Shana Fife is just a mom with two children, trying to find time to brush her hair. By Marchelle Abrahams
“The only difference between myself, and other people who suffer from bipolar, is that my grandeur is not a delusion.”
This, in a nutshell, sums up Shana Fife. The freelance copywriter, journalist and mom of two wears many hats, but many will know her as Shana Genever, the face behind popular blog justahoewithbabies.
In 2014 after the birth of her second child, Fife was battling depression. “I felt lonely for the first time and people were talking behind my back,” the 28-year-old discloses.
“And then I came across this meme: If you’re under 25, not married and you have babies, you’re not a MILF, you’re just a hoe with babies. And that’s what I called my blog!”
Fife’s online persona is a running commentary on society, specifically the coloured community. She offers a no-holds barred view on things that others choose to not speak about, instead sweeping it under the rug. But her confrontational style, peppered with profanities opens up dialogue.
Nothing is off limits. Her Facebook video The Cape Coloured Accent Deserves Respect racked up over 2.2K likes and 600 comments in a matter of days.
She, and others like her have started a revolution of sorts by taking her cultural heritage and wearing like a badge of honour, warts and all.
She may not admit it, but her in-your-face attitude has struck a chord. And it’s made her an easy target for online trolls.
“It used to bother me, and I used to think I had to make them understand my point of view,” she says when asked about being the recipient of hate mails and trolling.
“Now that I’m doing live streaming, it has gotten so much worse. But I just let it go - if they don’t agree, everyone has their own opinions.”
But what she won’t tolerate are when comments get personal, “Some of them ask if my husband’s ashamed of me, or you should kill yourself.”
Yet, her Facebook page Just A Hoe / Into a Housewife has almost 18 000 likes and 18 200 followers, and counting.
Her online musings and observations draws the crowds and she’s now become an “influencer” with her daily stint on #HashtagRadio attracting thousands of listeners.
Now pregnant with her third child and newly married, Fife seems to have settled into domestic bliss, but this means she hasn’t gone “soft”. Quite the contrary.
“The personality you see online; I’m not pretending to be a character - that’s the real me, just a bit less dramatic,” she laughs.
She’s steadfast in her belief that she puts her family first: “In essence, I’m just a mom with 3 children, trying to find time to brush my hair!”
And this is where we start discussing femininity and women of colour struggling to get by. Like me, she struggles with the same issues.
But she’s making it her mission to change perceptions, telling women that it’s okay to take your power back and to make your voice heard.
“I was chatting to a fellow blogger the other day about being a coloured woman in a managerial position.
“We have this opinion where we feel so honoured to be in this position, but we set boundaries for ourselves; we undervalue ourselves. But let any man take up the same position, and they assert themselves immediately. We don’t support each other. Instead we are always competing without uplifting.”
It’s a feminist ideal, but Fife wouldn’t consider herself to be one in the traditional sense. She mulls it over before adding that she thinks the term has become warped, noting that online feminists are spewing hate of the opposite sex. “I don’t identify with that. Not all men are bad. I’m raising a boy to be a good man because my dad was a good man.”
Living in a social media age where nothing is off limits and your thoughts can be digested into less than 140 characters - once your musings are out there, it can’t be taken back.
In Fife’s case, she’s quite happy to shock and entertain, but she draws the line when it comes to her family.
“My husband thinks what I’m doing is very funny, and he’s very supportive of me. But he gives me rules: no talking about our sex life and the company he works for."
Her mom, on the other hand, is very conservative, “She tells me not to tag her and share videos with her online. Other than that, my family is very open.”
Living her life in the public domain has made her a constant target, and Fife seems fine with that. But she does have a message for her harshest critics: “Just listen to the opposing party and see if you can relate.”