- Post 29 June 2012
- Last Updated on 30 June 2012
- By Osahon Uwagboe
Let me admit that this is one subject matter that really evokes a number of deep thoughts that I really don’t like to share but now I am forced to do so. This is simply for the sake of our ladies and indeed our society. I know this this will hit raw nerves but I really do not mind: It is the case of the doctor having to forget the bitterness of the drug otherwise the patient may not be cured .So just bear with me. This piece is prompted by a front page cover of kate Henshaw, the actress, which I saw on the Punch newspaper of Saturday23rd 2012. When I saw the picture, I immediately sensed some nudity so I first went to the topic because I am one who naturally likes keeping his eyes away from any images that may defile my thoughts. Also, most of the women that appear on the front cover of Saturday Punch newspaper are usually practically nude. Anyway , I somehow managed to tentatively look at the her picture and there was me looking at her thinking that she would have dressed fairly decently because I consider her a sensible person and I sometimes listen to her .But I was so appalled by what I saw: she had it exposed- her mammary glands . I mean her bust almost falling out of her dress. Indeed, I was most disappointed. And because of its ramifications I am forced to speak out.
She is supposed to be a role model to people, I think; after all she is quite popular. Moreover, she is an ambassador for a stock cube product .I mean she is quite a public figure with fairly good reputation, yet she has appeared in this manner. Does she not realize that her bearing is capable of inspiring young people particularly young ladies in that manner, for they see her as a someone to model themselves after. Now, did she not realize the implication of this picture, which was published in a national daily, projects her as an immoral person; and of course her implicit endorsement on such dressing in our society. Again, will she say that she did not give that picture to the newspaper and even if she didn’t they must have got her permission before they published it otherwise let her come out and denounce it.
Now, for practical purposes, in this picture she is a sex symbol and yet she is talking about rape problem and offenders in the Nigerian society. I wonder that she is addressing the rape issue yet she does not realize that the manner in which she appeared, is self- defeating .Didn’t she realize that her image was capable of creating desire in people, at least , in men. I mean when one see such images what naturally happens to the mind is imagination. For the mind begins to consider what was seen and then what is to the benefit of the view. So when one sees this picture one naturally inspired to think sex, for this is a sexually stimulating part of a woman. Thus it is plausible there that a man will think in this way. Moreover, men don’t have it and so it will naturally be an attraction for them.
Regrettably, this is what happens to people out there on the street: being bombarded with these images 24/ seven. Nowadays In our society women just expose themselves shamelessly. In fact it has become the norm for our women, ladies and unfortunately, even the underage wearing all slinky clothes all over the place. And people are just adapting to it. We say it’s in vogue. What type of vogue is this: female folk seeking just to inflict themselves on men with their bodies? But then when the men react to this natural attraction in an undesirable manner they react.
The next thing or the obvious reaction to this position is to put forward the counterargument, that this is not the case. Instead, men should hold themselves and so on. I will hold no brief for man even though I am one nor will be prejudiced .I want us to discuss the problem objectively and free from sentiments for this is what I have observed to be the pattern of issues raised. And this is in the hope that this cat and dog as it were will be finally put to rest.
Now, this issue has spiritual, moral, psychological dimensions to it, so the best approach must be intellectual. Firstly, this issue basically involves are two parties, that is, any matter of rape involves the injured and offender .It can be likened to the predator and the prey context. And since there must be a cause for the prey to be offended, the cause and effect principle could be used determine is problem. Thus the cause would be the possible attraction in the prey while the effect will be the reaction of the predator to this attraction. This leads us to the possible causative factors for rape. Thus we should begin to look at the woman and the things that cause her to raped .Ideally, this can be scientifically done by carrying out a survey which will involve administering questionnaires to the men folk to get their opinions of attraction in women and the effects of such attraction. Also, previous cases of rape can be looked at to see what caused rape, including anecdotal evidence. When all these are mixed together we get a causative factors and variables that are robust for a proper study into this matter. I suggest this any day in order for us to lay this issue to rest once and for all in our society, because it seems to reoccurring case of trading of blames and accusations with each side.
However, we can still do something substantial to this issue without carrying out a proper survey. We can consider other positions concerning it from the different societies in order for us to know what has been established in terms of reasons for rape and not reinvent the wheel as it were. Now, a number of reasons have been put forward for causes of rape-victim precipitation, male pathology, misogyny, male hostility, etc. However, the link between provocative dressing and rape don’t seem to be taken seriously. But we shall narrow down here to provocative dressing since this is being considered as credible rape factor. And if checked, it can reduce the incidents of rape in our society. In fact, it is this subject matter that prompted this piece.
Since this is not a scientific paper we shall just consider secondary data in the form of what has previously been put down with regard to the causes of rape. We shall consider both literature as well as anecdotal evidence. Regrettably, there is not much information out there about the link with provocative clothes and rape cases, except for one that showed that in many law suits in America, provocative dresses, have been used as admissible evidence in court, and are found to be a factor for rape. But to my dismay any position that seems to link the two seems to be come so hard on. It is almost is seen as infringing on civil liberties particularly in women and female folk. For example, only recently a police man, V Dinesh Reddy, the director general of police of Andhra Pradesh ,India ,has received the knocks for making such a connection: He said that the increasing number of rape incidents against women can be linked to provocative dresses. In the Nigerian society there seem not to be data on rape incidents despite the alarming reports in the media of increasing rape cases mostly against the female folk. Police statistics on a website called Nigeria Police Watch, showed that only 1952 rape cases were recorded in 2009. However, an Amnesty International report said the figure is believed to “be sporadic, piecemeal and inconsistent” in a nation of 150 million people.
In view of the dearth of information on rape cases, in particular, with regard to provocative dressing, we have to turn to anecdotal evidence .Now, the problem is that clothes may not always be a direct cause of rape but the fact remains that men have generally said that the distinctive parts of a woman that are exposed, especially their posterior and upper anterior, etc. create erotic thoughts and stimulate sexual desire. This is simply because they make a connection in the mind with the images. After all, consider the usual reaction of female folk when someone stares or touches them in those areas even if by mistake-they mostly get really wild. Thus, when they dress to expose those areas even when it is just with plunging necklines, crop tops, and egregiously the top part (cleavages) of their posterior are they not certainly sending out a message of open invitation.
What is more, is it not common practice for men to make passes at women who expose their bodies with minimal dressing? Importantly, why do the sex workers all over the world, particularly in western societies dress in a manner that exposes their particularly female body parts. This can’t be coincidental. It happens practically all over the world except for some countries that strictly forbid that type of dressing. And clearly, this type of dressing is suitable for their trade given the commonality involved. And since their occupation is to provide copulation or sex to men it is plausible that such type of dressing facilitate sexual desire in men. After all, this is what they seek. Thus, for any other woman on the street, whether sex worker or not, if you dress in this manner-body tight clothes- you are simply creating the same effect in men.
Now, with regard to the law about dressing: we are not to be indecently exposed. But then what constitutes indecent dressing?. Is it only when people come out stark naked and expose their naked parts? For us to simply take that we would just be missing the spirit of the law and holding on to the letter. The idea behind it is not to simply arrest people who are naked but to say that anything that will provoke sexual activity such as stark nakedness should be condemned. Thus, any type of dressing that is effectively creating those erotic thought should equally be outlawed. After all, they do not need to be exposed fully to achieve that. Is this not why we see the police raid the sex workers who hang around certain areas with their skimpy attires.
Now, our concern is not so much that wearing this clothes cause rape. It is simply that it seems to be a credible factor for inducing erotic thoughts in men, and this results in desire which gets expressed through the other general reasons for rape. Hence, there cannot be any scientific proof of provocative dressing but we can, at least, say that it is an underlying cause of rape. After all, when people have their minds bombarded with these thought s 24/7 how else will they behave, for this is what they think about. I am not in anyway justifying men but I am just being realistic. And if this can be established to be a cause we should then seek to prevent people from dressing in our public places so as to reduce the incidences of rape to the barest minimum.
Regrettably, in our society this is just the order of the day. And this is found mostly among the young ones. It has become so bad that some educational institutions now impose a dress code. It baffles when one considers how low or cheap women have stooped to make themselves attractive to men. They now bizarrely wear their trousers on their posterior to show the crevasse therein. This is most disgusting and. Reprehensible.I can’t really imagine how far some of our female folk have gone just in the name of attracting men. To me it’s just outrageous and insanity. I mean when they sit down they have it all exposed. This is really frightening; even our establishments are not left out, it is the other way round, they have their bust just pushed into the faces of customers. Sometimes you can’t just help but turn your faces away.
In this regard, women who continue to dress in this manner make themselves cheap in the eyes of men; for they merely make themselves sex objects. After all, they are no different from the prostitutes that hang around street corners since one does not need to expose the body to draw attention from people. Let’s not say its fashion. It is clearly evil and grossly irresponsible; I mean we see married women dress in this manner. So what do you want to tell your children as well as the other young folk? As for young people, serious men will not go for you. Let’s stop trying to belong, if the western society is doing it wrong we do not necessarily have to behave that way. For most of these dressing styles are copied from these so called super stars.
Unfortunately, these ones bring themselves to stardom through their obnoxious ways, and their ignoble dressing is being celebrated in our societies. We need to begin to condemn them. In this regard, I am particularly pleased with condemnation of Kim kardashian by a head mistress of a British school, Dr. Helen Wright. I wonder how many people saw the news report on yahoo that showed this head school teacher in the U.K denounce the dressing of Kim-practically nude- on the front page of the Zoo magazine May 12,2012: she is everything wrong with the western society-Kim was named the hottest woman in the world. For me this condemnation is real refreshing given the decadence of that society. Well, with regard to Kate Henshaw, she has a following and enough pull power. I have really not spoken about others in this manner because they are really off, and of course positive people will not emulate them .But for those who we see to be sane and we want to emulate we must come down on them. Thus we must begin to condemn those who we consider to be sane and are behaving outrageously by their dressing.
From the foregoing, it is clear that dressing indeed can play role in this rape issue. Thus our concern now should be what preventive mechanism should be in place to check indecent dressing. But given that indecent dressing is open to all kinds of interpretation among the populace. We must come up with a dress code, that defines what exactly is decent dressing. I know some private establishments have such things well defined. The national orientation agency must rise to this challenge to impose some dress code especially for women. This can easily come under the “Do the right thing” campaign. Thus, all those who against rape in our society, particularly the civil society groups, should come together and join forces with the Government to get a dress code in place as part of a preventative mechanism while their effort at condemning offenders and rape in itself should not cease.