Sibongile Mafu

Hypocrisy makes us human

2013-05-30 15:39

Sibongile Mafu

What is it about human beings that make us curious and unmoved, offended and indifferent? We hate people who stick their noses in our business but we're the first to stick our noses in theirs.

Hypocrisy both fascinates and perplexes, but also makes me realise how incredibly uninteresting we'd be without it. I have opinions about a lot of things, as do many other people. I have friends and family who have opinions about a lot of things... Some issues we choose to ignore or they don't affect us, which is allowed, and there are other things which don't affect us. These are the things I'm focusing on. Those issues that make it impossible for us as individuals to sit back and not say something about it.

Why is it then that we are quick to point out bad behaviour in others and hesitant to pick it out in ourselves or people close to us? Hypocrisy becomes about doing the exact thing you condemn and choosing to exercise a sort of favouritism in your value system. Would we be human beings without it?

I'm a feminist, proudly so, and I assume other women are until they make the disappointing claim that they aren't. I'll fight the good feminist fight. There are days when the fight within me is stronger than other days, and days where I sometimes wonder whether I'm consistent enough in my message. I try to educate and teach, and aim to learn too but then there are days when things just don't align.

The most common example is Oprah Winfrey and the so-called war she's had with rap music and the individuals who make it. From 50 Cent to Jay-Z, she's been incredibly outspoken (a job she's made millions from) about how they refer to women in their music. She has had conversations with both of them, first with Jay-Z on the now defunct Oprah Winfrey Show, and with 50 Cent on her new Oprah Winfrey Network where she’s discussed the issue.

Women are pretty much second class citizens in their music, music that I enjoy. This puts me in a bit of a dilemma. Does it then become about being selective in what I choose to attack and defend? Sometimes I console myself with the fact that I'm at least aware that there is something wrong, which at least make me conscious of it as opposed to someone who is oblivious to it and sees no issue. Then there those days when I'm harder on myself and take note that the fact that I know that there is something broken about the message, yet still choose to consume that media, makes me the worst kind of ignorant and hypocritical individual.

There are a few other examples of this. Being a Xhosa woman can be a bit of an oxymoronic label, considering that there are very real and patriarchal values attached to the culture. I defend the very things that oppress me, knowing full well that they are doing so. Now my mother may be reading this, so going into some detail may be detrimental to family dynamics, but it’s something that has being sitting on my shoulders for quite some time.

Maybe it’s an existential crisis. Maybe I’m young and looking for problems where there none. Maybe I’m not busy enough and am starting to overthink things, but it surely makes how you approach people and situations a different experience.

You begin to check yourself and your behaviour, because you could easily be the person you’re calling to order.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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