The great lengths that Blessing Okoro went to only to appear rich, posing in front of a house whose owner she didn’t even know, shows how we exist in a society that has gone completely insane with materialism and the desperate need to be liked.
We are obsessed with the idea of being liked. The need to be liked is why we twist ourselves into shapes to appear likeable, to impress and to be loved. If not so, why do we still have Nollywood movies peddling narratives of a girl who was raped, but forgave and married her rapist? It is that innate desire to be morally superior, to be the bigger and better person.
Why do you think you owe your rapist that goodness? Is it to prove you are a good person and somewhat undeserving of his actions? Why are you eagerly waiting for the day he apologises? Do you owe him forgiveness?
It is the same obsession with "likeability”. It explains why most Nigerian women remain in bad and abusive marriages. The first thought is always about what society would think. They yearn to be liked and refuse to accept that their husbands are no good for them. I still believe it is rightly a women's bad decision to stay that leads to her death due to domestic violence.
But society is trying to convince us that most times these women have no choices. They do. Yet, they decide to stay, and endure, to sacrifice and persevere. All these are qualities of a good woman. "Good women," is a term we have taught our girls to aspire to even when it is detrimental to their physical and mental health.
The business of likeability is also inherent in our social media age, the "Get Rich Quick" culture ingrained in the younger generation. We are smeared with materialism, on Instagram. Everyone seems to have a luxurious lifestyle, from Hushpuppi talking about how he doesn't sit in the same car with his bags, to someone trolling another on Twitter over who is using an Iphone or Android phone. It is in the broke shaming, over who and who repeats a shirt, the pressure to appear better than our peers, the “pepper dem gang” mentality eating deeply in our values.
The faux lifestyle on social media is all in a bid to gravitate towards social acceptance. To be loved, or not be loved, who cares as far you don't lose authenticity. I can't imagine anyone trying to influence me when I have not allowed it. Even as a scrawny looking teenager girl, with flat buttocks and small boobs, no form of pressure could make me do or be things I wasn't comfortable with to impress anyone.
And I quote a Facebook user:
"The new peer pressure is social media. You fall for it at your own peril. What people are seeking is acceptance. You are moved by glitz and likes. You want to belong to the elite club of those who have traction and as such you have to constantly come up with schemes that would make people come running to your page."