Montag, 29. Oktober 2007

Schönheitsideale, Mode und Moral

Ein witziger und ironischer Beitrag über Schönheitsideale, Mode und Moral in Ghana. Allerdings ist der Beitrag offensichtlich doch ernster gemeint, als man annehmen könnte. Zm Schluß heißt es“ „If we do nothing, the nihilistic culture will take hold and our society will be heading for perdition. If we work to strengthen our moral foundations, we will be on course for a good cruise.” Für diese Interpretion spricht, dass das Thema “dezente Kleidung” immer wieder auch in anderen Beiträgen und Leserbriefen angesprochen wird.

New fashions and propriety

A Ghanaian adage has it that when your mother-in-law does not know how to sit properly, you must learn to discipline your eyes. This precept has served me well until now. I am in a quandary and I need some help.

Some of the fashions that confront me these days continue to stretch the focus of my eyes and my modesty beyond the limit. I must admit that it is still a pleasure to see a beautiful female walk by and praise the Almighty that He has the ingenuity and expertise to create such exquisite beings to brighten our word. After all, He is male, isn’t He?
The religion that I adhere to says in unambiguous terms that if my right hand causes me to sin, I should cut it off. I am in a serous quandary. If I start cutting off my limbs and organs, what will be left for me to show in this world would be of no value. It is also clear that life would become more difficult for me to handle. I have learnt that what my eyes see emanates from my brain. So you see where we are heading to?
I know that one of the pieces of advice I shall be showered with is that I should pray without ceasing. I do pray but not too often, I believe. I try to make up for this lack of incessant prayer by going to worship on Sundays.
… Maybe I should add the attendance to all night prayer sessions to my list of activities. I am worried about what the attendance would do to me. You know, of course, that the vast majority of those who frequent all-night prayer services are females.
If I go there and add my neuroses to those of the women whose husbands drink, beat them, have eyes for the girl next door, do unspeakable things to them and so on, and then forget to pay the children’s school fees maybe the only sane person there would be the pastor.

The devil and his agents stalk us all the time even when we feel closest to the Almighty. Well, another tack would be for me to go there and then risk walking about the town the next day like a zombie with only a third of my voice left as I would have expended the majority in singing, jumping about and trying to speak in tongues that make no sense to my own self.I ave been given my body to keep healthy and pure as a temple. If I got to work and can only speak in a whisper, feel sleepy and unable to concentrate on what I am paid to do am I being just with myself and my maker? And, of course, my employer expects the maximum out of me for the wages that he pays me.
But the other situation that puts me into a bind is when I walk behind an ample woman who is wearing the tightest of stretch jeans that emphasise every fold that the body has proliferated through eating tons of banku, fufu, kenkey and the carbohydrates together with the tsoof or turkey tails that she can possibly ingest.
Her blouse is made in such a way as to make sure that most of her upper torso including significant parts of her breasts is exposed to any eye that cares to look that way. I am aware that every step that she takes creates a mini quake that draws attention to the ridiculously uneven and in harmonious rhythm that the movements of the different parts of the body provoke.
I am also aware that an obese woman is the pride of her admirers and friends, not to speak of her husband. In certain cultures, as in Mauritania and south east Nigeria women are actually fattened for the pleasure of their men folk. A few years ago I used to frequent the Treichville Market in Abidjan. I met a remarkable woman who became my guide an interlocutor.
You see, men are not supposed to go shopping in the market. Each time she saw me she would wrest my basket form me and ask me to tell her all that I needed that day. She would go and buy everything and come for the money later on. Sometimes I would walk with her through the market.As we walked along, her colleagues in the market would be playfully slapping her ample buttocks and arms and other parts of her body in admiration of her obese form. Shoe loved this play and accentuated this show by ambling along with exaggerated steps that made the earth under her feet tremble.
Our women love to be fat. The fat woman is an embodiment of contentment and well—being.
A slim woman would be asked by her friends if she is beaten every day by her husband or is being maltreated in some other way by him. In their lexicon, there is no slim woman – you are either fat or thin. Our diets and lifestyles contribute in no small way to our obesity
The men use the tennis court, for example, as an excuse to down huge quantities of liquor especially beer. They then go home for their fufu and palmnut or groundnut soup…And now back to my mental anguish. The feeling of helplessness intensifies when the subject doing the provocation is a young person who is out to bring your carefully crafted moral standard crashing to the ground.
I have been schooled, or so I thought, to follow the straight and narrow path until my eyes lighted on the body before me. The curves which confronted me, it is true, did credit to its creator. But why would the proud owner of this valuable asset seek to flaunt it at me?
I see less and less of the rather short blouse that exposes the midriffs of the wearer. A keen observer of the fashion scene tells me that the fad is passing on. When it was in vogue I had a fest of seeing flesh although not enough of the different sizes of pot bellies that our women sport. I also saw many different hues of flesh. I still think that some of these blobs of flesh should not be for public display.

I have been told that the name for the kind of blouse that bares all bar none (!) is called, “I am aware”. This kind of awareness does not wash with me. Seeing a mother and a daughter being aware of each other makes my head go round in a whirl.
The appropriateness or otherwise of what people wear is always a problem. The clothing industry exacts huge sums of money from us to clothe us. We run like lemmings desperate to drown ourselves and buy all the offerings that are presented. After acquiring these accoutrements we then begin to go about in a state of near nudity.
Thankfully, unlike some other cultures our young people are not yet tattooing their bodies and wearing ear, nose and eye brow rings. My concern is how to ensure that such a development is nipped in the bud.

E. Ofori Akyea, Daily Graphic, 27. October 2007. S. 10

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