Back in the 1800’s and even in the earlier years of the 20th century, a woman’s fashion choice was made a common subject of both political and social debate. Back then, there were so many rules regarding not just a woman’s comportment, but also what she should and shouldn’t wear. These rules existed for years and up till somewhere around the 1930’s, only a few women were allowed to wear certain attires such as trousers, and some women who wore them were generally considered loose or risqué.
Most of these fashion rules, at the time, were so ingrained in the society that it did not have to be dictated or stipulated. It was simply known. These “rules” were used to distinguish women into various social and moral classes in the society and it was believed that any woman who did not dress according to the conventional rule was unworthy of respect and therefore was the cause of any violations that may have been committed against her person.
Now, in our current century, despite the advancement of society, some of these rules still apply. And this time, it just does not stop at the woman but applies to both the male and the female. In an age where fashion is no longer just about the latest style of clothing or hair, where fashion is now considered an art or a form of expression, it is depressing to note that a person’s fashion choice is still a factor for not just discrimination but also unwarranted harassment.
There have been so many cases, both told and untold and most of them, involving youths who have been harassed or profiled by security officials because of their hairstyles or clothes. This is because some people, for unknown reasons, have decided that a young man with dreadlocks or a young lady with coloured hair is most likely to be a criminal. They have dubbed specific clothing and hairstyles as criminal profiles and it shouldn’t be so. One’s fashion choice just like race or gender should not be grounds for discrimination neither should it be a cause for molestation or harassment of any kind.
We have come a long way from the 1800’s and the views or rules that do nothing to better the lives of the youths in our society should be shed away. Our youths do not deserve to be persecuted like criminals nor do the women deserve to be molested simply because of what they wear. A tight bodice, bright coloured clothes and elaborate makeup shouldn’t be a cause for molestation. Having dreadlocks, wearing ripped jeans, the coloured hair and piercings aren’t crimes either. It’s not a profile, it’s just Fashion and it’s simply one’s sense of style.
This article was written by Akorah Chioma Diana; connect with her on Instagram via here
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