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28.11.2011 Opinion

Women’s bodies for sale?

By Ghanaian Chronicle
Women’s  bodies for sale?
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SOME OF us 'Gold Coasters' are becoming increasingly sad and alarmed at the way our women, especially our young women, are allowing themselves to be exploited in films, music videos, advertisements, on television and on-stage, live performances by musicians.

What probably started as a trickle sometime ago is now a flood that is eroding our moral defences and sweeping them away.

Literally on a daily  basis, films  produced  in Nigeria and in our own country seem to try to out-do one another in portraying our women as debauched persons engaging in heavy drinking,  heavy smoking and heavy sex.

It does not matter if there is only simulation so that no sex, no drinking of alcohol or no   smoking of real cigarettes takes place. What is important is that the 'make-believe' portrayal may be taken literally by the young impressionable minds watching these films. They accept them as real and may imitate what they see in these films.

No one should tell me that some of these  films carry warnings that  parental  guidance  (PG)  is required, it is still possible for very young persons  to gain access  to these films within  or   without their parents' guidance or consent.

Talking of simulation in the drinking and smoking scenes, what about the skimpy mini-skirts that leave nothing to the imagination and the tantalizing puffed-up breasts of these film-actresses? It seems that these film producers and their financial backers think that a film that will be a box-office success should contain as many scenes of sex and near-nudity as possible.

I understand there is a body responsible for censoring films to ensure that they meet certain legal and moral standards.  Is that body still working? And is it that somebody that allows in the influx of all the pornography? Or is it the case that I am an old-fashioned 'Gold Coaster' unable to appreciate new trends?

On-stage, live performances by musicians see the male musician and his male back-ups fully clothed. On the contrary, the young, female back-ups are almost always practically nude in skimpy mini-skirts.

Apart from their display of near-nudity, they also frequently turn their backs on the audience, push out their bottoms and lewdly wriggle them in a way suggestive of sexual intercourse. Unfortunately, the audience is seen and heard applauding.

Indeed, there are one or two female musicians who have trade-marked near nudity. They consistently appear on stage wearing next to nothing. Once again, unfortunately, they are much sought-after because the audience likes them to appear nude or almost so.

No matter how bad a musical composition may be, it seems that the work will still sell if it is   accompanied by a music video that shows near-naked young women with pushed-up breasts and lewd wriggling of the ample buttocks.

Manufacturers and advertisers of hard, alcoholic liquors have also targeted our young women. These young women are portrayed as extolling the alleged good qualities of such alcoholic liquors, and they are pictured quaffing the drinks with reckless abandon.

It is sad to note that, in real life, outside films, music videos, television and live stage performance, our young women actively portray themselves as sex objects to be admired or ogled at.

Whether it is art imitating life, or life imitating art, these young women see nothing wrong with exposing their bodies in skimpy mini-skirts and blouses that barely cover the midriff and breast exposed to the whole wide world. We are all familiar with the 'I am aware' phenomenon.

Occasionally, even an adult woman who should know better and be a moral role model, she caricaturizes herself by dressing like a teenager. By the Grace of God, it has not become an epidemic yet.

Even as a 'Gold Coaster' I am fully aware that, in clothing as in so many other areas, fashions change. Consequently, I do not expect to see a young woman, formally educated or not, wearing Victorian frocks that went all the way down to the ankle.

Still, while we cannot be stuck in the groove while there is change around us, we must be careful how we adopt without making the necessary adaptation to suit our clime, our thinking, our norms, etc.

If you think that, at 75 years, I am a doddering old fool completely out of touch with 21st Century thinking, then ponder over this fact:

A few years ago, some male and female students of the University of Ghana came together and demonstrated on campus against what they saw as indecent dressing by some of their fellow Legon students. They were not old people like me but young ones, as the television pictures showed.

From the look of things, it seems that the demonstration did not stop the 'I am aware' and 'Apuskelele' phenomenon but, at least, they had made a point that not every young person   approved of the indecency.

You know something? One self-appointed, so called gender activist actually criticized the female students who took part in the demonstration. She  said that what the female students did rather went to shore up the point sometimes made that women were their own worst enemies.

Believe it or not, instead of applauding what the female students did, she rather criticized them. Of course, the students promptly hit back.

The point being made here is that, sometimes it is these so-called female gender activists who come up with all kinds of arguments as to what constitutes indecent dressing. Some of the lawyers amongst them talk of indecent exposure as defined by the law.

They also talk of a person's human right, especially a woman's right to do whatever she likes with her body. The irony is that, while these so-called female gender activists defend the right of a woman to dress to please herself, they themselves dress, not only to conform with the laws on indecent exposure, but also with the society's norms on decent dressing.

It reminds you of the defenders of so-called homosexual rights telling you that, though they themselves do not practice homosexuality, those who do so must be allowed to indulge their sexual preferences.

Yes, I can  hear  the point  that there are  more important  matters  to  talk  about, such as  education, health, employment, etc. I agree.

But in talking about young women and their behaviour, we are talking of how the next generation ought to be shaped. Our young women today are the mothers of tomorrow who must ready themselves to take up the challenge of brining up that next generation.

Indecency should not be part of their upbringing.

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