To blankly imitate a dressing from an American or a Nigerian celebrity without putting one’s social reality in context, (expecting to be accorded the same dignity those stars are accorded) is a form of self-deception.
Recently, concerns have been raised about the rampant display of nudes from youths in Nigeria (as mistakenly released sex tape or dressing). Many have wondered how youths easily imitate nude dressings of celebrities, home and abroad, to either chase clout or for some unknown reason. In a popular all-ladies television breakfast show, the ladies expressed their views individually. Some of them were of the opinion that Nigeria has no clearly defined culture which makes it easy for Hollywood and celebrities to set the dressing standard for them.
A recent example was cited of how a BBNaija housemate imitated Rihanna’s dressing, sparking conversations in Nigeria about what should be acceptable and not. Some ladies insisted that it is the advocacy for a non-judgemental society that has given room to wayward behaviours amongst youths.
Nudity is culturally complex as its meanings emerge from various states of undress in different social situations. It is the state of being in which a human is without clothing or specifically not covering the genitals. In any particular society, these meanings are defined with being properly dressed, not concerning the specific body parts being exposed. Nudity and clothing are connected to many cultural categories such as identity, privacy, social status, and moral behaviour.
Throughout much of history until the beginning of the modern era, people were unclothed in public by necessity or convenience either when engaged in effortful activity, including labour and athletics; or when bathing or swimming. The traditional dress may include nudity, or both women and men being bare-chested.
One would imagine that the exposure of a woman’s breast and genitals would attract men sexually to them, but on the contrary, the parameters for sexual attraction differ from those of the civilized.
In the colonial era, Christian and Muslim cultures more frequently encountered the indigenous peoples of the tropics who used clothing for decorative or ceremonial purposes but were often nude, having no concept of shame regarding the body; thus, the habitual use of clothing only began with civilization though, till date, there are a few tribes like the Koma tribe in Nigeria that scantily cover their nakedness with leaves and kick against clothing as a form of kicking against civilisation. One would imagine that the exposure of a woman’s breast and genitals would attract men sexually to them, but on the contrary, the parameters for sexual attraction differ from those of the civilized.
With the knowledge of the history of clothing and understanding of the peculiarity of nudity to different cultures, social consciousness becomes a key quality to be imbibed by individuals of every society. Social consciousness is a consciousness shared by individuals within a society. It is linked to collective self-awareness and the experience of collectively shared social identity. In Nigeria where most parts are civilized, our conventional dressing moral is to cover up the breast (as women), chest (as men), genitals, and parts closest to these areas like the belly button, cleavage, lap, and the likes. In certain contexts though, such as parties, modeling, and the likes, dressing otherwise seems to be unspokenly permissible. This could be a signal as to why a celebrity (secular artists) in Nigeria would adorn themselves in a nude way and be overlooked, whereas another person who, outside the context of such a dressing, would be highly criticized for putting on such.
Social consciousness is a consciousness shared by individuals within a society. It is linked to collective self-awareness and the experience of collectively shared social identity.
Our identity as a society, no matter how independent we fight to be, individually, governs our dressing conducts in various contexts. To blankly imitate a dressing from an American or a Nigerian celebrity without putting one’s social reality in context, (expecting to be accorded the same dignity those stars are accorded) is a form of self-deception. We should, in every society and context, hold up social consciousness. Freedom is not unintelligence.
♦ Favour Chiagozie Ebubechukwu is an Editorial Staff Writer and columnist with the WAP
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