The Monitor (Kampala)

11 June 2011

Uganda: We Wear Them Because We Love Them

opinion

The only thing I have more than attitude is opinion which is why, I do not need an excuse to wear a higher hem or lower neck. Still I feel a lot of people (read men) need education on why women wear outfits they call skimpy.

Short tight and revealing are the key words when describing trends in this generation. Nobody should blame a woman who chooses to wear something short. It is only one of the three things to choose from and it's definitely more forgivable to wear something short and raise eyebrows than wear something frumpy and matronly and blend in with the furniture.

Except for the shrinking violets, being seen even for the wrong reasons is much better than being totally ignored. So yes, the long and short of it, women who wear short clothes do not mind being noticed, or being the centre of attention!

There was a time when even showing your elbows deserved burning at the stake and was deemed the height of indecency. I do not think those women who had to endure ridicule and labels to just shed a few layers of confining clothing would have an issue with me who lives in these days of liberation taking a few inches off my hem. A few disapproving stares are nothing compared to what the first woman who wore a knee length dress had to endure. The bottom line, a short skirt, short dress or low neckline is more than a come-hither gesture.

It is a statement, a bold one at that, it is carrying the torch of those strong women who decided to push the boundaries and refused to conform to convention. This is not to say that all liberated women should walk in their bikinis or in the nude, it is just that there is a freedom in embracing who you are and above all, keep cool. Who doesn't know the less clothing you wear the cooler you stay literally?

Some men think that women are uncomfortable in skimpy clothes. They forget that women have along history with discomfort. We pierce ears and wear high heels, and endure hair pulling at the salon. If this says anything, its that women are willing to hang up comfort for a few hours a day, a few months, however long it takes to look and feel good.

The old argument that women keep pulling or adjusting clothes they wore knowing clearly well were short or tight doesn't hold any water. Women adjust clothes all the time, buttons, straps, sweaters, skirts, dresses, veils and men just notice more when the said clothes are revealing because they are too busy staring. If I can adjust a collar or ribbon on my clothes without raising eyebrows I do not see why I can't slightly pull down a riding hem and anyway which is the greater crime, wearing the revealing outfit or leaving it to reveal more than it is actually meant to?

Anyone who thinks women dress solely to attract men is obviously a man. If revealing clothing was the way to a man's heart, women in Arab countries would never get suitors. Right in Kampala city, I know a number of women who could attract men shrouded in a woollen blankets. Unlike men who think it's all about them, we have bigger issues to deal with, cellulite, age, stretch marks, weight and low confidence being at the top of the list.

For most, wearing something they think attractive is a small victory everyday, which is what every woman needs, a small victory every day. Getting away with showing some skin or that tight outfit is more than seduction, more than, a trend, it feels good, really good.

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