ADERONKE OGUNSAKIN The Media and the “Culture of Nudity” among Nigerian Youths THE MEDIA AND THE “CULTURE OF NUDITY” AMONG NIGERIAN YOUTHS INTRODUCTION It is a common thing to see women and men (both young and old) dressed indecently. Dressings in this order include: see- through dresses and blouses, skimpy blouses that expose the navels, shirts that reveals the body shapes to the extreme, skirts that reveal the laps, extremely tight trousers and revealing leggings, blouses that pop out the breasts , sagging among the male gender most especially teenagers,and so on.
The era we are now is highly characterized by indecent ressings, a phenomenon that I call “The Culture of Nudity’. It has permeated almost every institution in the country: the schools, most especially the higher institutions, companies both private and public, the places of worship (the church especially), most provoking to me is in the movie industry, who is supposed to preach morals to the society. The list goes on and on. I consider it shameful and out of sanity when women are dressed half- naked all in the name trendy fashion.
Dressing is an important part of culture that physically distinguishes a group from one another. Nigeria is a country with diverse ethnic groups having rich and adoring culture, a part of which decent dressing is. Nigerian indigenous dressings are gradually been eroded away from the society in the name of modernization and exposures to foreign media contents through the mass media, especially the new media. According to Articlebase. com (201 1), every culture has their dressing codes that may vary from one to another.
As such, any dressing that deviates from the standard ones as it affects the moral values of that culture can be said to be indecent. An indecent dressing is rovocative, unpleasant, and of negative influence on others. According to Egwim (2010), an indecent dressing is the attitude of someone, male or female that dresses to showoff parts of the body such as the breasts, buttocks or even the underwear particularly those of the ladies that need to be covered. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so on have exposed the people to various contents that are alien and endangering to our culture.
The advent of mass media, most especially the new media, has brought a significant, change to the dressing aspect of the Nigerian culture. The way you dress is the way you are addressed. Objectives of this write up To explain the concept, “Culture of Nudity” among Nigerians, most especially the youth. To connect indecent dressing in Nigeria with the new media as a causative factor To identify the effects foreign exposure on the dressing culture of Nigeria. To use relevant theories to explain the concept of indecent dressing as obtainable in Nigeria.
To proffer possible solutions to the menace of indecent dressings Negative Impacts Glooallzatlon 0T cultural nerltage nas some negative Impacts In some areas. A 2002) seems to understand more of this negative impact when he said that western adventures made efforts to undermine the cultural heritage of various peoples around the world through colonization, imperialism and now globalization. He said that cultural imperialism left the colonized in a state of cultural disorientation which is vulnerable to cultural invasion.
Theories that explain the problems associated with dressing Cultural Imperialism Dependency Theory Cultivation Theory CULTURAL IMPERIALISM This is a theory that was propounded by Herb Schiller in 1973. Cultural imperialism s the process by which the importation of news and entertainment from the developed world dominates the cultures of developing nations. It is the economic, technological and cultural hegemony of the industrialized nations, which determines the direction of both economic and social progress, defines cultural values, and standardizes the civilization and cultural environment throughout the world.
The whole world is becoming a cultural common market area in which the same kind of technical product development, the same kind of knowledge, fashion, music and literature, the same kind of metropolitan mass culture is manufactured, bought and old. Western ideologies, political beliefs, western science, western laws and social institutions, western moral concepts, sexual symbols and ideals of beauty, western working methods and leisure activities, western foods, western pop idols and the western concept of human existence have become objectives, examples and norms everywhere in the world.
But there are too many dispossessed people who have amassed a few western material possessions but no longer have any birthplace, home or final resting-place. (An anti-communist and anti-capitalist writing 1975). Assumption / Principles / Ideological profile of Cultural Imperialism Industrial evelopment is majorly the path towards a better future for the whole of mankind.
Western nations dominate the media around the world, which in turn has a powerful effect on Third World cultures, by constantly promoting Western values, and demeaning the culture and values of developing nationsthereby destroying their native cultures and making the people find appeal in Western ways. Humans react to what they see, as sight is the most powerful way of absorption, television because there is nothing else to compare it to besides their own lives, usually portrayed as less than what it should be. Theory is value – neutral and objective.
Irrespective of the beliefs of the Third World, the television programs from the Western world will communicate the same message and affect them in the same way. There is also the notion of super culture (cultures of the developed nations) and the local culture of the developing nations. Relevance and Comments on the Theory Two major concepts come to light in this theory and they are: culture and imperialism. The developing countries that are not technologically advanced and are seen as being weak rely on the developed ones who are technologically advanced in television and motion programs and seen as being strong.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the media today in Nigeria is been flooded with programs imported from the western countrles wnose contents are allen to Nlgerlan cultures. Presenters on television programs put on attires that are sexually appealing; home movies portray all sorts of nudity appreciation and acceptance attitudes. All these permeate into the mindset of the people, and they become acceptable ways of dressing. Beauty Pageant in Nigeria today, in my opinion promotes the culture of nudity. The contestants are made to wear Just pants and bras at some points of assessment all of hich are broadcasted to the public.
This is imported and alien to Nigeria. The first Miss Nigeria 1957, Grace Tinukeoyelude was well dressed, covering every part considered private, (and indeed all the other contestants), as against the current practice of where contestants are unclad before adjudging their beauty. This theory is very relevant and important when discussing indecent dressing in Nigeria. This is because the mode of dressing that is prevalent today, are not what used to be in pre- colonial, and immediate post-colonial era (30 years post, even till the 1990s).
Each thnic group in pre-colonial era Nigeria had their traditional dressings that were decent and dignifying. But the reverse is the case now as most Nigerians take pleasures in dressing up the Western way, and most shamefully, in indecent manner. DEPENDENCY THEORY (Related to Media) This theory was propounded by Sandra Ball -Rokeach and Melvin De Fleur (1976). The theory describes how the media affects the lives of individuals. (Ball – Rokeach et al, 1976) provided a theoretical basis for explaining how individuals, institutions and the media relate at both macro and micro levels.
The growth of digital media has become an integral part of daily live for many people. According to Rokeach, “the Internet thus intrudes on traditional relations by being integrated into an expanded media system that may expand the reach of understanding, orientation, and play goals that individuals, groups, and organizations may attain through media dependency relations. ” Assumptions of the Theory Dependency theory proposes an integral relationship among audiences, media and the larger social system. It predicts that people depend on media information to meet certain needs and achieve certain goals.
People’s needs are not always strictly personal, but may be shaped by the culture or by various social conditions. Two factors influence the degree of media independence. One is that people depend more on media that meet their needs than others that provide a few. The second source of dependency is social stability: the more unstable the social trend, the higher the dependency on the media, while dependency goes down in more stable times. The more available alternatives an individual has for gratifying needs, the lessdependent such person will become on any single medium. Comments and
Relevance of the Theory Dependency theory explains the relationship between the content of the mass media, the nature of the society and the communication behavior of audience. This means that people are dependent on the media for their information needs. The Dependency theory is true of the Nigeria society today as people choose their dress pattern from the options available to them from the media especially the new media such as the Facebook, Twitter, Badoo and so on. Most of the social media are so flooded with all sort of immoral dressings that are portrayed as normal and standard for all to emulate.
The film industry in Nigeria also, can be said to have negative Impacts on tne populace In tne area 0T oresslng. Indecent oresslng among tne actors,most especially the female actress is a demonstration of high level of indiscipline that is constantly on the display in their various movies. This attribute is also dependent on the influence of the Western cultures that they are exposed to through other media which shapes their thought pattern and contents. THE CULTIVATION THEORY This was propounded by George Gerbner, L. Gross, M. Morgan,and N. Signorielli in 1976. Assumptions and Principles of the theory are:
Heavvy Television viewers will cultivate the perception of reality portrayed by the TV. The predication of Judgment of people about their actions is based on the cultivated reality provided by the television. Television’s major cultural function is to stabilize social patterns; it is seen as a medium of socialization and acculturation. “The observable, measurable, independent contributions of Television to the culture are relatively small”. RECOMMENDATIONS The family which is the primary agent of socialization should wake up to maintain a sense of decency in the lives of their wards.
Parents/guardian should learn to dress decently and also encourage their children/wards to do the same. Parents should also be watchful of their wards activities on line. Nigerian films should be encouraged to promote the Nigerian culture especially in the areas of dressing. Actresses should be cautioned against indecent dressings which they constantly display in their roles playing. A very strong agent of socialization which is the mass media should discourage the display of indecently dressed females used for advertisement. More of morally inclined programmes that encourage decent ressings should be aired.
Religious institutions should not relent in discouraging the act dressing indecently. More emphasis should be laid on it. Government has a role to play in this matter. There should be legislation of laws that prescribe acceptable ways of dressing, a deviation from which should be punishable by law. CONCLUSION We cannot always see media effects, they do occur and eventually will change our culture in possible profound ways, we must therefore guard our culture and every component of it, we crux of our heritage must be preserve if we have to keep our dentity in the new world.
References: Solomon G. Anaeto, Olufemi S. OnabaJo, James B. Osifeso (2008) African Renaissance Books Incorporated. Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy studies (JETERAPS) 2 (4): 228-233 scholarlink Research Institute journals, 2011 (ISSN: 2141-6990) Jeteraps. scholarlinkresearch. org http://www. kotikone. fi/ matti. sarmela/indexEngl. htmlMattiSarmela InCarolaSandbacka (ed. ), Cultural Imperialism and Cultural Identity, 13-36. Transactions of the Finnish Anthropolological Society 2. Helsinki 1977 (in Finnish 1975)