Effects of Scanty Dressing Habit in Adolescent Girls


Rosaline Obah

The sanctity of proper dressing in sub-Saharan Africa was always adhered to few years back, not until recently when relaxation on dressing habit crept in and is now completely being overturned and conspicuously replaced by obscene habit of half nakedness and nudity.

There is a negative relationship between girls' dressing habit and level of sexual comportment. It has been revealed that those that are scantily dressed are vulnerable to sexual acts and are likely to be more exposed to HIV/AIDS than otherwise.

Scanty dressing behaviour is an embodiment of anti-social comportment that is entrenched by the fad. It is a social change that is at variance with modest dressing habit which could attract other vices especially when considering the caliber of superficially mature adolescent girls who could take this liberty for license and explore its negative aspects for sexual gratifications.

 Scantily dressing could be misinterpreted by delinquent members of the opposite sex as an invitation for sexual congress. Therefore if all laudable objectives and efforts towards elimination/ reduction of HIV/ AIDS as visibly enshrined in Millennium Development Goals, Vision 2020 are to yield fruitful results, all avenues to sexual immorality among this most vulnerable group should be discouraged.

Thus, it is apparent that there is need to urgently scout out the illicit motives behind this new development in dressing habit.

Specifically, adolescent is a period which an individual makes a gradual transition from childhood to adulthood. It is a period of being working towards independent from family members and establishing oneself among peers. An adolescent naturally become aware of their sexual drive and feels to be handled, touched, loved and cared for by someone of the opposite sex in the face of erroneous belief that she is 'matured' and can take meaningful decisions on her own but without adequate knowledge of future implications.

 They are beset with myriads of challenges such as unwanted pregnancy, induced and unsafe abortion, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/ AIDS, contraceptives use, childbearing, early marriages and so on. Therefore it is believed that this group of people required true knowledge of certain facts of life and informative literature that will guide them towards responsible and safe sexuality.

The world has become a global village with high preponderance of inter and intra cultural transference of which dressing culture is not an exemption. However, while the dressing of a woman should show modesty and respect especially in the modern society of today, the presence of different kinds of tight transparent fashions, half dressing styles and nudity could be regarded as dishonour to the female folk.

It is also a fact that variety of fashion are evolving from our ancestor's ancient mode of dressing to the current designers' dresses and suits over the years, but as society becomes trendy there is also a danger of failing to distinguish between what is fashion and what constitutes indecent dressing.Thus, there is the need for adequate understanding of the likely interconnections between dressing nature and sexual behaviour especially among the tender group who are by nature the opium of future development.

On the other hand, the alarming rate of cases of young girls who are being harassed by call-boys for being cladding carelessly seems to suggest that the proper definition of fashion in this age seems to have been misunderstood. Adolescents are more predisposed to sexual activities nowadays because of some changes that have taken place in social system in countries.

While no one is contesting that women are free to exercise their human rights by dressing the way they wish in the name of fashion, the opposite sex could feel provoked by the offensive dressing displayed by the womenfolk. It is no gainsaying that individual differences exist in wardrobe selection, and the fact that there are virtually no rules in terms of fashion, dressing etiquette is assumed to be understood by majority. Thus, concern is always raised wherever and whenever, this generational rule of thumb is flouted. The phenomenon aggravates more anxiety if those involved are the young folks who by nature gravitate to adults of tomorrow that could be economically harnessed for progressive development of our nations.

As the academic year draws near all schools and higher institutions should embrace dressing code ethic as being championed presently by few of the existing ones. Indulgence in scanty dressing could be curtailed by the provision of adequate information on sexuality and respect for Cameroon culture on appropriate dressing. In addition, it is no gain saying that the involvement of adolescent girls in scanty dressing habit portends greater danger for their sexual behaviour, their development and nation building in general. Proper upbringing with a sense of modesty in dressing would not only contribute to better quality of life but the ensuing better quality of life could enhance social and economic development of any country and her existence.

 A cultured and morally sound population could probably engender healthy productive population (labour), which if harnessed, would result in speedy economic advancement and realization of the targets of millennium development goals, especially in halting the prevalence of HIV among adolescent girls and reverse its spread. Finally, because of the position the adolescent occupies in the society, it is pertinent that in order for continuity of life to remain unbroken and for the elimination of the current laxity in sexual behaviour in the Sub-Saharan African region, the parents/ guardians and other stakeholders should endeavour to repress all avenues for sexual misbehaviour that could aggravate the incidence of HIV/ AIDS in the society.


By Rosaline Obah in Bamenda



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