Monthly Archives: February 2015
In my last blog post about women and provocative clothing, I urged everyone to dress right for the right reasons; namely, integrity and respect for one’s self and others and not for the intention of enticing the opposite sex or the prevention of this intention.
Secondly, we must dress for comfort as weather conditions demand. Also, different regions of the world have different dress codes for various reasons, some good and some not so good.
I remember when I was growing up in African society, I was told that in the olden days, especially in the Igbo community, women were forbidden to wear pants or closed underwear, but instead, they must dress in wrappers, long skirts, and open undies (called “abanti”, for easy access by men, obviously their husbands). This may sound ridiculous, but I understand that culture demanded that and women had to comply or face the risk of public ridicule, assault, heavy fines, or even banishment.
How far have we progressed from that mentality? Just last week, it was reported that police arrested religious sect members, (Valiant Purity members), who flog women who wear trousers in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. They believe that trousers belong to men and women should desist from wearing them, according to the message the men claimed to receive from God.
As far as wearing trousers is concerned, I have a personal experience I will share to make my point: Having lived in the western world for over four decades, I feel very comfortable in trousers and see nothing wrong with that choice of dressing in normal circumstances. On one of my visits home, I decided to go to Onitsha main market for shopping, dressed in my favorite jean trouser suit. After pushing myself through the crowded market lines, I was hot,sweating, and pressed to use the restroom. Since there were no signs anywhere for public restrooms, (a must in the western society), I had to approach some female traders sitting in front of their shades. In a low voice I asked them where I could ease myself. They looked at one another, and then, one of them looked at me and raised her voice saying:”Oh, you have pants on, sorry. You would have gone behind my shade/stall, to ease yourself but with this type of outfit, it is impossible. Nobody warned you?” I was shocked and had to stop shopping to find my way home in spite of heavy traffic.
After that experience, I never wore a pair of pants during that visit until I was on my way to the airport. It was only then that I saw the reason why most women over there factor this necessity into their daily attire. Men can ease themselves anywhere, even between two parked vehicles, and women with the convenient dressing, can get by somehow in a tight corner. This is a very good reason to dress appropriately for convenience in case of such emergencies.
In my opinion, this is the only valid reason not to wear pants in such societies that lack basic restroom conveniences, even the least unclean would do. For those so called “God’s messengers” who flog women in trousers, as well as others with outdated cultural biases, my advice is that they should come up with better and more mature reasons.
I think it is insulting to men for the society to believe that women’s dressing can provoke men into irresponsible acts. These insults should stop. Rather, raising awareness about the necessary comfort and convenience connected with appropriate dressing will resonate more with women and result in more compliance with approximate dressing.
My own experience is a good lesson for all. Let us do the right things for the right reasons and eliminate the confusion and controversy of double standards of hiding under religious and cultural insecurities to instill fear and control. I will always dress decently, comfortably, and appropriately because of the respect I have for myself and others. This is my reality. It is my choice.
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Have a blessed day,
Dr Mother Love