7 June 2013

Zambia: Have Zambian Women Taken Fashion Too Far?


AS Jane walks from Cairo Road north-end to south-end, it is inevitable for her to receive a second glance from men and fellow women.

Besides the stares, Jane receives mixed remarks from those who throw a glance at her as she walks in the Lusaka Central Business District (CBD).

It is either she receives lustful or disgustful stares; complimentary comments, especially among street vendors and these include scornful remarks.

A day hardly passes by without her receiving such kind of attention.

Why? Jane thinks she is up to date with today's fashion trends, which others refer to as western type of fashion trends.

Tight trousers clearly depicting the body morphology, short tops exposing the navel (belly button) or those revealing the breasts, mini-skirts, dresses or skirts with long sleets (at times slightly above the knee), among other trendy outfits, are what makes up Jane's wardrobe.

To some people, Jane's preferred out-fits are fashionable while to others, they view them as indecent.

The issue of dress code has over the years been a highly debatable one in Zambia, especially it being declared a Christian Nation.

It is worth noting also that besides being a Christian Nation, Zambia is a democratic country and subscribes to various regional, continental and international treaties and protocols.

Jane argues that Zambia is a democratic nation and therefore has the right to dress in whatever manner she felt like so long it made her feel comfortable.

In the past, there had been several incidences where ladies clad in that kind of dress code labeled as "indecent" have had their outfits stripped or torn up by disgusted men and women on the streets.

The culprits have ended up in the hands of the police because such deeds are not condoned in Zambia.

Being a Christian Nation, it is imperative that Zambians adhere to the tenets of Christianity not only in the deeds but in the dress code as well.

But one would ask which one then is the right dress code?

There are several verses in the Bible that talks about decent dress code for a decent woman befitting the tag of a true child of God.

The Bible in I Timothy 2:9-10 says: "Likewise also those women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness--with good works."

The Bible also tell as that our body is the temple of the Holy spirit hence it should be used to the glory of God meaning that even in the way we dress, the glory of God should be reflected.

Just like Jane there are so many women strutting on the streets of our towns daily almost naked in the name of being abreast with fashion.

No one is arguing that Zambia is a Christian Nation and that it is also a democratic nation; hence everyone is allowed to wear any kind of dress for as long as they felt comfortable in it but the question often asked by many is, does the dress code of most women today befit that of a Christian nation?

Even these skimpily dressed women on the street, do they also feel comfortable just as they claim to be.

One may ask: What kind of fashion is this that makes a decent married woman look like a prostitute waiting to hook men in the street?

Unfortunately these questions remain unanswered because most people are slowly accepting the so called modern type of dressing and our moral code is slowly disappearing.

It is disheartening to see an elderly woman dressed like a twelve year-old girl, showing all the meandering parts of her body or cleavage as she moves from one place to the other with insults also following her from the vendors who seem obviously offended by the provocative sight.

You could even see the pain and the anger written all over the faces of other women as they helplessly watch their fellow woman embarrassed by small boys fit to be her own children.

But why should one go through such trauma and shame just in the name of fashion when that can be avoided by wearing modern decent clothes that do not expose initial parts of the body and contours.

Is it morally acceptable for a woman to be moving on the streets almost naked in order to attract attention from men and even from her fellow women all in the name of fashion?

But what do other people have to say about modern type of dressing?

President and nationalcountry director of Family Are Nations (FAN) Judith Anne Mwila described a woman as fashion conscious and said in as much as women are fashion conscious, they should be able to distinguish real fashion from nakedness.

She has attributed the immoral dressing of women to parents who fail to guide their children on the dress code that is morally right and generally accepted in society.

Ms Mwila added that it was a pity seeing older women moving almost naked on the streets everyday; this is causing women to slowly lose their identity, values and beauty.

"It breaks my heart to see that this type of dressing is not only found on the streets but it is right in the church a place of worship which should be respected by all," she said.

In as much as Zambians have no stipulated dress code, as many argue, she also argued that decency could not be traded with this so called modern type of dressing.

She continued that in our culture, a woman can wear anything modern and look decent so long as all the sensitive parts of her body are adequately covered, It was morally wrong for anyone to view nakedness as a modern type of dressing.

She concluded by saying that deliberate policies should be enshrined in the constitution that would clearly stipulate the type of dress code that is generally acceptable in this nation.

And she invited everyone to come on board and condemn this trend that is slowly becoming part of our moral code, which she said even the Church was accepting.

What is wrong is wrong no matter how many people are for it.

In fact, the Church should be in the fore-front to talk about such issues that concern the moral standards of people in society; as they have a chance to interact with different people daily.

You might be asking has the Church truly accepted this type of dressing?

This is what Reverend Shadreck Chisulo of Bread of Life Church International has to say:

He started describing a decent dress code for a decent woman with these two Bible verses.

1 Timothy 2:8-9

, and 1 Timothy 2:9 AMP

[9] Also I desire that women should adorn themselves modestly and appropriately and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with elaborate hair arrangement or gold or pearls or expensive clothing,

He said the Bible doesn't condemn someone on account of indecent dressing, but required them to dress modestly and appriopriately.

Rev Chisulo said unfortunately even in the church especially women, their dressing left much to be desired.

Some people were going to church in very short skirts that when they sat, they reveald all there thighs and if that person was sitted with a male member of the church, his whole worship service is destroyed because he cannot stop staring at the legs.

He said the ladies should dress modestly and not stumble the weaker brothers citing the following scriptures.

Matthew 18:8-9,18


[8] And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off and throw it away from you; it is better (more profitable and wholesome) for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into everlasting fire.

[9] And if your eye causes you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you; it is better (more profitable and wholesome) for you to enter life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the hell (Gehenna) of fire.

[18] Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be what is already permitted in heaven therefore; what makes others stumble must be discarded.

He went further went on to state that some of the rapes, indecent assault on women are as result of improper dressing. Some men are weak vessels and end up doing the wrong thing; and women must teach their children early in life how to dress appropriately as the following verses instruct them.

Titus 2:3-5 KJV [3] The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; [4] That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

[5] To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Proverbs 22:6 KJV [6] Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

"I saw when growing up how a young girl was told to wrap a Chitenge around her waist when going to serve her father. There are "weak men" who have slept with their own daughters; who knows may be they were tempted by the skimpy dressing of their daughter, in so saying am not supporting any abuse from men. Just thinking aloud," he said.

It is time for the Zambian women to know what is appropriate because sometimes the dressing is inappropriate, meaning, clothes meant for home are not to be worn in the street.

Night dress is for bedroom and not anywhere else, Tights may be good for the gym but not in the streets.

Dinner dresses are appropriate for night function but not at the office.

People must know that what is best for what occasion.

All in all, women should learn to dress modestly to protect others from falling,

Zambia being a Christian Nation, it is imperative that Zambians adhere to the tenets of Christianity not only in the deeds but in the dress code as well.

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