… Addressing the Trend
The situation and level of immoral dressing in the present age has become quite pitiable and many Nigerian ladies have indeed crossed the embarrassing boundaries, with no sign of abatement in sight.
Undoubtedly, men and women of goodwill have lent their voices to the nagging culture of increasingly disturbing culture of indecent dressing which has again become prevalent among the younger generation but their voices appear faintly and ineffectual.
The increasing menace of culture of nudity has equally prompted some educational and religious institutions to take bold steps by stipulating dressing standards and prescribing dress codes that are considered ‘acceptable’.
This is also in response to the so-called fashionistas who, in a ridiculous claim of fashion, parade themselves half naked on the streets – ignorantly oblivious of the distinction between “dressing up and dressing well”.They expose the sensitive parts of their body, perhaps to attract men to themselves, whereas a rational human being “dresses to express” and not to impress”.
Origin of nudity
Tracing different modes of dressing obtainable in Nigeria reflects various cultural identities which reveals that no cultural group in Nigeria supports indecent dressing, particularly among the female folks. While mode of dressing is usually used to identify ethnic groups as a people, none of these could be categorically said to align with the act of indecent dressing. In other words, no ethnic group in Nigeria promotes indecent dressing.
Then, the question that readily comes to mind is: where did the act or culture of indecent dressing among Nigerian females emanate from?
Since it can arguably be stated that indecent dressing is not a product of any ethnic group in Nigeria, it is obvious therefore, that the practice is a by-product of western civilisation and alien cultures on the people.
But what is truly mind-boggling is the alarming rate at which this act of nudity has come to take root in our society, and this calls for an urgent solution which is the major import of this write-up.
What is indecent Dressing?
A school of thought holds that there is nothing like indecent dressing. Those who hold this view argue that as evil exists in the mind, so does indecent dressing exist in the society. They assert that indecent dressing is based on individual differences. What one calls indecent dressing, may not be deemed as such by another.
Meanwhile, some have attempted to classify and define what they term or thought indecent dressing means.
For Alikson (2015), indecent dressing on women borders on the deliberate exposure of the vital areas of the body-breast and the “Sanctus Sanctorum” through which babies are born.
Onoyima (2013) on the other hand, sees indecent dressing as “an offensive attire or styles of clothes worn by both sexes”.
The implications of the second school of thought is that exposing seductive parts of our body to the public is in itself a disrespect to the body.
It should, however, be noted that indecent dressing is not the monopoly of women folk, the men are also guilty of same. Nevertheless, this piece focuses on nudity of women folk because theirs is particularly alarming.
The concept of human dressing started from the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve used leaves to cover their nakedness after eating the forbidden fruit. From then, dressing became an integral part of human existence- from infancy to grave. This is according to the biblical account, presented in Genesis 2 and 3.
According to Diara (2011) God is the author of decency in everything, including dressing. The scriptural fact that, God himself undertook making dresses of animal skins for Adam and Eve when they tried in vain to cover their nakedness with leaves, underlies the above truism.
But why is it that some Nigerian girls no longer harbour this similar shame exhibited by Adam and Eve, back then when they found themselves naked in the Garden of Eden. Nudity has thus become a norm by many Nigerian girls.
Causes of Indecent Dressing
There are many causes of indecent dressing among Nigerian girls but the most prevalent one has to do with lack of self-esteem.
When a young girl feels inadequate and lacks self-confidence, she will do anything to attract attention to herself and simply takes to indecent dressing as a way out. In doing this however, she seems to forget very quickly that ‘for every action, there is a reaction; that is why we have high cases of rape, sexual harassments and of course, teenage pregnancies, mostly unwanted.
Some other causes are traceable to poor parental training and wrong peer influence. Frustration, poverty and lack of adequate sensitization to this rather sensitive issue can also lead a girl into the unwholesome practice of indecent dressing.
Effects on lady folks
The indecent dressing has tremendous effects, not only on girls but on the society at large. Some of those who take to dress indecently hold the view that ‘it is not the body that matters after all, but the mind’.
They either ignorantly or erroneously backup their argument with Biblical passages like; (Matthew 15:11 and Mark 7:15) which states that “Nothing from outside a man can defile him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that defiles him”. They fail to understand that the Bible was not making reference to what one puts on his/her body like cloth.
In this context, the Bible was explaining that whatsoever edible thing God has created cannot defile a man by mere eating it. Everything that God has created is good, perfect, and pure, and cannot make a man to be unclean, unless when misused.
On the contrary, indecent dressing leads to eternal damnation or destruction because when a girl dresses indecently, she is directly and indirectly making the opposite sex to sin by prompting him to look at her lustfully.
Men naturally have sexual aura or stimuli in them that easily reacts or triggers off whenever they see nude pictures or half nude ladies. So when a lady dresses in such a manner, she invariably makes men to commit sins by her act of seduction.
The Bible speaks about the punishment of the people that cause another to stumble, when it asserts that “…it would be better for them if a millstone were hung around their necks and were cast into the sea…” (Luke 17:1-4; Matthew 18:6-9). On the other hand, First Timothy 2:9-10 stipulates how a woman should dress in order not to debase womanhood.
In the words of Choji (2014), indecent dressing is gradually becoming a norm and is contributing to the increase in the rate of immorality and other ills plaguing the society.
What is more, indecent dressing debases womanhood and prevents the unmarried ones from getting responsible suitors.
Indecent dressing cannot improve one’s beauty, rather it dents one’s image and brings about rebellion with immoralities that usually result in all manner of sexual harassments or molestations.
Several cases of rape in our communities have been a direct consequence of nudity. People are easily tempted and attracted to what they see than what they hear. Because of this, most of our youths are now in the daily business of committing fornication and its effect on their lives is damaging. This often lead to abortion which sometimes results in deaths, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV/AIDS and stigmatization to mention a few.
The pride of a woman lies in hidden and protected treasure, which when exposed to the public, reduces her worth in the sight of everyone in the society. It makes man to lose respect in her. In actual fact, there would be nothing else for man to explore with revealing dressing. Our girls should note that any man that goes after an indecently dressed girl can only be aim at gratifying or satisfying his lust.
Statistically, 90% of men that go after such nude girls are irresponsible men and they usually have nothing dignifying to offer such girls. It is rather borne out of their intent to satisfy their sexual curiosity. It is difficult to find any responsible man in need of a wife, to go after such a girl.
Apart from depriving them of getting a responsible suitor, indecent dressing do prevent a girl from achieving many good things in life because “the way one dresses is the way she is addressed”.
No doubt good looks attract good measures. An interesting secret about a girl who dresses modestly, is that, she will be highly admired by responsible men
The way out
The following factors can be of immense help in curbing indecent dressing among females if properly put into practice:
Humanitarian organisations should endeavour to implement the recommendations made by the former Chairman, Senate Committee on Women and Youths, Senator Eme Ufot Ekaete in 2008. Eme presented a bill on indecent dressing on the floor of the Senate titled: An Act to Prohibit and Punish Public Nudity, Sexual Intimidation, and Relaxed Offences.
The Bill proposed a jail term of six months for offenders. If the law is eventually legislated and consequently have effect on the offenders; this will no doubt, help arrest the upward trend of indecent dressing among Nigerian girls.
Government and non-governmental organisations should also make regulations that address modes of dressing in their organisations. Mosques and Churches, in particular, are not left out. They should help condemn indecent dressing and join forces in inculcating good morals in our ladies.
Parents and adults must dress well and honourably as exemplars for the younger generation.
And finally, the mass media, the purveyors of both decent and indecencies should shun indecencies. They mostly glamorise indecencies on the pages of newspapers, magazines and on television. Since media is part of the society and exercise a lot influence in the youth, they must assist in promoting sound moral values through the dissemination of relevant and useful information about decent dressing and the side effects of indecent ones in the lives of our ladies.
It is only in doing this that the growing trend of indecent dressing and its debilitating effects could be effectively tackled.
By Chinazaekpere Nnaemeka Ogbonna, member of TRNG Writers Club