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Opinions of Friday, 24 February 2017

Columnist: Abdul-Noomin Tahiru

The fight against indecent dressing

By Abdul-Noomin Tahiru

It has been noticed with great concern that the various styles of dressing – Oto Pfista, Show-your-stomach, Apuskeleke, Bare-back, Hold my ties, Skinny, Show-your-beads etc – among many young men and women are causing a lot of devastating effects on the moral upbringing of children and youth in Ghana. The problem is so serious that even children at the pre-school and lower primary levels are taking to same styles of dressing.

What is even more worrying is that our brothers and sisters at the Universities and Polytechnics, who, in the not-too-distant future will be writing applications to fill very responsible positions in the running of national affairs, who, therefore must parade themselves as role models, are themselves deeply indulged in this dehumanizing, downgrading, disgraceful, reprehensible, blameworthy act of indecent dressing.

A visit to any public place; the banks, ministries, telecom offices, super markets, the ports, bus stations, just to mention but a few, reveals a bizarre spectacle of indecently dressed young men and women who, in the opposite, rather present themselves as the agents of modernity. Even in our higher institutions of learning– universities, polytechnics and lately our teacher training colleges, students are seen half-naked flooded all over the campuses as if they were commercial sex workers in pursuit of their clients.

Now, it has even descended to our Senior High Schools and Basic Schools where students and pupils at these levels who basically look up to their seniors and elder brothers and sisters at the higher levels as their role models also take to various degrees of indecent and immoral dress codes thereby further depleting the moral fibre of society. More pathetically to note, is that, kids at the pre-school levels PULL OTO at the least opportunity.

The covering of our nakedness which is one of the most important reasons for dressing is no longer a thing to remember by today’s youth. Rather, the more naked one is, the more they are accepted among their peers. This is a pity! If a young man does not expose his boxer shorts (some of which are very dirty and unattractive) and pull Oto, he is not counted among the high class. Those who dress with their trousers and shorts at the waist level are seen to be colloquial.

If a young lady does not expose the v-shape of the breast and wear contour-exposing skin-tight dresses and probably expose the thighs and beads mainly to seduce unsuspecting men around, then she is not counted among her peers. What is even more worrying is that, the more naked one is in the sex market, the more clients she can get within the operational period (which could be day or night).

The big questions that arise therefore are;

1. If the youth are truly the elders of tomorrow, what will Ghana look like by the year 2030 when the current youth will by then be leading societal affairs?

2. Shouldn’t society do anything about this devastating canker?

3. Is it not possible for us to go back to the dress codes of our great grandfathers?

Following the aforementioned destructive penetrations into the moral fibre of our dear nation, Ghana, there is an urgent need for a collaborated effort by all stakeholders in societal building to rise up against this devastating menace.


MAJOR CAUSES OF INDECENT DRESSING

1. In order to escape from the web of poverty, some young people tend to mortgage their dignity and future prospects by depleting their human and physical capital and adopting risky behaviours including prostitution which is a harbinger of indecent dressing and exposure.

2. Influx of foreigners into Ghana. Some foreigners whose cultures do not see anything wrong with certain dress codes, seen as contrary to the locally accepted standards of decency in Ghana come in with such dress codes influencing our young men and women. Typical examples of such dress codes are boys in ear rings, exposing of busts, chest, abdominal parts, buttocks and other sensitive parts like thighs and breasts. All these are out of tone with our indigenous Ghanaian cultures.

3. Wrong mentality. While agreeing that we have a serious problem at hand, many people have the mentality that nothing can be done about it. They argue strongly that the young people of every generation have pervading social behavioural characteristics and that such behaviours are part of social change and must be allowed to stay as they are.

4. Poor parenting is a major factor. Some parents dress in unacceptable ways, making it difficult for them to correct their wards when they see them indecently dressed. Some adults also provide inspiration for these young ones to continue to indulge in indecent dressing and exposure to their admiration. Some parents are unable to seize indecent dresses sewn or bought by their children.

5. Our Churches are also a breeding ground for indecent dressing. Some members of the Church congregation dress in all sorts of indecent fashions that the elders turn a blind eye to. As this continues, others also imitate.

6. Wrong use of internet cannot be ruled out. Some students of higher institutions of learning who are supposed to use the internet to do research rather engage in social networks like facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Imo, Whatsapp among others. They also watch videos on youtube and other networks that expose them to foreign dress codes that are not in conformity with our indigenous Ghanaian cultures and then try to emulate such dressings.

7. The types of movies our children watch at homes also promote indecent dressing. Most of our Nigerian movies, especially, have various degrees of indecent exposures that children shouldn’t have been watching. Yet parents are unable to control this.

8. Peer pressure.

9. Another important cause of indecent dressing is the fading out of our own cultural values and a so-called modernization. In the past, the privacy of individuals was their dignity. Today, the more naked one is the more respected he or she is among peers.

10. Stigmatization and ridicule being meted out to young girls in particular who dress decently and well-covered by their colleagues who only see them as being anti-social, backward and primitive causes such young girls to try to look like their colleagues so as to escape being ostracized. This is not peer pressure.

POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES

1. It leads to rape
2. It promotes prostitution
3. It triggers sexual assault
4. HIV/AIDS as a result of illicit sex, prostitution and sexual assault encouraged by indecent exposure
5. Disrespect among young men and women
6. Infestation of younger ones who apparently look up to their elder ones as models
7. Moral decadence. The hitherto morally upright society is gradually being replaced by a society filled with indecency and which will consequently be accepted by all players in that society.
8. Stigmatization. A two-way form of stigmatization occurs as those who dress decently are teased by the agents of immorality and vice versa.

WAY FORWARD

1. Adults should dress decently and responsibly to constitute good models for younger ones to emulate.
2. The state should enact laws outlawing indecent dressing.
3. Society should place stiff punishments for culprits of indecent dressing.
4. The authorities of Higher Institutions of Learning should prescribe dress codes or uniforms for all students and make decency a key element.
5. There is the need for society to undergo some form of attitudinal change.
6. Religious leaders should preach against indecencies in the churches and mosques and offer prayers and sacrifices for divine intervention.
7. The media houses have a role to play in educating and sensitizing the general public on the dangers associated with all forms of indecent dressing.
8. Companies looking for employees should consider their dressing styles before giving them appointment and withdraw employees who later take to indecent dressing.
9. Media commission should outlaw the showing of movies that are indecent in terms of dressing by actors and actresses.
10. Importation of certain dresses that are considered indecent by Ghanaian moral standards should be banned.

We have to harness the individual efforts of religious bodies, civil society groups, NGOs, government organizations among others including young people themselves who are the major stakeholders towards the total elimination of this canker in the Ghanaian society. We shall strive to sharpen the critical faculties of Ghanaians by exposing indecency and all its associated dangers in the proper upbringing of young people in ways that will ginger everybody to take up arms totally liquidate this dehumanizing menace.


Writer's e-mail:E-Mail: Strongchoo2013@gmail.com