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Husna Lali

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It is 3 days to Eid…My aunt says it is okay to go out to check out stuff in the shops at night. There’s music and loads of people outside. I mean that’s an understatement in Amu. We’ve made our rounds, have sat at the sea front and ate our ice-creams, and now are heading back home. We have passed the ‘main road’ and are walking towards the narrow path that’s going to lead us home and two guys are cat calling behind us. Actually, they have been ever since we met them out side a shop but we just ignored them. One was carrying these metallic curtain poles or whatever…and the other, holding the plastic material that was covering them. I assume they either fell off or seemed too slippery for the other guy to be carrying the poles. We’ve ignored them for a while and the guy carrying the plastics, walks too closely and rubs the plastics against each other making weird sounds at us. I stop, abruptly and turn towards him. ‘Didn’t expect that mufaka, did you?’ (No, I didn’t tell him this…it is what came to mind when I saw the horror on his face) He halts and is clearly stunned.
“Haya sasa niambie…kule likua siezi smama sabu kuna watu wengi. Wataka nini?” I tell him.
He is out of words. The expression on his face, I’d pay a thousand dimes to look at again. He is quiet. The other guy laughs at him. I stand my ground still staring at him and he says “Staki kitu”
” Basi acha kuita watu njiani kama paka wa babako,” and we continue walking and he stops his weird hauls.

That was bitchy? Or that was bravery?

Boys,-and yeah I’m saying boys because no grown, matured man in his right mind would do that kinda nonsense- what is it that you want from girls that whenever they pass around a group of you, you definitely have to talk weird shit about/to them? To whom exactly do you want to prove that you’re a guy and she a girl? With whom exactly are you trying to have a cheap and weird conversation? And most of all, why is it that as a girl I cannot be left alone to walk in silence or without my heart skipping a beat like ‘Oh boy here comes the catcalls’ as I play in mind what to or what not to reply back? I have replied on one occasion when some dude went on like ‘Salamu haitii mimba’ with ‘Hii yako yatia mimba ya upepo…takiani kuzaa mashuzi mimi’ while I walked away.

Onto another scenario. A girl is dressed nicely, or skimpily for that matter. Does that mean they are calling for you to attack them with weird comments about their body features? I mean where on the world’s record was it mentioned that whenever I dress, its a guy I wanna impress? That aside. So you meet a girl, all hijabed up and all, you make a pass at her. She ignores it, clearly indicating that she isn’t at all interested. What gives you the right to insult her? Or even worse insist. Listen boo-boo…I am not interested and there is nothing you can say that will change my mind. I will ignore you and when you can’t seem to shut up, I will slap you with a single comeback which will either make you feel as small as you literally are, or will make you Slap/Hit me. (That’s a case for another day). The same goes for online sexual bullying. The number of times girls have felt insecure and always always self-conscious about what to expect from dudes is alarming. What makes you think that just because I am replying or reacting to your comment mean I want anything personal to do with you? Why can it not be all joking and fun and you just had to bring feelings into this whole thing making it weird?!

This isn’t all. And this is so unfair. I read one time on tumblr, a post where a girl said her sister was doing some research, and she wanted to see if say we are walking towards each other (I mean girl and guy). Who is supposed to let who pass first. The girl concluded with ‘So far, she( the sister) has collided with 20 men.’ I tried to do this once on the road towards Sawa Centre. It is so crowded with people and tuktuks and you’re right…I did have to put up my hands in front so guys don’t bump on me. Don’t worry religious freaks, I know you’re all ready to hit me with ‘This is why Rasoul (S.A.W) forbade women from going to the markets.’ Which is all okay until you realize you don’t have a male in the house and have to go to the ‘market’ by yourself. My point is, why is it that just because I am the girl, I am always the one to be on the sideline? To always be on the look out. When Rasoul talked of hayaa and lowering of gaze, did he at any point restrict it to females only? IDK, educate me.

I have gone to class with boys, I have taken the same exam as them and I might say even topped the exams. I am in a faculty, one that has men in it. Lets say it’s Corporate Business or Media. Why is it that every other aspect of me is stepped on and looked down upon and only my feminine nature pops up and gets your attention? Why is it that I,- a hardworking and so very potential and awesome woman- will be subjected to sexual harassment or asked for sexual favors before I am promoted. Or why is it that I cannot be treated fairly to a male workmate, just because I am a female, and that the equal treatment is made to look to me as a favor someone is pulling for me…and yeah I have to return the favor, sexually? I think its what they call it ‘Sleeping your way to Success’.

Why is it that guys, who are well off in some way or another think they’re the real deal, and that just because of that, they have the audacity to make a woman feel less of a person? Why is it that we are all treating it as normal for a guy to demand or make passes at girls-yeah several-just because they’re male? Why is it that it is always my fault as a girl for being too free to be out there thus calling for weird attention? Why is it that it is the girl who should stop a weird pass made at her, otherwise it will send a message that she wants it and is totally okay with it. Like why is it that its okay for boys to do all that and they get away with the notion ‘Boys will always be Boys?’ and as a girl have to justify myself. Why is it that y’all people don’t address this and make it clear that females are humans and for once don’t look at what she’s wearing and instead look at what she’s bringing to the goddamn table because ‘damn! half her beauty is her brains’? And most of all, why is it that y’all think being made weird passes at or getting uncalled for sexual advances is the rent a girl has to pay to exist on earth as a female?

Jus’ Birkoff…No Seriously, Back Off.

Husna Lali:

“There are two kinds of people in the world of fashion; those who dress to impress and those who dress up less. Then there is the third kind; the ones who dress to express. They regard fashion as art and their style is nothing compared to what you’d see around. They have an aura of confidence that radiates around them at a 360 degrees circumference. They give firm, hearty handshakes that gives the exact long-lasting first impression they want you to have of them. It’s not narcissism it’s vanity and that’s how self-esteem comes about.
As Marc Jacobs said, ‘clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them.’ You could have the most ravishing wardrobe yet how you take yourself makes all the difference.

That said, let us have a peep at how a Moi University student, Abdulrahim Mwalim, recently nominated in the Male Fashion Icon category at the Ultimate Varsity awards, dresses up to express.”


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Abdulrahim Mwalim:

You know fashion…fashion is what you buy; what you decide to invest your money on but style is what you do with it. Now each one of us is unique in our own way; we have different backgrounds, different characters and different preferences too. And style is one of the ways to speak out what words can’t say at the first instance. When you meet someone for the first time and you are shaggily dressed, they form their impression on you right from across the street even before they take a seat next to you. So it does matter how you dress up, only, you should do it for the right reasons and ways.

Here are some things to consider when dressing up:

1. The Occasion: What you’ll wear to an evening event is definitely not what you’ll wear going to the beach. Every place has it’s own specific atmosphere and your clothing should blend with that. Check the weather, check the location, check the theme of the event, the invitees…If it is jogging, get into your running short kit and hit the road. In my opinion, casual yet classy outfits are best for events. I have always preferred simple but significant.

2. Quality over quantity: Several people believe having 10 normal shirts is better than having 3 expensive yet durable ones. The trick here is to choose quality over quantity. And by the way, there is quality in Kongowea and many other second hand stalls, plus they are pocket friendly. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something bought in a mall or boutique for it do the magic. Most of the Kenyan population is earning moderately, i’d advise them to go to the second hand markets…dressing good is not for the rich only. And once in a while, when you can afford it, you may treat yourself to something from the mall.

3. Colours: Now colours are quite sensitive. You need to know what colours suit your complexion. For example, if you have a dark complexion, you’d look good in bright clothings and if you have a light one, dark outfits can suit you well. The colours are many, learn to play around them.

4. Personality: As mentioned earlier, each one of us is different and we have our unique personalities that make us who we are. What you wear or how you dress up, inevitably tells something about you. Your choice of clothing, your shoes, your way of wearing it…all do matter when expressing via style. Low profile people would mostly go for casual clothing, less complicated and less colourful yet bold individuals prefer bold colours with accessories to cream it up.

5. Accessories: Accessories are supplementary yet necessary sometimes. A simple leather watch can go with any outfit, you need to keep time anyway. An official suit or classy casual outfit can go with a classy watch too for example rolex. Other accessories that can compliment your attire is socks, shades, shawls among many other.

To end this, I’d say; Style up, because your personality isn’t the first thing people see.”

To assist Abdulrahim to win in the MALE FASHION ICON CATEGORY in Ultimate Varsity Awards, vote for him in the link here: https://www.uva.co.ke. (kindly DON’T use opera mini for voting) Voting ends on the 21st of this month. Your vote counts!! Thanks in advance.

”I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.” — Coco Chanel

“Fashion says ‘me too’ style says ‘only me’” — Anonymous

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.” — Harry Winston

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” — Rachel Zoe

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” — Coco Chanel

“Make it simple, but significant.” — Don Draper

“Always dress like you are going to see your worst enemy.” — Kimora Lee Simmons

“You can have anything you want if you dress for it.” — Edith Head

“If loving fashion is a crime, we plead guilty.” — Unknown

“Fashion is about something that comes from within you” –Ralph Lauren

Please don’t forget to vote!! Abdulrahim at Male Fashion Icon:  https://www.uva.co.ke!! You can also buy tickets for the event via the same link. The awards ceremony will be at the Moi University main campus on 25th of May from 7 p.m.