There is now a widespread of indecency in all spheres of life. Countless teenagers and even adults have watched ‘Game of Thrones’ without considering it a mild form of pornography. Sex scenes in movies have become the norm. Year after year, sex scenes are becoming much more explicit. Indecency is also being subtly exposed to children in cartoons. Disney, the first contact most kids have with television, keeps on presenting homosexuality in subtle and mild forms. Indecency is now glorified with little resistance.
It is no wonder that the winner of Big Brother Naija is expected to go home with a whooping sum of 25 million naira and a brand new SUV. Artistes have become mini-gods and several thousands of naira is invested in entertainment. Youths now take musicians and dancers as their role model. A population that once vehemently opposed indecency is now indifferent to it. We have all almost adopted the ideology that everyone can do as he pleases with his life. We have all conditioned ourselves to staying away from issues that do not directly affect us. Every container will no doubt overflow with whatever it is being constantly filled with.
Continuous exposures to concepts usually cause us to find sense in them even when sense is non-existent in them. Taking BBNaija as an example, most people reviled the idea of the reality show when it was aired for the first time. Nowadays, few people are concerned about its moral implications; some are indifferent whereas several others enjoy the show. Highlights of the show are more often than not discussed in every nook and corner. Some kids under 18 enjoy the show without their parents giving a thought about its suitability for their young minds. Ears are constantly being filled with obscene words blaring out from portable devices.
Continuous exposure to indecency will no doubt affect our way of life. Indecent dressing is now on the rise. Even here in the University of Ibadan, we have encountered appalling modes of dressing time and again. The University is, however, doing nothing to stop it. It is true that individuals have the right to express themselves in any way they deem fit and dressing could be a mode of expression. This does not imply that we should willfully adopt a morally backward culture.
Apparent indecency in dressing could result in sexual harassment and continued exposure of Generation Z to it can alter their sense of what clothes are normally intended to be: covering and adornment. It is now even very much sad that parents dress their little children in flimsy pieces of clothing. How can such a child grow up to recognize the value of decency? In fact, nowadays, indecently dressed people are regarded to as being smartly dressed. A miniskirt is usually preferred to a long skirt. The khimar is considered unfashionable and its wearers have often received stones of advice persuading them to look at ‘beautiful and smart people’ in clothes that reveal their awrah.
Even though indecency is on the rise, few individuals have spoken against it. One is the lawmaker from Lagos who asked the NBC to ban the airing of BBNaija. A father was also reported to have sued MultiChoice over the airing of BBNaija. The Malaysian government refused to allow the remake of ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ to be aired in Malaysia unless the gay scene was cut out. The decision of the Malaysian government is worthy of emulation by the Nigerian government, and that is our very stand in this editorial.
Very little consideration is given to decency when it comes to what is aired in Nigeria. It is not enough to say that television broadcasts be given an age rating. No one, no matter how long they have lived, has the right to pollute their sight with indecent scenes. There are some things that should never ever be shown on screen. Imposing a dress restriction can seem extreme but it is not. University of Ilorin and the Polytechnic of Ibadan both have shown this. That is a good move. University of Ibadan needs join the trail.
Not so long ago, word was flying around that the University of Lagos has enforced a dress code on their students. The University later claimed that they did nothing of such but that students are encouraged to dress decently. It is worthy of note that the alleged circular was said to have said that indecent dressing does not reflect the seriousness, dignity and character-molding nature of academic enterprise. Even though, the news was false, it is very true that indecent dressing does not reflect the seriousness, dignity and character molding nature of the academic enterprise. In fact, it does not depict seriousness and dignity in any human enterprise.
Restricting and regulating dress codes in academic institutions is, however, not sufficient. Students will still wear what they please outside their schools as they are not the only ones guilty of indecent dressing. Only a national law against indecency bottled in a system that is steadfast may be able to curb the problem significantly. We are not insinuating that oversized dresses be imposed on all individuals. But there should be a minimum gauge that should be considered decent in an environment such as ours. Such a principle could be used in formulation of law, its enforcement and creation of a tenable system around which it will be gifted with longevity.
That will definitely not be an easy task. Institutions should therefore start first. In the University of Ibadan, for example, there is a sexual harassment policy. The full implementation of the policy is not possible without the adoption of a system that frowns at indecency. It is true that nothing justifies sexual harassment but then no one should dress in a provocative manner. It is not enough to make laws. If citizens do not find sense in laws, they will only obey them out of fear. It is true that we can all distinguish right from wrong and good from bad. It is, however, not every time that we would have a general consensus on the nature of an action.
We also implore that individuals be enlightened on the malady of indecency. Indecency is like cancer, it keeps spreading till it ruins the very essence of the being. It is to be attacked early and removed completely. Associations, religious and non-religious alike, should encourage their members to embrace decency. Humanity preaches decency and it is no news that humans are gradually becoming less humane. The sense of humanity should be reawakened in humans.