By Peter Kimani
Warning: The following article contains sexist descriptions that some women may find offensive. It is also inappropriate for children under the age of 16. Parental discretion is advised.
Ugandan President M7 has signed into law a Bill that criminalises wearing of miniskirts, among other measures that are aimed at curbing sexual exploitation.
“If you dress in such a way that you irritate the mind and excite the people, then you are badly dressed; if you draw the attention of the other person outside there with a malicious purpose of exciting and stimulating him or her into sex,” Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo elaborated. I am inclined to concur that for something to elicit the two contradictory emotions of irritation and excitement, something must be awfully wrong.
I have no way of telling what the womenfolk in kasozi ka impala – the hill of the impala, as Kampala is called – have been doing wrong; it’s a decade since I ventured there.
But judging from the rumours on the streets of Nairobi and beyond, women have perfected the art of irritating and exciting the mind in equal measure.
Before pornography was introduced in schools and the larger society – and this does not preclude certain novels read under the desk – a flash of the female leg was a revered sighting.
I do not invoke the words of departed lawmaker Mutula Kilonzo in vain: in those days, girls were dressed like nuns, and there was something sexy about it.
Put another way, beauty in our generation was couched in a seamless robe of propriety, and it was still exciting.
Gradually, the stitch of the hem rose towards the knee, and soon the hemline went past the knee threshold.
I think these are the aspects that Ugandan minister Lokodo finds capable of exciting the mind, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But the sight quickly irritates the mind.
This is why. If we objectify female beauty then the following analogy will suffice: women are created beautiful if they remain true to nature, which includes eating healthy foods.
But some have dabbled in suspect substances that are ingested or injected to provoke growth in certain quarters, usually with disastrous effects.
Clinical surveys have affirmed that some implants are popular in promoting rapid growth in breast or hindquarters.
In the case of the latter, it is not unusual to find a distortion on one bum, which if clothed in an ill-fitting miniskirt would appear awkward and discomforting.
Similarly, if distended breasts are trapped in ill-fitting tops that are meant to reveal, not conceal the cleavage, it would irritate a male observer. Unsurprisingly, such items of clothing have been prohibited in Uganda.
In a certain sense, it is not the clothes that are offensive but the bodies that they hide. The female anatomy has been engineered artificially to deprive it of its natural beauty. I find the Ugandan experiment of regulating social behaviour not only thought-provoking, but a meaningful gesture towards the restoration of the natural woman that has been threatened by the onset of GMOs and other biomedical interventions that debase and distort the female anatomy.