Wow! Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has just signed a bill which criminalises indecency and promotion of pornography. It is the law on dressing that is specifically targeted towards women as it forbids women from wearing clothes like miniskirts and cleavage- revealing blouses that excite sexual cravings in public, unless for educational and medical purposes or during sports or cultural events. Uganda has led the way and very soon I am anticipating the Zambian moral torch bearers to start requesting government to do the same.
Ugandan lawmakers think that the banning of miniskirts and other revealing clothing will in some way reduce the immorality levels in that country. I would like to see how successful this strategy is. This law in other words can be interpreted to mean that it is there to protect men who have raging hormones that they cannot control and we men are the victims. It is a stupid excuse to give men that they rape, sexually assault and defile children because of a dress code. Really. This law has even gone so far as allowing men to apprehend any woman who dresses indecently, under the citizen’s arrest clause. The question to ask is who among the group of men will decide what is indecent. What one man perceives as indecent may not be the perception of another therefore women will now be victims of perception.
This debate has been creeping into Zambia slowly, where certain factions have been demanding government to place a law that will ban ladies wearing revealing clothes. Their stance is that it is not Zambian culture and women should be decently dressed. They should be wrapped in a chitenge and not revealing their thighs, cleavage and G-strings. We are a Christian nation after all. The use of Zambia as a Christian nation as an excuse why certain decisions should be done away with absolutely makes me sick. It is fine if people say that they cannot stand the miniskirt because they get aroused, or that it is a personal choice not to support the women wearing them. However, to state that they should not be worn because Zambia is a Christian nation is ridiculous.
Let’s say that yes Zambia is a Christian nation, so why not criminalise fornication, adultery, lying, etc, while we are at it. Why aren’t people marching the streets demanding that all liars, fornicators and adulterers are locked up? Why should we choose the bits and pieces of the Christian faith that supports our argument and do away with the rest. Personally, I have better things to do than to care whether a woman is wearing a miniskirt or cleavage revealing clothing. However, what I don’t understand is a woman who wears a miniskirt and has to keep pulling it down or cleavage revealing top and having to cover it with the hand. Why wear it in the first place then? There is a reason it is called a miniskirt in the first place isn’t it. I do feel that dressing whether for a man or woman should be decent, but I will not impose what I think is decent on others.
The banning of miniskirts and revealing clothing in Uganda is clearly misplaced. Perhaps the stance should have been to teach men to respect women and not treat them like objects of our sexual desire. How about showing men that a miniskirt or revealing clothing is not the reason why they will rape or sexually assault a woman but rather it is their own sick mind and that is what they should work on changing. Uganda and Africa as a whole has far more pressing needs such as poverty, corruption, HIV/AIDS, tribalism that need to be addressed than placing what a woman choses to wear top of the agenda.