by Bunmi Aroyewun
On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, one Mr Jibril Sado featured in The Punch newspaper a rejoinder to an article on: How to Treat a Naked Woman. The write-up was a response to earlier one written on November 27, 2014 by Abimbola Adelakun.
Abimbola who took his inspiration from some women and men in faraway Kenya that ‘protested a culture that strips a woman naked– to enhance her dignity and protect the sanctity of their society’ had in his write up surrendered to all values that are antithetical to Africa, elevated even the strange modern culture that are hunting the West and condemned African culture as myth that never existed.
In his words, ‘it never fails to amuse how some folk paralyse themselves with nostalgia of an Africa that probably never existed…. Today, a number of the values people attribute to traditional African values are Victorian ideals, prompted by colonial incursion into their societies.’’
Abimbola also blamed ‘shame’ about nudity or being ‘naked’ on social conditioning, quoting a misleading anthropological account by Alfred B. Ellis – first published in 1894 and ‘some other accounts’ that debunk myths of sexual puritanism – where people have sex only for procreation.
Bit Sado in an attempt to exonerate women from taking responsibility through their subscription to lewd culture that prompted men to prowl on them blamed the African and Arabian world for sexual harassments of women. He also holds the puritan culture responsible for allowing such other issues like the Kenyan woman harassment to thrive.
The article keep one wondering if Sado had the slightest understanding of the implication of his assertion as he failed to convincingly prove to his readers the particular aspects of the African and Arabian social systems that encourage abuse and disrespect of the women folk.
Contrary to his assertion on the inappropriateness of the African and Arabian culture, the modern day culture (not only Western) which has been imported from different climates and region, is leading the womenfolk towards annihilation both in substance and figure. There are various interpretation of what defines a sophisticated woman, all of which defies the true essence of her existence and impacts negatively on her natural purpose.
Woman these days dominates discussions in many fora: seminars, symposiums and academic gatherings. She is discussed in various media outfits: both print and broadcast; online publications and tabloids. Some of the discussions often steer up quite a lot of arguments, debates and in fact inspires further studies which I suppose is because of her uniqueness.
The woman has also occupied an interesting position in the hearts of many in these past few weeks; thanks to the United Nation’s day tagged: the International Day for the Rejection of Violence Against Women.
Writing about the uniqueness of the woman can be very moving and amusing. Thanks to the woman, for without her, the future of man is insecure. Thus the woman, with her overbearing presence in the society deserves to occupy the most conceivable elevated and honorable position!
Every man is required by the law of nature to respect the emotions and position of every woman in his life simply because he wouldn’t find himself in any meaningful relationship and the associated nomenclatures; be it a father, brother, son or even in-law, except for the consequential relevance and presence of a woman’s figure in his live.
Violence against any female sex; be it a child, adolescent, spinster, married, widowed or aged, is therefore a despicable act, not only towards the individual but the general public. Violence, be it sexual or physical certainly can not be excused away on any justifiable reason. Such appalling actions toward the female folk, who according to some scholars, is the stronger of the two sexes (in terms of life expectancy) should never be tolerated on the very vulnerable member of a society.
Having said that, it must be stated unequivocally that for every right, there is a corresponding duty or obligation. We all might have read or heard recently in the media, series of reports on the notorious ill-famed paedophiles who could not seek legal and upright means of satisfying their canal desires than to seek and wrongly trap the innocence of our female minors. How on earth and why in all sense of decency will anyone who calls himself a man with females in his family and lineage enjoys inflicting indelible stigma and harrowing pains in the life of an innocent minor, all in the name of gratifying ill-fated sexual urge.
Its either we have become more incognizant of the rampaging effects of this act on our decaying society, engendered by our negligence of good moral practices on the mental health of people, or we are simply not paying attention to the consequences of licentiousness and promiscuity on the society at large.
We seem to always want to emulate every thing from the West without a reason to look back and sieve the grains from the chaff, the reverberation of which is ripping the society apart.
It is obvious that every man who gratifies his sexual urges from a minor doesn’t have the fire of his animalistic passion lit by that minor, as women, we therefore must be very cautious of any of our actions that may spur potentially rapacious men on, for one innocent, defenceless child out there might be the one to pay the price for our careless actions.
For crying out loud, why are women usually the object often depicted as representing seduction and sexual themes? Why do we allow ourselves to be subjugated by the society by dressing and dancing dishonourably on teevee when the men dress corporately even at beaches? Why do we use ourselves as sexual appeal for men who eventually go away with all the benefits and the profits of the promos. Why do we sell our humanity and indeed our womanhood cheaply? And why do women activists and civil societies keep criminal silence with none of them embarking on Campaign for Restoration of Women Values and Dignity!
As women, we owe ourselves the duty to protect ourselves and our future generation from being constantly reduced to agents of entertainment. This is depicted in the portrayals of women in the various media as objects of sexual ignition. For example, in a game of American football or rugby, the men are usually well clad in their sport suits leaving no part of the skin bare, but reverse is the case in the female version. This is also reflected in athletics, long tennis, wrestling and a host of other sports worldwide.
The question that now arises is: who is more deserving of a decent and protective sports suit than the women? What social benefits are there in exposing so much, all in the name of a game?
Our major problem is our inability to make judgments based on the unfolding natural laws which, if distorted, continues to impact negatively on the structure of the society. Men and women play complementary roles in the society. That is the way of the natural laws, which are in themselves inherent. Deviation from this is usually detrimental, which explains the alarming rate of sexual perversion in different garbs.
Paradoxically, Jibril Sado advanced security reason for supporting legislative actions against outfits that cover every inch of the body, but he inadvertently contradicted the very essence of his write up, which is to show his solidarity for the female folk.
Sado must understand that women who wear apparels that conceal all parts of their body simply do so on the basis of their religious beliefs and under the protection of national constitution and universal laws. Curiousity of a prying eye to know the personality behind the cloak cannot diminish this fundamental human right.
Here is a group of women who have decided to remain pure, preserve their beauty and protect their chastity by choosing an appropriate adornment to aid restoration of sanity into a sex-driven society. Such a mode of dressing becomes a veritable tool to make the women have the full control of their privacy and sexuality.
Sado unsuccessfully strive to link how the choice to be decent impacts on the security of a society. He failed woefully to prove how these women of purity constitute harm to the society.
If the claim that some women in similar clothing allegedly carried out recent bombings, how does that justify the passing of a law that prohibits such? If we do not prohibit the wearing of other types of clothing worn by perpetrators of iniquities in our society, how do we then contemplate that for those who choose to be decent?
It’s will be naive and mischievous to disparage the hijab or various cultural dressings that encourages bashfulness because some criminals disguise in it to engage in terrorism. Have we forgotten that many contemporary evils are committed by the men in suits, blazers and tie? And does that in anyway a security threat to a nation?
Our recent the national history is replete with women in ankara brocade with head ties who steal billions under the guise of being financial experts, while others use ethnic “hats” to convey “innocence” while they engage in multi billion naira robbery. Do we then condemn or ban ankara, suits and hats because of these? That will amount to pettishness and narrow-mindedness.
Nay, this is one too many of the different actions that are meted against the womenfolk, infringing on their inalienable rights: the choice to be decent and be different in a way that undermines no societal progress.
Religions and social systems that are puritan in nature are not to be blamed for our heedlessness. All they seek is a society, free of sexual perversions. A universal maxim says: if a nation is good, give credit to the women and if it is bad, hold women responsible. Another one says: behind every successful man, there is a wonderful woman.
Women are indispensable to a virile society, but with different roles and diverse functions from the men’s. Life is like a puzzle with different shapes and sizes, thus our roles as males and females are different but complementary. There can only be equality of men and women and not equity. For instance, woman enjoys the same quantum of rights to life, dignity, security and to own property as man, but her roles is not exactly the same as that of man. She has special roles which confers on her a priceless agent in every given society.
Consequently, for men who physically abuse women; you are weak and mean and would need some help.
For groups and individuals who work towards relegating the status of a woman, the woman is here to stay with her distinctively defined roles. Do not trample upon her rights and she would keep off yours.
For men, who endlessly blame the women folk for their uncontrollable sensual feelings and assault, why not take to discipline. Lower your gaze, refrain from lustful gazes and shun places and sites that engender those feelings which eventually stimulate the animal instinct and incite you to anti-social behaviours!
Bunmi Aroyewun writes from Lagos.