt free money at the bank account…that is being a real baby ghurl and being attractive.
    Cheers Shiro!!!
    for this and many other posts where you say things loudly

  • September 7, 2021
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    Everlyne Silong

    Also, I dont dream of being Elsa Majimbo, I dream of being Angel Lately …khai!

  • September 8, 2021
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    Justher KE

    I think when the soft life/ baby girl lifestyle started, it was to dissociate the whole identity and narrative that was attached to womanhood that was suffering. The likes of wife material, relationships being spaces to suffer etc. I also thin this specifically for countries where racism was rife was to create imagery and a new narrative around associating blackness and luxury. Of course corporates and other people commercialized the whole experience and it became about holidays and flights and lying that thinking about something hard enough will bring it to you magically. e glossed over the messaging of showing women and or oppressed people that they too can achieve and enjoy life, totally ignored the aspect of working towards the goal and just stopped at the big cars and holidays and living beyond our means to look like we have it all. Which then sucks because it makes people think that nice things are unattainable or fake and they must stay suffering. It also makes you not enjoy thigs that truly make you happy because if its not a yatch in Dubai, its not it. But the truth is, we like and aspire to different things. Thanks for this post!
    Also this just became a mini blog post.

  • September 8, 2021
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    IRENE

    Excellent!! So many of us women need to understand this. In fact the ones living the ACTUAL baby girl life are not seeking validation from the “world”.

  • September 8, 2021
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    Ck

    The beginning of this week got me asking God why me!Why me! I pray I fast I try Lord to do everything right but but.I open my IG baby gals living the life.#new wig # kempinski etc then I realized not all that glitters is gold.I will be patient ,workhard and not be too hard on my self. I wish I could afford that 110k iPhone etc but I want to buy it for myself not by someone’s son.I want to go for that borabora trip paid by myself not someone’s husbae that I cannot post hahaha.Your post has hurt many and I have seen influencers who are HURT THEE most.To young girls don’t rush God’s timing is the best it might not be today or tomorrow but he does come.Don’t let Instagram make you feel stuck its all lies and this same people soak their pillows with tears like you and I.Don’t rush don’t feel bad.God Bless!

  • September 8, 2021
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    Christine Michura

    Spot on! Love it.

  • September 8, 2021
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    Caroline

    Spot on. I just wish all millenials would come here and read this blog. Too bad, most of them are on ig comparing themselves with other #babygirls.No wonder they want to get into ‘wash wash’ for instant success. Thanks for always sharing your brilliant writing.

  • September 9, 2021
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    Sheena

    How so true and so much so for the young girls who look to Instagram in particular for their role models, everyone needs to know the truth so as not to beat themselves up whenever things are moving in the #babylifestyle direction. Love this Shiro

  • September 9, 2021
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    Canduh

    “I’m better than you”

  • September 12, 2021
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    Andrew Ochan

    A brutally honest opinion!

  • September 16, 2021
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    june

    spot on!

  • September 16, 2021
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    RoseMutua

    Such a good read!

  • September 18, 2021
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    Pearly

    Girls from yester years tried this soft life but didn’t fly….someone’s gotta pay for it…. Listen to Gwen Guthrie

    Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ on but the Rent https://g.co/kgs/NnjiHe

  • September 19, 2021
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    Grace Macharia

    Co-sign…..

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