Features

Does dress code define a person?

THE kind of outfits that some women deem appropriate.

KELVIN MBEWE, Lusaka
THE debate on appropriate dress code has been a topic of discussion for a long time.

While everyone has the right to dress how they feel, some outfits are best suited for particular occasions.
For example, a suit is meant for formal occasions like work, weddings and interviews while T-shirts, shorts, night dress are spared for informal junctures like the gym, and other social events.
Some women and men outfits have raised a lot of concern among some citizens.
Some women have been accused of dressing scantily and revealing body parts which should be kept away from the public eye while some men have been ‘guilty’ of “sagging”.
“If women were given the right to move naked, some of them can fully utilize that privilege because what some of them wear is very disturbing. I have even lost count of how many women have walked by almost naked today,” said Julius Mulamba a worker at a local filling station.
Apparently, different citizens have diverse views on the dressing that some women and men have embraced.
Trevor N’gandu, a resident of Lusaka’s Chelstone area thinks there is nothing wrong with women showing off some of their body parts.
“That is what’s in fashion. Where will they buy clothes from if what is fashionable is considered offensive? I have been to Durban, South Africa were women walk around almost naked and then someone should have a problem with the way Zambian women dress, that is not fair,” he said.
As a way of ensuring morality among teachers, the Teaching Council of Zambia banned female teachers from wearing miniskirts.
The council resolved to order female teachers to put on long dresses that cover their knees as a way of bringing sanity to the teaching fraternity.
Sunday Mail interviewed various stakeholders such as women, the church, among others, on the trending dress code of some women and the reactions were mixed.
Gegiwe Nyirongo a resident of Kabwata township is totally against the trend adding that it is inappropriate and cites it as the cause of the increase in rape and other sexual related offences.
“Most women just dress like that to draw men’s attention while others feel they are more beautiful than other women and have to prove it by showing off what they have. For others it’s about insecurity, they think that if they dress like that, people will begin to notice them,” she said.
But Chanda Kangwa, a resident of Lusaka has a totally different view regards dress code.
“As long as it’s not distasteful, people should be left to dress in what they feel comfortable. We can’t run away from the fact that what I may like others may say is not right. So it’s important not to box people in because people have different tastes. Always consider that before you point fingers,” she said.
Another youth Boyd Lumbwe of Kafue district describes the dress code that has been embraced by some sections of society as shameful
“Young women are walking around in short skirts exposing their thighs for everyone to see,” he said.
He said young women should know that such parts of the body should not be exposed anyhow.
And one concerned parent, Mrs Patricia Sichivula attributed the indecent dressing to the strong influence that the western world is exerting on the young people.
She said young people are copying everything they see on TV thinking it is normal.
She advised that this should not be the case because Zambians should know that the country has a culture of respect and young women should not let the western world distort this.
Mrs Sichivula said there are many decent and fashionable clothes young women can wear and look beautiful instead of showing thighs and tummies.
She expressed worry to see how worse this problem is getting because it seems a lot of people are now even used to seeing parts of a woman’s body that are not supposed to be seen outside.
The church is also against the current dress code exhibited by some individuals.
Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) overseer Peter Ndhlovu said dress code is not something that can be regulated but it’s up to individuals to dress modestly as a way of upholding the country’s Christian nation status.
“The dressing ethics have gone bad. The trend has even gone into the churches. The solution is that the church must stand up and condemn such behaviours,” he said.
He said bodies are temples of God and should not be exposed anyhow.
And Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs Godfridah Sumaili says there is need to uphold morality and dignity when it comes to dress code.
“We are a Christian nation and we believe in God. Morality is a value and human dignity is another, so we expect both men and women to be dignified in their dressing. We are created in the image of God and the way we dress should glorify God. We are not prescribing any dress code but what we are saying as Zambians,” she said.

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