Recently the Ghana Institute of Journalism implemented a clothes ban that prohibited students from wearing mini skirts and shorts to the school premises.
Rector Wilberforce Dzissah announced the unconventional ban at the school’s matriculation ceremony held a couple months ago, saying the rationale was to cut down on indecent dressing, of which the school has received numerous complaints.
Writing in response to the ban, writer Nnyamewaa took the school to task for the ban, as well as an expression of support the ban received from the school’s Women’s Commissioner.
She argued that the ban was a patriarchal one meant to ‘protect’ males from having to deal with s*xually attractive females dressing the part. She said, based on the statement issued by the Commisssioner on the ban, the students needed grammar lessons more than the ban.
“One is shocked by the announcement but not completely surprised by it. GIJ is joining a long list of Ghanaian institutions using Victorian ideas of propriety to control women’s bodies for men. Here is my theory. I don’t believe that the school authorities meant to ban shorts for men. I think it was added to make the idiotic ban seem fair. I believe what the school truly wanted to ban was miniskirts and whatever else the school administration deems indecent for women to wear.
“A statement issued by the Women’s Commissioner of GIJ Suriaya Gomda, confirmed my theory: “As the Women’s Commissioner of GIJ, my take on the ban of mini skirts on campus by management is not out of place. GIJ is a professional school, and a noble institution for that matter; and ladies should dress accordingly. Ladies on campus should respect the presence of male lecturers and their colleague-males. Let us not pretend that as ladies, our sense of fashion have resounding impact on them. Students who are aspiring to be professionals should allow themselves to be groomed by existing structures, conventions and situational laws.” she added,
“The contents of Suriaya Gomda’s statement is the reason GIJ’s management should not be focusing on what students wear to classes but rather teach them logical reasoning, and of course, how to write coherent statements. Her incomprehensible statement aside, Suriaya Gomda shines more light on the mindset behind the clothes ban. The ban was made for men.”
She then went on to illustrate all that was wrong with the ban.
“The problem with this ban isn’t that it is sexist, and very, very stupid but that instead concerning itself with what is needed to train journalists who tell compelling stories and speak truth to power, the GIJ management is focused on the clothes of students. Editors across the country will testify to the syntax/grammar/simple subject-verb agreement challenges of GIJ graduates. Because while there are some GIJ graduates who do impressive and excellent work, there are many who were failed by the teachers who taught them. The students needs the management to make sure lecturers show up and teach. Students will be better served by management if they ensured lessons are not only theoretical as a former graduate wrote in this essay.
“This arbitrary ban is just daft. It s*xualizes women students and strips them of their right to self-expression through their clothes. What length of skirt will be considered appropriate and by whom? How does one determine what is short as the same length of skirts will look different on different body shapes and sizes? What does the university deem as vital body parts? The bum, breasts, or legs? How do they plan to enforce this ban?”
Read the rest of the illuminating piece on her blog.