By Ahamefula Israel
Culture they say is an embodiment of people’s norms and life styles, handed down from generation to generation, to enable each generation understand the past, appreciate the present and look forward to the future. However, the inter-dependence of the social system encourages one cultural clime to enrich its values with positive norms and styles borrowed from another culture.
Unfortunately, this development is impacting negatively on the social system of most people of the developing world, who are yet to come to terms with the psychological trauma created by many years of colonialism. These among other things is still compelling them to see anything from western world, no matter how outrageous and preposterous, as superior, sophisticated and best.
In the past, our mode of dressing reflected the esteem we held for moral and social values as well as public decency. Then, our women especially, cover themselves so well that their presence in any public gathering was full of grace and honour. Today, the story is no longer the same. Our girls now go about half naked, just to prove their degree of sophistication. This contemporary fashion has the unpopular advantage of exposing intimate parts of the body, as they expose what they are supposed to cover.
Some of them who favour jean trousers still go a step further by leaving the zipper half open with very low cut short blouse that stops just before the belly button and exposes the chest region and areas below the navel.
Similarly, some of our young men take delight in wearing ear-rings, sagging their trousers, plaiting hair or going with unkempt hair. This mode of dressing is making it difficult for people to identify some of them who are not indeed mentally imbalanced. An African man is known for calm, courage and self-determination which he often tries to reflect in his physical appearance.
No serious minded man who is worth the salt of his status, will spend his precious time grooming himself like a circus clown. Even in the developed western world like America with their loose culture, men who wear ear-rings and other feminine fashions are easily identified as homosexuals, pimps, gigolos and other prevented dregs of the society. It is quite regrettable that most of these young boys and girls come from good Christian and Muslim homes and dress in such scandalous attire before their parents without admonition.
What is perhaps more appalling is that some of them dress equally in the same skimpy manner while going to church, which raises a question on their purpose of going to church in the first place. While it is possible for a young girl who showcases her sacred body by dressing in a provocative manner to invade the moral consciousness of men and might even lure some of them into adventurous relationship, it is quite doubtful if such a girl will eventually convince any right thinking man to marry her.
Sadly, some married women and ladies, though not married but old enough to be responsible and exemplary in their conduct, are sometimes even worse than the young girls in their outrageous and skimpy dressing. Some of them wear very tight and short dresses or skimpy or see-through skirts that insult public decency even to places of work which is a clear demonstration of lack of proper home upbringing, poor exposure, inferiority complex and sense of desperation.
No doubt, wearing of transparent dresses or organized rags in the name of fashion and sophistication sends negative signals to the observing public who will often like to keep their distance from such obvious social outcast. Again, when a woman dresses carelessly, it might be an open invitation to irresponsible men to take undue advantage of the lust seeking young girls.
To this end, decent Nigerians should not sit back helplessly and watch our youths tread blindly the dangerous path of self destruction. Parents should remember that family, as a primary social unit, has the responsibility of inculcating in a child the necessary norms and social values that will help the child to adapt easily in the larger society. They should therefore understand that their children’s mode of dressing and behavioural pattern testify to some extent the degree they have succeeded in their parental responsibilities.
Furthermore, churches on their part, should pay closer attention on the mode of dressing that will not distract people’s attention from their purpose of coming to worship. Women organizations, the mass media and in fact everybody should join the campaign against this wholesome display of immorality.
Let us remember the word of Vincent Lombardi that the quality of person’s life is in direct proportion to commitment to excellence. If you don’t stand for anything, definitely, you will fall for everything.
Ahamefula Israel, a Bureaucrat, sent in this piece from uturu,Abia State. Email- firstname.lastname@example.org