Leaving the gates of Osun Mall yesterday, my eyes caught a young lady in Hijab with a grown drawn way above her knees, exposing a very reasonable part of her thighs. I summoned the courage to walk up to her and said, “As-salaam ‘alaykum sis, I am sorry but I seriously feel you should either wear the hijab and dress moderately or drop the Hijab if you want to appear as hot as you want”. The said lady drew the gown down which went below her kneels making me think she left her home differently and aimed to appear hot outside. Pardon me for that short story, do not hurry, you will understand why this is necessary in the next paragraphs.
This evening, my friend, Habeebat Odusoga, wrote on her Whatsapp status, “Normalize appreciating a woman’s appearance without pointing out sexuality. She is more than her breast and bum. She’s more”. I replied, “More women and musicians need to hear this”, to which she said, “Spot on!”.
International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. It is also a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence against women. Given my experience yesterday and Habeebat’s status, I started thinking and my thoughts took me to my computer.
It is important and necessary that we pay attention to the values this day seeks to promote and our reality of today. With the rise of Feminism and several other women’s rights campaign groups, many problems are discussed but solutions seem to be nowhere to be found.
The Objectification and sexualization of women is a thing of great concern in our contemporary times. The home videos, the music, the adverts, TikTok, and Whatsapp statuses are full of half-nude, twerking, and cleavages-revealing women. Whether it is the #Busitchallenge or the #Silhouettechallenge or several other challenges that we have seen on social media, one asks, “Who truly is objectifying women?”.
Earlier today, I was with a friend, Ashraff (pardon my stories), with whom I have had discussions of this nature severally. Once we both discussed what I consider to be an insult not just to the women but to how we are conceived as a nation – Nigeria. Whether it truly reflects our thought process or a misunderstanding, I do not know. However, it is annoying that anytime I go on Youtube without signing in to my account or TikTok, my screen is graced with videos of nude women, revealing all types of shapes, sexual contents, and other contents that do not depict any form of intellectualism.
Look at the skits produced in Nigeria especially, Sirbalo, Alhaji Musa, Mr. Macaroni, and many of them, have you observed the same pattern of using women with big asses, sex talks, cuddling, and fondling?. We ask again, “Who is objectifying women?”. It also follows that Bobrisky and some other cross-dressers want to appear ‘sexy’ and that’s how they sell. Why should Bobrisky want to look like Nicki Minaj and not Okonjo Iweala? Again, “Who is objectifying women?
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, all hands must be on deck to promote the values of the day and not a blame-game type of game. The movies, music, and adverts, everywhere, look at women at the forefront. Do not get it wrong, a woman who walks half-nude may not necessarily be stupid, however, if we do not address these issues with sincerity, we may keep chasing the shadows and blame the Male gender for a vice the women are responsible for.
On this International Women’s Day, I also want to remind the world that the Muslim woman is a woman as well, and in the campaign for the rights of women or the women-helping-women stuff, the Muslim woman should be included. Sadly, hypocrisy comes into play. Many women have been at the forefront of oppressing the woman in Hijab even though she is exercising her rights and freedom. Why are the campaigners for the rights of women not demanding for the rights of Muslim women or are some women less women than others?
Let us promote a world of reason, intellect, and of logical campaigns. No one would complement Kamala Harris or Okonjo Iweala based on their boobs or asses but what does Nicki Minaj sell? When a man objectifies you, look at yourself. Meanwhile, this is not to justify the actions of perverts.
Happy International Women’s day to the Women of Reason.
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman (2021)