By Lilian Aina
In Nigeria, more is usually expected of the woman and her not living up to the weight of society’s expectations would drag down her, unasked for, dignity.
We see this most especially in the way women are expected to have a polite way of dressing i.e them not doing too much but still doing enough so they can level up to a degree of acceptable fashion.
Just this week we had two closely related cases of female celebrities who posted, their rather innocent ,pictures if I say so myself but received quite a lot of backlash from people that thought of the pictures as immoral.
These pictures showed the artiste, Tiwa Savage half clad with a bathroom towel and the Hausa Actress, Rahama Sadau in a backless gown, something which she has put up a video as well as a long thread to apologise for.
We all seem to forget that every individual living in a just society has their own freedom, not just freedom of speech but freedom to do other things, more importantly to dress how they want to. And it always seems like a shock to me to know that people still police what other people wear and do more of this policing when it’s a female and God forbid a popular one for that matter.
You see, in Nigeria, we all automatically judge women more than we do men.
We check to see if a woman’s skirt isn’t too short, there might even be a problem if it’s too long as she’d be labelled a SU. We check to see if her hair colour isn’t too bright, something that’s not out of the ordinary black and occasional brown. We even check the little things like how her fixed nails are just too long and wonder why she would paint them that colour that’s too “loud”.
Now under the public eye, these celebrities receive double fold of what every woman receives.
While I think everyone has their right to their own opinions and would certainly not judge you or your beliefs about what’s acceptable when it comes to dressing.
I, however, believe that everyone should be allowed to dress how they want and maybe if everyone else just stopped focusing on what other people had on then there wouldn’t be need for all these chaos.
What seems like an inconsequential thing to write about in the grand scheme of things, especially with everything that’s going on in Nigeria, is actually quite serious as it seeps into talks about rape where some people believe that it’s because of the woman’s clothing “temptations” that causes them to be raped.
It’s the way society immediately asks “what did she have on?” whenever they hear about assault cases.
And this idea is one that’s completely false but yet still prevalent among older generations and younger ones alike. This year we had a lot of people come out to tell their sexual assault stories and if there’s one thing to notice, it shows how clothes or whatever the woman had on isn’t the reason why she was raped but rather the perpetrator mental is
The culture of indecent dressing in Nigeria, depending on what you think is decent or indecent, is one that might just be here to stay as more people seem to be breaking away from what we have being taught is the norm and taking their freedom to dress how they want to.