A social experiment

The society in general has always fascinated me. As human beings we put a lot of value into what other people think about us. I do that too; it is only human. We always strive to best the best dressed, the most popular and generally just be the best in some way. The interesting thing then is what people have decided as the benchmarks for this. From how we dress to the car you drive the standard has been set by the society. KOT (Kenyans On Twitter) standards are particularly ludicrous but I digress. As a result we have a society that seeks to conform to a standard set by the larger community in general. Do something off the norm and you are termed weird, geeky or just uncool.

From September 2013 to January 2014 I decided to carry out a social experiment. I changed my look radically just to see the reaction of the people I hang out with. I twisted my hair resulting in a very rugged look as you can see in the photo below

With my cousin at our farm in shagz

With my cousin at our farm in shagz

The reactions were wide and varied. Some people asked me what I was rebelling at, others complimented my look, and others tried to find out the “reason” as to why I did it. Some asked if I had aspirations of being a musician. All the time the question I was asking myself was whether the new look made me a different person. Did it affect my work output or how I related with people? I am lucky I work in an unconventional environment which values what you do than more than how you look. We are allowed to dress the way we like as long as it is decent. I know of companies who don’t allow ladies to rock afros or dreadlocks. Who set these standards? Isn’t it about looking presentable? What is presentable?

Things got a bit more interesting when I travelled to my grandmother’s place over the Christmas period. No one had the guts to ask me a thing about my hair but I was informed later that most were asking as to when “niliharibika”. The interesting part is that my parents have always been cool about it. They raised me well and trust the decisions I make. They never judge people based on their looks but rather they judge you based on your actions.

My hair is back to “normal” now, they were turning into dreadlocks and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to spot dreadlocks so I untwisted it. I wonder what my next social experiment will be but I am definitely open to suggestions.

Is how you look everything? I guess there no concrete answer to this question but feel free to share your thoughts with me on Twitter @kiruik. The last time I checked the comments section works so feel free to share your thoughts here too.

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