If ever there is one litigious question that can arise for discussion, it is the question of what passes for propriety in dressing.
There are as many opinions on the subject as there are grains of sand in the sea. Without sounding like a preacher, let me highlight that the first set of clothes designed for human beings comprised animal skins in the Garden of Eden when the first humans defied God and became self-conscious.
For a very long time, animal skins were the acknowledged dress code in ancient times until the invention of the cloth. There is therefore no question regarding the need to clothe the human body. Even a toddler has the rapid sense to realise the need to dress up as soon as they are out of the (bathing) dish: the human body simply needs garments.
The recent incident of Harare touts who harassed and abused a young lady accusing her of dressing offensively rightly set tongues wagging and continues to infuriate many who watch the video. What further stokes the fury is that the young lady was not outrageously dressed as to court the wicked attention of the boisterous touts.
This is one reason why some maintain that the case must, for all intents and purposes, be treated as one of plain sexual harassment. Women groups argue that the actions of the touts were a result of unbridled lust and a shameful lack of self-control.
The Zimbabwean Constitution guarantees liberty in that no human being should be restricted in movement because of some uncouth and vulgar elements within society.
The behaviour exhibited by the touts, thus, should be condemned in the strongest terms possible. It is indeed a throwback to medieval times and infringes upon the constitutional right of the citizenry.
It was touching, at the courts, to realise that fellow men came in solidarity with women groups in denouncing this barbaric act. Without trying to influence justice delivery, it is the prayer of all peace-loving Zimbabweans that justice will triumph in the matter and that the right precedent will be set for would-be- offenders.
On the other extreme, it is profusely important that the other side of the matter is put under the microscope. Honestly, some of the dressing being witnessed in the city nowadays is a cause for grave concern. It should be well grasped, in that regard, that the design of the female body is a notch up, if not notches up, in terms of attractiveness as compared to the male body.
Comic singer, the late Paul Matavire sang this self-evident truth in a hilarious song where he absolves the biblical Adam from wrongdoing for yielding to deception from his wife. Women, in essence, are tender and soft vessels.
If a man, like one clergyman said, finds himself battling to suppress his physical attractions for a woman, then he is not being true to nature but, in essence, is asking his Creator to handicap him. It’s an incontestable truth that women are naturally attractive.
Fashion and clothes further enhance the genius creativity of God. Now, being the attractive species they are, it is important that women also are responsible with what has been bestowed upon them. There is nothing great that is bestowed upon humans without the need for responsibility.
Many people contend that we are living in the ‘attention-seeking age’ where, even on various social sites, people compete for ‘likes’ and attention in general.
Nonetheless, I firmly believe that women can still be eye-catching without necessarily flaunting their bodies as to leave nothing to the imagination. Men would still find a woman striking without her overtly and provocatively ‘peddling’ her ‘assets’.
Behavioural science researchers contend that a woman’s exposed body has the same effect on the (male) mind as prepared relish to a hungry mind. The reaction is quite normal but it can be aggravated when the expose’ or flaunting is intensely provocative.
So, while it is incumbent upon men to exercise restraint, it is imperative for women to be responsible in their dressing, being heedful of the magnetic effect of their physical makeup.