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The tacky look called swagger

By Jemi Ekunkunbor
Two weeks ago on this page, I featured an article titled, “The naked truth about G-string”. Following that publication, I was inundated with phone calls and text messages by readers   across the country who wanted to bare their minds on the write-up.

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Most of the callers I must say, were men and they were all very furious with young girls who have embraced exposing their private parts in public in the name of fashion. I got all kinds of encouragement and push to address similar issues the more.

But there were also a few who insisted that indecent exposure was not just with the women alone. Spurred by my editor, we decided to look the other way this week to see how our friends are doing in the masculine camp. We found out that while women are exposing their G-strings, the men are also competing for attention by exposing their boxers especially if those pieces of under garments are designed by renowned international fashion houses. But just like we asked in the previous piece, does the fact that a pair of boxers bare a designers label justify why it should be exposed?

Lately,  American hip hop stars have made exposing their  underwear look acceptable and cool. We see them in magazines, music videos and even during life performances, it looks like the trend to copy. Nigerians known for copying everything and wanting to belong, have even coined their own name for it. In our local parlance, it is called the SWAGGER

Investigations revealed that sagging of trousers to expose what is under began in American prisons, where oversized uniforms were given out without belts to prevent it being used as weapons or a means to commit suicide.

And like a wild fire in the harmattan, the style spread through rappers and music videos from the ghetto to the suburbs.  Now, everyone does it. The Nigerian artists are not left out including one popular female artist whose every mannerism is that of a man. Not only does she sag her trousers, she also hangs face towel on her shoulder and compliments her masculine look with a bandana!

Unfortunately, these artists have millions of fans following because they see them as role models But does being artists justify this absurd fashion and sense of style? “I don’t think so” says, Rita and advert executive. “I think that every mistake in America is fashion in this part. They don’t know what is right. You just simply see people wearing or doing something and you feel that this is the one happening now and you take to it. Unfortunately, the youths will look up to   these famous hip hop stars   of this world and say that is what we should be doing. Meanwhile, it is irresponsible.

Oprah Windfrey  would not bring Snoop Dog to her show why? because his lyrics are repulsive. You are insulting the average woman, you are talking sex, why would she want to promote you? Now you would think that she is not interesting, she is not following trend. But she has morals. Quite frankly sex sells unfortunately so the slightest inclination towards it will also sell. If you are showing me your brief, you are as well showing me your private part so what is left?”

Through the years, it is the general belief that when women expose their G strings and wear blouses or dresses with low neckline, the intention is to entice the men. When men sag their trousers and expose their briefs or boxers, pray, who are they trying to entice?  Again Rita was quick to answer.

According to her, “I don’t think any responsible man should be showing us his brief, for what purpose? If anything, showing your brief is not an attraction, it is repulsive. If a woman does it, society would term her to be loose, irresponsible, so why can’t it be the same for the men. Any man who wears boxers for us to see call it swagger or whatever, quite frankly, he is not responsible. I’m not sure a professional would do that. Have you seen a banker doing that?”

For too long, society, for some reason, think women aren’t visually aroused when they see men exposing their briefs. They take it for granted that women have the capacity to overlook such sight and not be affected. This line of thought has been one way of undermining a woman’s feminity. But as some women observed, it is not so.

Yewande Sule, a business woman says, “I believe just as men are moved when they see a woman’s cleavage, so do women, because we have feelings too. For example, I am  attracted to men with hairy chest. So, if a very good looking guy stands in front of me bare chested, I’ll definitely admire him, and secretly wish I could grab him and hold him. And it ends there. For some women, they could go on dreaming and fantasizing about him. So, the men should not take it for granted because, exposing their briefs or boxers affects women to a certain extent.”

“Apart from affecting women, thinking about a man and imagining things with him simply by looking at his boxers is sinful says Wems, (surname withheld) an event planner. “When men expose their briefs or boxers, they tempt women and create a sort of hunger in them and cause distress. Why do men show off their bodies in the first place? As far as I am concerned, I think it is tacky.

Look at those classy men and women abroad, do you see them dress up with their boxers showing? Most of these people our men copy, are boys who grew up in the ghettos and slums with no proper education or good social circle. If we must copy, we should copy what is right. How would you feel if Obama walks the street with his trousers sagging and his boxers showing even if the Tommy Hilfiger or Polo Sport label on it is as big as a bill board? I don’t think people should use being in the entertainment world as an excuse to do what is wrong”

While this infectious style of pants wear and underwear exposure continue to be displayed by music stars, their fans who see them as models continue to copy hook line and sinker even when they are not stars or musicians in the making. In any society, decency and decorum is ideal and encouraged. It remains that what is vulgar is vulgar even when called by a hip name.

While the west may be making great strides as far as technology and development is concerned, what we Africans and indeed Nigerians can lay claim to is our enduring moral values. It is in our place therefore to pick what is good from the west and discard what we think are inimical to our way of life. Whether a guy or an artist has the hottest body-six pack or even 12 pack, let’s shun low rise trousers that give aid to such underwear exposure. A well dressed man stand in a position to lay claim to swagger than in indecently dressed man.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.