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Dress, Gender and the Public Display of Skin

Since I was children I remembered of seeing my mother, aunts, grandmother complaining why all the dresses have to show so much skin while men was wearing clothes that would cover from their toes to their neck. I also remembered that I used to say to them that they looked much more elegant and beautiful than men.

Today I still think that is true. Women can explore more parts of their bodies choosing the dress that enhance the beauty and cover what is not supposed to be bare. Also  women can play with accessories which is always fun. There are so many options in case they want to hide some parts of their body. For example they can wear jackets, 3/4 sleeves, scarfs, necklaces, bracelets, bands, long socks and in addition they can hide themselves with their own hair if it is long.

Women when show skin it is interpreted as a sign of beauty and power.  Many time I believe that in order to women get attention from men, they use their body. It seems like the body is used as a gun that gives them the power that they need.

In the book was stated that in the Kalabari world (tribe of Ijaw that lives int the estern Niger Delta region of Nigeria) beauty is emphasizes as having developed breasts, abdomen, thick waist and buttock. Beauty for them is not compared as skinny as it is for EuroAmerican women. “ The ideal women is someone who’s young, beautiful, sexy and available to men because she’s unattached and unencumbered by children. She is a virtual virgin, if not an actual one…” This quote is very clear and it shows what type of women is considered beautiful in the EuroAmerican world.

In contrast to the differences of women’s dress, there are parallels in dress of both Kalabari and EuroAmerican men. It’s seems like men are still covering their body but at the same time they represent  different cultures living in the same world.


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