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April 30, 2008 | Education

A MATTER OF DRESS

THE news that a lecturer at the University College of Education, Winneba, has prescribed a dress code for his students sounds like some kind of comic relief, and a topic that the FM radio discussion programmes will make much of.

One can also imagine the exasperation that must have led to this somewhat drastic action by the lecturer, who has apparently decided to generate a 'dress-decently-campaign', a stand against the indecency being exhibited in public places by some young people — and some adults.

By indecency one means very revealing attire which causes embarrassment or offence to others and which has been the subject of concern in many quarters and many platforms.

But behind the smiles and the laughter his action will generate, there is a very serious issue that many people in the society can identify with, the indecent way of dressing that many young people have adopted.

Some people may see it as an evident lack of dress sense — knowing how to dress right for different places and occasions. Others may also see it as a misunderstanding of 'being fashionable'.

While some people believe that one can be fashionable without immodest dress or dressing in a way that will raise eyebrows, others are of the view that the more outrageous the style, the more one is being fashionable.

Although girls and some women are identified with the wearing of immodest clothes, it is true that some boys, and men, also cause offence by their outrageous dressing.

Some people would blame it all on foreign influences and the alienation of the nation's youth from their cultural roots.

Many youths have an obsession with copying whatever they see in films and on TV, notably the music videos; or find themselves unable to resist peer pressure.

They forget that what they are seeing are performers and performances. Besides, they belong to other cultures and therefore should not be adopted wholesale here.

As has often been pointed out on various platforms, perhaps part of the problems has to do with the preoccupation of many parents and guardians with their work, leaving their children growing up without the necessary guidance — and discipline.

Thankfully, fashion is a passing phase, and thankfully, too, the majority of youths are very sober and down-to-earth; and they dress modestly.

But parents and guardians need to take more interest in what their wards are doing and what influences they may be copying blindly through misguided peer pressure.

The present world may be more liberal than it has ever been, and young people all over the world probably have more rights and freedoms than has ever been the case.

However, from time to time when young people are going wrong they need to be told so.

Indeed, some young people appreciate discipline; and proof of this lies in the fact that the lecturer's dress code has reportedly, and surprisingly, not met with any resistance and the measure seems to be enjoying their support.

Some guidance is good for the young because they will soon grow into adults and the adult world is neither one of freedom, nor a permissive one — notably, not in this part of the world.

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