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Opinions of Thursday, 3 February 2011

Columnist: Alpha, Shaban Barani

Moral Fear & Social Panic – Backs, Butts & Cleavage

*And so it is, decency is defiled on a daily basis; morality has plummeted
into a state of destitution, womanhood is orphaned, and as well thinking
Ghanaians try coming to terms with it, nakedness has by far become the
commonest commodity maybe behind sachet water.*

* *

By popular habiliments, one can safely contend that, a state of total
discourtesy has rocked a society hitherto very appreciative of courtesy,
sexually explicit content has taken centre stage and today, eroticism isn’t
merely perceptive, it is sadly so, glamorized.

This piece albeit might be seen to dwell on women, is by no means an attack
on womanhood and women, a gender I so very much admire for all the
contribution that women right from my mum, sisters, school mates, teachers
and acquaintances have contributed to my person as of today.

My contention however is this, that as many well meaning and self respecting
women as there are, several multiple others are all over the place making a
gender thought of as the epitome of modesty and chastity look
*“unclean,”*and pathetically so, portraying them as sex symbols.

The religious people that we (Ghanaians) are, one would have thought
religion would serve as a check of sorts on what is fast gaining grounds as
a cancer within society, sadly so, with disdain and scorn, it is either that
no one cares or we are losing out on what the scriptures expect of us.

Indeed, before the advent of religion, our tradition and other social codes,
although unwritten and usually transmitted orally and or by experience,
served as a glue of some kind that held our society together, in the absence
of that, things have and continue to fall apart.

By the current trend of events all over, we do not need an angel to tell us
that the value of the female gender is fast depreciating, be it in our
homes, on the streets, at workplaces, in places of worship, in the markets,
schools and more pervasive on the TV screens and in the newspapers.

Bare backs are most commonplace as are dresses that allow any one who will,
to feast his eyes on what colour of underwear the lady sitting close in a
public place is wearing. Then are the very skimpy tops that also puts out
for public viewing the navel of “ladies.”

The issue to do with “boobs”/breast exposure makes it all the more
nauseating, sickening and damning, from heaped/raised breasts smeared with
some lotion to give it some shine and the cleavage revelation leaves one
thinking where our society is headed for.

As if all of that was not enough of a headache, some women have taken to
wearing dresses that are transparent. They wear beneath these already
revealing tops, no undergarment except for brassieres, whose strings are
most times bigger than that of their transparent dresses.

Whiles discussing this topic with some friends, the issue of a wholesale
adoption of foreign culture was raised, presupposing that by what some women
saw other women elsewhere do, and they had decided to follow same blindly as
it were, without recourse to the pros and cons thereof.

Indeed the above point wouldn’t fly entirely on the basis that, apart from
the foreign dresses that show very sensitive parts of the body, even local
tailors and seamstresses are not left out as they also sew dresses with very
low cut necklines and other funny designs.

Have we paused to ask ourselves as a people why the incidence of sexual
harassment keeps increasing even as gender activists intensify their
campaigns? Could there be a correlation between what women wear, which are
largely provocative, and these assaults? I ask.

At this juncture, one may want to know, how do these women get to learn
these inappropriate and moral threatening, socially damning and culturally
aberrant ways of dressing? Indeed for some, so skimpy are the clothes that
one is forced to think these *“ladies”* are wearing clothes belonging to
their children or to some younger sibling.

No nook and cranny of the society is insulated from this scourge, which has
proven to cut across females of all ages irrespective of their social
standing (bank manageress or koobi seller), educational status (PhD holder
or middle school leaver), creed (Christians or Muslims), ethnic and tribal
leanings and colour.


Media the world over have been identified as a major tool of social change
in several respects. This change though can be for the better or for worse.
Relative to the topic under the purview of this piece, sections of the media
are the driving forces of this state if moral fear and social panic.

In the particular instance of the Ghanaian media landscape, the print media
(newspapers) and television stands most culpable as champions of this
scourge, as for the point about the internet being another lead agent of
nudity and associated malady, the least said the better.

In the name of entertainment, some newspapers sell plain pornographic
material to the public, and vendors are with no regulation as to who to sell
these material to, once they get paid the amount quoted on the sheet, even
kids are eligible to own a pornographic piece.

Psychologists have time without number stressed the harmful effect on the
psyche of the elderly – who it MIGHT seem right to sell such material to –
so one wonders what the effect, socially, psychologically and more
importantly academically injurious it would be on the youth.

Newspapers such as *News One, Obsession, Fylla,* *the Vibe* and others like
these, in my opinion are not fit for the newsstands neither do they provide
any “sensible” source of entertainment, except for perhaps, “erotictainment”
here meaning, the publication and sale of lewd and sexually explicit

In these times where almost every household owns a TV set, TV stations by
their unregulated and blatant acceptance for certain movie adverts and music
videos to be aired have all but contributed to this malady that is gradually
eating up the moral fiber of society.

I dare to say that these stations by their actions look to be putting
commercial interest first and by so doing continue to feed the public what
ideally should not be. Pardon my language; *“pure junk.”* TV today looks
like a free market for anyone who can pay the fee charged.

As far as I remember, films in the past used diplomacy to show scenes that
were seen as lewd and morally offensive, but what is the trend as of today,
Ghanaian movie producers direct pornographic films and with scenes of sexual
bouts that becomes subject of debates as to whether the acts really happened
or not.

All this, in the name of having *“advanced”* as an industry, this I state
without equivocation, is nothing short of a negative, backward and
disgusting advancement, that is leading nowhere, as far as I am concerned
and relative to the moral degradation it has unleashed and continues to

Music with sexual connotations like that of AB Crentsil’s when he sung a
song entitled *“Moses,”* became an issue of hot public debate by right
thinking Ghanaians, but today, some young boys deem it fit to stutter over
some beat of no substance spewing all things sexuality and what? You and I
nod to it without recourse to its filthy lyrical content.

Whoever said they would stop there, they now go and get some other members
of the other sex, to dress in ways I doubt they’d allow their daughters to,
and shamelessly wriggle and wiggle, squirm and jiggle their waists like
earthworms in soil. Pardon my use of language.

With respect to airing such movie trailers, movies and music videos of
little substance, GTV, TV3, Metro TV, Net 2 TV, Viasat 1, Crystal TV, Multi
TV even TV Africa are all culprits. So bad is it that, female news
presenters, female hosts and female guests have often times come on set with
dresses that revealed their thighs, cleavage and in some cases part of their

The contribution of the internet is by far the most disturbing as it
provides for a limitless access to pornography, yet there is an almost
non-existent mechanism to ensure that it is not abused especially amongst
the youth in our society; most internet café operators like their TV
compatriots are interested in getting their money than anything else. Sad it
is indeed.

With the internet and advanced technology, students in most tertiary
institutions have shamelessly engaged in recorded sexual acts, for only God
knows what, and posted them on internet websites, while several others
transmit it via bluetooth and other means to others.

What exactly my fellow countrymen and women is becoming of the morals and
values we held onto so strongly and with a united accord as a people? My
heart and I trust that of several others bleed over what is currently
pertaining and which situation must be arrested at once.

I disagree that times have changed, what then is time? The sun still rises
from east to west and rain hasn’t ceased to descend from the heavens,
instead from the ground, change, and a negative one at that has affected we
the humans beings and to revert to what used to be, it must start with us.

As a first step at least, all who concur with my submissions as raised in
this piece must pinch themselves to the reality at hand, and then rise up to
correct this anomaly in our own small way. My call, which you all are free
to join in, is to our religious leaders, to civil society groups and well
meaning Ghanaians to rise up against this cancer and take pragmatic measures
to remedy it.

*Let’s stop decency from any further daily defilement, bring morality out of
destitution, be the custodians of true womanhood and strive to make
nakedness the very expensive adult bedroom commodity it ought to be.*

*The ostriches who do not see the looming crisis, must have buried their
heads deep in the sand as usual. But let’s let our positive sense of purpose
and drive to sanitize society not be distracted. WE ARE ALL INVOLVED*.

*© Shaban Barani Alpha *