I wanted to hold off writing this piece initially as the main subject, Ghanaian actress and movie producer Kafui Danku, has called for an end to the negative backlash following the release of her baby christening pictures. I am sure she wants to put this episode of her life in the rearview mirror. However, as a relationship blogger and a student of this mystery called love, I wanted to explore this story under a different paradigm. One which explores why we reacted strongly to the pictures of her and her husband.
I’d like to start by stating that I am not an entertainment blogger. Relationships challenges tend to be the focus of my writings. I particularly like to take an analytical approach to relationship anomalies. That said, I’d like to share my thoughts about why some of us reacted strongly to the pictures of a lovely lady and her white husband.
Recently I wrote about why African women were increasingly marrying white men. In that piece, I pointed out that every woman, regardless of race, needs romantic love and security. I argued that for a woman to truly feel appreciated, she needs a generous dose of both romantic love and security without conditions. According to the dozen or so African women I spoke to in interracial relationships, white men were better at providing romantic love and security than some African men.
A couple of months back, I wrote about a young couple whose pre-wedding photos went viral because he happened to be a skinny fella whereas his bride, was a plus size woman. In that piece, I explained that most of us are conditioned by the media to view an attractive and physically fit couple as ideal. I argued that the happiest and content couples in our society are the ones who know that their physical appearances are not the most attractive thing about them. Most of us, I explained, question if true love exists because we are a society that cannot look past physical appearance and ideals.
In both stories, I explored the societal perception of what an “ideal’ couple should look like or what type of “love” is acceptable and pleasing to society. The reaction to Kafui and her husband’s pictures correlates perfectly with both pieces.
Shall we explore why we all had strong reactions to this couple’s pictures? Like most, I was intrigued when I saw the pictures of Kafui and her husband. One cannot pretend that this couple will not generate some level of curiosity. The fact that her husband is white and appears older makes her case even more intriguing. An “ideal couple” will cause us to pause for a second because our brains are used to processing that image. We pause and think to ourselves, “What a lovely couple! He is handsome and she is so beautiful!” After that thought, we go about our normal daily chores and we quickly forget about the “ideal couple.” The image of a seemingly older gentleman with a younger woman, however, is not one our brains are wired to accept and process normally and quickly. We pause, linger and speculate. We try to make sense of this anomaly so we ask;
“Did she marry him for financial security?”
“Do they really love each other?”
“She can’t possibly love an older guy enough to have a baby with him, can she?
“How long will he be around to care for his child if indeed he is much older?”
“Does she realize that very soon she will be providing daily care for an older man and a child also?”
One can argue that all these questions are legitimate. I would like to think that Kafui carefully considered some of these questions herself. Her decision to be with her husband and her reasoning, however, are hers alone. She does not owe anyone an explanation.
Kafui had the courage to allow herself to be seen as she is. The courage to step out and proudly present what most will not consider an “ideal couple” image. Most will call her crazy for her boldness. I happen to think otherwise. Whether she married this man for love or not, she is brave enough to show the world what her “love” looks like.
We simply cannot judge if someone truly loves another based solely on a picture or looks. It is simply absurd to do so in my opinion. That said, I can understand why we judge couples based on looks, racial differences, and a sizable age gap. Physical appearance and the other factors I mentioned cannot be easily overlooked when it comes to relationships. We are conditioned by the media to view an ideal couple as a pair closer in age, in perfect shape, the man slightly taller than the woman and both very attractive. Our commercials, newspapers, magazines and TV shows are inundated with such images. To make it to I Do Gh and Bella Naija, we have to meet these standards of the ideal couple I think.
Most people hold on to the society norms which finds an older man with a younger female as unacceptable. However, things are not as they used to be anymore. We are an open minded society now but judging still happens, unfortunately. Age or race has never stopped real love from unfolding. If two people love each other, age is indeed just a number and race is meaningless.
I do not know Kafui or her husband personally but I think her courage is noteworthy. It is quite disheartening that some of us cannot let go of judgmental thoughts, myself included.
Ultimately, it is their life. Who are we to judge?
What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am? Brene Brown
By Kwadjo Panyin..
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.