Opinions Thu, 3 Feb 2011

Moral Fear & Social Panic – Backs, Butts & Cleavage

*And so it is, decency is defiled on a daily basis; morality has plummeted

into a state of destitution, womanhood is orphaned, and as well thinking

Ghanaians try coming to terms with it, nakedness has by far become the

commonest commodity maybe behind sachet water.*

* *

By popular habiliments, one can safely contend that, a state of total

discourtesy has rocked a society hitherto very appreciative of courtesy,

sexually explicit content has taken centre stage and today, eroticism isn’t

merely perceptive, it is sadly so, glamorized.

This piece albeit might be seen to dwell on women, is by no means an attack

on womanhood and women, a gender I so very much admire for all the

contribution that women right from my mum, sisters, school mates, teachers

and acquaintances have contributed to my person as of today.

My contention however is this, that as many well meaning and self respecting

women as there are, several multiple others are all over the place making a

gender thought of as the epitome of modesty and chastity look

*“unclean,”*and pathetically so, portraying them as sex symbols.

The religious people that we (Ghanaians) are, one would have thought

religion would serve as a check of sorts on what is fast gaining grounds as

a cancer within society, sadly so, with disdain and scorn, it is either that

no one cares or we are losing out on what the scriptures expect of us.

Indeed, before the advent of religion, our tradition and other social codes,

although unwritten and usually transmitted orally and or by experience,

served as a glue of some kind that held our society together, in the absence

of that, things have and continue to fall apart.

By the current trend of events all over, we do not need an angel to tell us

that the value of the female gender is fast depreciating, be it in our

homes, on the streets, at workplaces, in places of worship, in the markets,

schools and more pervasive on the TV screens and in the newspapers.

Bare backs are most commonplace as are dresses that allow any one who will,

to feast his eyes on what colour of underwear the lady sitting close in a

public place is wearing. Then are the very skimpy tops that also puts out

for public viewing the navel of “ladies.”

The issue to do with “boobs”/breast exposure makes it all the more

nauseating, sickening and damning, from heaped/raised breasts smeared with

some lotion to give it some shine and the cleavage revelation leaves one

thinking where our society is headed for.

As if all of that was not enough of a headache, some women have taken to

wearing dresses that are transparent. They wear beneath these already

revealing tops, no undergarment except for brassieres, whose strings are

most times bigger than that of their transparent dresses.

Whiles discussing this topic with some friends, the issue of a wholesale

adoption of foreign culture was raised, presupposing that by what some women

saw other women elsewhere do, and they had decided to follow same blindly as

it were, without recourse to the pros and cons thereof.

Indeed the above point wouldn’t fly entirely on the basis that, apart from

the foreign dresses that show very sensitive parts of the body, even local

tailors and seamstresses are not left out as they also sew dresses with very

low cut necklines and other funny designs.

Have we paused to ask ourselves as a people why the incidence of sexual

harassment keeps increasing even as gender activists intensify their

campaigns? Could there be a correlation between what women wear, which are

largely provocative, and these assaults? I ask.

At this juncture, one may want to know, how do these women get to learn

these inappropriate and moral threatening, socially damning and culturally

aberrant ways of dressing? Indeed for some, so skimpy are the clothes that

one is forced to think these *“ladies”* are wearing clothes belonging to

their children or to some younger sibling.

No nook and cranny of the society is insulated from this scourge, which has

proven to cut across females of all ages irrespective of their social

standing (bank manageress or koobi seller), educational status (PhD holder

or middle school leaver), creed (Christians or Muslims), ethnic and tribal

leanings and colour.


Media the world over have been identified as a major tool of social change

in several respects. This change though can be for the better or for worse.

Relative to the topic under the purview of this piece, sections of the media

are the driving forces of this state if moral fear and social panic.

In the particular instance of the Ghanaian media landscape, the print media

(newspapers) and television stands most culpable as champions of this

scourge, as for the point about the internet being another lead agent of

nudity and associated malady, the least said the better.

In the name of entertainment, some newspapers sell plain pornographic

material to the public, and vendors are with no regulation as to who to sell

these material to, once they get paid the amount quoted on the sheet, even

kids are eligible to own a pornographic piece.

Psychologists have time without number stressed the harmful effect on the

psyche of the elderly – who it MIGHT seem right to sell such material to –

so one wonders what the effect, socially, psychologically and more

importantly academically injurious it would be on the youth.

Newspapers such as *News One, Obsession, Fylla,* *the Vibe* and others like

these, in my opinion are not fit for the newsstands neither do they provide

any “sensible” source of entertainment, except for perhaps, “erotictainment”

here meaning, the publication and sale of lewd and sexually explicit


In these times where almost every household owns a TV set, TV stations by

their unregulated and blatant acceptance for certain movie adverts and music

videos to be aired have all but contributed to this malady that is gradually

eating up the moral fiber of society.

I dare to say that these stations by their actions look to be putting

commercial interest first and by so doing continue to feed the public what

ideally should not be. Pardon my language; *“pure junk.”* TV today looks

like a free market for anyone who can pay the fee charged.

As far as I remember, films in the past used diplomacy to show scenes that

were seen as lewd and morally offensive, but what is the trend as of today,

Ghanaian movie producers direct pornographic films and with scenes of sexual

bouts that becomes subject of debates as to whether the acts really happened

or not.

All this, in the name of having *“advanced”* as an industry, this I state

without equivocation, is nothing short of a negative, backward and

disgusting advancement, that is leading nowhere, as far as I am concerned

and relative to the moral degradation it has unleashed and continues to


Music with sexual connotations like that of AB Crentsil’s when he sung a

song entitled *“Moses,”* became an issue of hot public debate by right

thinking Ghanaians, but today, some young boys deem it fit to stutter over

some beat of no substance spewing all things sexuality and what? You and I

nod to it without recourse to its filthy lyrical content.

Whoever said they would stop there, they now go and get some other members

of the other sex, to dress in ways I doubt they’d allow their daughters to,

and shamelessly wriggle and wiggle, squirm and jiggle their waists like

earthworms in soil. Pardon my use of language.

With respect to airing such movie trailers, movies and music videos of

little substance, GTV, TV3, Metro TV, Net 2 TV, Viasat 1, Crystal TV, Multi

TV even TV Africa are all culprits. So bad is it that, female news

presenters, female hosts and female guests have often times come on set with

dresses that revealed their thighs, cleavage and in some cases part of their


The contribution of the internet is by far the most disturbing as it

provides for a limitless access to pornography, yet there is an almost

non-existent mechanism to ensure that it is not abused especially amongst

the youth in our society; most internet café operators like their TV

compatriots are interested in getting their money than anything else. Sad it

is indeed.

With the internet and advanced technology, students in most tertiary

institutions have shamelessly engaged in recorded sexual acts, for only God

knows what, and posted them on internet websites, while several others

transmit it via bluetooth and other means to others.

What exactly my fellow countrymen and women is becoming of the morals and

values we held onto so strongly and with a united accord as a people? My

heart and I trust that of several others bleed over what is currently

pertaining and which situation must be arrested at once.

I disagree that times have changed, what then is time? The sun still rises

from east to west and rain hasn’t ceased to descend from the heavens,

instead from the ground, change, and a negative one at that has affected we

the humans beings and to revert to what used to be, it must start with us.

As a first step at least, all who concur with my submissions as raised in

this piece must pinch themselves to the reality at hand, and then rise up to

correct this anomaly in our own small way. My call, which you all are free

to join in, is to our religious leaders, to civil society groups and well

meaning Ghanaians to rise up against this cancer and take pragmatic measures

to remedy it.

*Let’s stop decency from any further daily defilement, bring morality out of

destitution, be the custodians of true womanhood and strive to make

nakedness the very expensive adult bedroom commodity it ought to be.*

*The ostriches who do not see the looming crisis, must have buried their

heads deep in the sand as usual. But let’s let our positive sense of purpose

and drive to sanitize society not be distracted. WE ARE ALL INVOLVED*.

*© Shaban Barani Alpha *
Columnist: Alpha, Shaban Barani