Indecent dressing or social nudity is now a trend for many Nigerian ladies both married and single. The Nigerian social media space and even entertainment industry is flooded with photos of women exposing their bodies under the guise of being stylish. Daily Trust on Sunday writes on the alarming rate of the new trend.
Fashion has been known to change over time. New trends come out regularly and it’s left to society to hop on the latest trend to ‘feel among’. However, an important question remains, is every trend worth the jump?
The evolution of fashion over time has led to a level where less clothing is the norm and areas of the female body that were once considered private are now viewed as regular body parts.
Many now ponder how nudity became fashionable and how less is now preferred. A lot of people have questioned where to draw the line between being daring, fashionable, and outright indecently clothed.
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In 2022, a lady in a video which went viral on Instagram was seen wearing an asoebi dress which exposed almost all of her chest area. The video left Nigerians with so many questions like “Is this acceptable for the event?”, “Is she really comfortable in what she’s wearing?”, “What ulterior motive does she have?”
Societal expectations of parents preclude inappropriate/indecent clothing for children. When mothers are abruptly confronted by a lady wearing a skirt that is considered too short or shirts with necklines that plunge all the way into the woman’s chest, it is almost difficult to overlook the heavy wrinkled frown on their faces.
However, today, mothers who are meant to help their children uphold certain moral and cultural values are now part of the women engaging in social nudity, therefore giving their children the go-ahead to also do as they please.
Some places may warrant some degree of nudity such as going swimming or to the gym, where you’d prefer to wear shorts as opposed to leggings. But why choose to appear in semi-transparent dress at a church program or to the office?
A 24-year-old lady, Angela Inyang, said she has no problem exposing some parts of her body in a dress as it is what she considers to be appealing and comfortable.
She said; “I have no problem going out in a dress or top that shows off a little cleavage. My ideal dress style must show some cleavage and a slit to show off my thighs. I’m most comfortable that way.
“With the way the world is, I believe people don’t really care about indecent dressing or social nudity apart from elderly people. I think people should be allowed to dress in any way that makes them comfortable.”
On whether her parents support her choice of dressing, Angela stated that her parents often complain of her dress sense but cannot act because she’s of legal age and can do as she pleases.
“My dad complains a lot about my choice of clothing anytime he comes across any of my pictures. But he can’t do much to change it because I’m of age and can make my own decisions,” she said.
As said earlier, this trend is not only peculiar to single girls as even married women and mothers also engage in indecent dressing and social nudity.
Cynthia Munachimso mentioned that she feels safe dressing with some parts of her body exposed as her husband doesn’t complain and her dressing is not a reflection of her motherhood skills.
She said; “My husband is very comfortable with, however, I choose to dress, decently or indecently as he’s never complained to me before, rather, he would hype my outfit. I also deem myself a good mother because I give full attention and cater to the needs of my children and husband.
“My choice to wear a bum short to the mall or a dress with a long slit does not in any way affect my abilities to be the best mother or wife. People may talk and that’s okay, even with my indecent dressing, I am the one married and they are the ones still single and searching.”
Speaking to Daily Trust on Sunday, a mother of 3, Amina Haruna, said it is okay to dress appealing, trendy and feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, however, there must be a limit to the way things are done.
She said; “In recent times, a lot of women have appeared comfortable going out with half of their chests and thighs exposed to the public. Yes, it is trendy, you may look nice and feel admired but the honest truth is that it is indecent.
“A woman’s body is meant to be treated with respect and dignity. By the time you go out exposing what is meant to be private to everyone, what do you expect people to regard you as? What’s worse is that those who go out in short dresses, half the time, are pulling on the cloth to come down.
“That goes to show that even you are not comfortable talk more of the people sitting around you or the people you came with,” she added.
Mrs Haruna also mentioned that some girls cannot be blamed as they are rooted in the idea that their style of dressing will attract them a man.
She said “Many women go out thinking that because their bodies are exposed, they will attract men but as a lady who has male friends, I can boldly say men actually prefer women who dress modestly, it heightens the thrill for them. Coming out with half of your body only screams cheap and accessible for many men.”
Regarding married women and mothers who engage in social nudity, Mrs Haruna noted that whether their husband approves or not, a married woman has to appear decently dressed in other to command the right kind of attention and respect from people.
“If your husband is comfortable with you going half nude, then do it at home not in the public space. A married woman shouldn’t be seen in an outfit which exposes her body except she’s with the husband who’s ready to defend her from every question she’ll get.
“Even with a ring on the finger, seeing a married woman dressed indecently just screams that she’s lose and is on the search for a man’s attention,” Mrs Haruna said.
A father and husband, Ekene Christopher, who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday said there was no possible way he would let his wife or girlchild dress indecently under his roof.
He said; “We live in a society where people are quick to speak and judge someone based on their dressing. I wouldn’t want anyone to see my daughter as poorly trained or worse, being called a prostitute.
“Same thing applies to my wife. She can’t go out and be embarrassing my household by appearing half naked at social and public gatherings. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t want my wife to look appealing but what she’s showing off should be for my eyes only.”
A counsellor who also gave her two cents on the issue, Mrs Emily Egege-Ugiagbe, started by saying; “In Nigeria, even though we operate under two different religions, they are both against indecent dressing of all kinds. Both religions reiterate how a woman’s body is sacred and therefore must be treated as such.
“A woman who decides to dress half naked in public should know that no one will respect her no matter the position or career she holds in the society. A dress is meant to cover your nakedness, so why decide to come out bare?”
Mrs Emily further said that; “Girls and mothers should remember that they don’t just dress for themselves as there are people out there who hold them in high regards and see them as role models. You can be fashionable without following the trend. You can create a standard for yourself that abides by your moral code.
Speaking on the issue of married women who also indulge in social nudity, Mrs Emily said; “No man who truly loves and respects his wife will let her go out half naked in the name of fashion because what will people say, that he cannot control his wife?”