Is your dress really your choice?

Posted: November 16, 2014 in choices have consequences, My dress my choice, nudity is not my choice
Is your dress really your choice?
Over the past couple of days we have been treated to bouts of online activism in the name of #MyDressMyChoice, a campaign that started with a video showing a young woman being stripped in Nairobi streets going viral online. 

For the longest time this campaign was one sided, but now there is a strong voice coming out to tell people – “stop – there is something else here.”

Well, it is very important that from the onset I state my stand that I do not support violence against women in any form. I would use the term “barbaric” and any other term that sends the same meaning to describe the action of men who stripped this woman and several others before her of their dignity.

Nudity is not others’ choice

Allow me to quote the words of a fellow blogger whom I must say I don’t usually agree with but in this case I think he might indeed have appoint. On a post on twitter, Robert Alai says:

“We must have order in every society. Anyone arguing for a society of infinite freedom is daft. #NudityIsNotMyChoice.”

When we say “my dress, my choice” does it mean that we become unconcerned with what effect our mode of dressing would have on others?

Our very progressive constitutions has given as a lot of freedoms including those of expression and dressing is one of those ways that we express ourselves, that same constitution however has given limitations to those rights and freedoms with the overriding principle being “your rights end where mine begin.”

That essentially means you can enjoy your rights to the extent to which you start infringing on the rights of other people.

So how then do we reconcile this group who hold the school of thought that “their dress (including what might be considered nudity) is their choice” with the other group that says “stop, nudity is not my choice.”

Moral values

As a society that is bound within the borders of what is known as Kenya today, what does this speak of our moral values?

Are we ready to seek out our rights even if those same rights defy our moral fabric?

When we say “My Dress, My Choice” are we being alive to the old phrase that says “choices have consequences?” – That when we decide to act in a certain way then we should be ready to deal with the consequences of the choices we made without crying foul?

Again I am not trying to give people who live in the past an excuse, but rather opening up discussion on a bigger debate – the morality debate.

The morality debate is not just about miniskirts and the hemline, it is about everything we are willing to give latitude to as a society. The next thing we will be seeing are prostitutes asking for their trade to be legalized and with the latitude we are extending they will get that, then we will stop asking questions when we see underage girls in night clubs and before we know it corruption will so much be within our rights.

READ: LESSONS FROM WANGARI MAATHAI

Appropriate dress code

The dressing menace we have in this country today is not just limited to women but truth is that it is present in every facet of our lives. Granted this is not a debate that will end with public demonstrations on the streets of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
Just what is appropriate, where?

The noise we are currently making on twitter and facebook will wane down but the question of dressing and morality will always be here with us for a long while.

Everyday in the office, at school and in church or other places of worship we see people dressed in a manner that we consider in appropriate and as I saw somebody put it on twitter “nobody made you (or me) the moral police to be the judge on how people should dress.”

However, as they say that dressing is one of the important ways through which we communicate it is important that we as a society decide on the appropriateness of the message we send through our dressing.

Your dress, your choice.

Choices have consequences.

Nudity is not some people’s choice.

This debate however doesn’t need to be about the left and the right….there is a middle ground and that is where the issue we should be addressing is.

So as you exercise your rights to express yourself, remember the words I started with “We must have order in every society. Anyone arguing for a society of infinite freedom is daft.”

This article was also submitted for publication on online news portal hivisasa.com
                                        Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde

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