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Dress responsibly, says Ida Odinga

18 November 2014, 12:46 Nechesa Chemoi

Nairobi - Former Prime Minister’s wife Ida Odinga has voiced her concern over the #MyDressMyChoice hashtag that was started after a woman was stripped naked by men in the streets of Nairobi.

Ida condemned the perpetrators of the act terming them archaic and primitive thinkers, in a country that has made tremendous strides in the equity of genders.

“As shocking as the public disrobing of those young women were, even more disturbing were the proponents who sat behind their social media devices and came to the conclusion that the solution to public indecency should be to completely expose the victims intimate parts and shame her to not only never wear those clothes that they felt were indecent but to perhaps never leave the house again without a pistol or a bodyguard lest she be accosted,” Ida said in a statement.

“Where is the logic in curing public indecency by publicly shaming the victim?” she posed.

She said the act was not only wrong but outright violence against women and every day that goes by that the perpetrators are not brought to book is a slap in the face of gender equity that they fought so hard to attain. 

“Where were the security apparatus? I would expect a more fitting reaction to someone scantily dressed would be, “sister, it is not safe for you to be dressed like that, there are animals that can hurt you, here’s my jacket, cover up”,” she said.

Also read: Kenyan women flaunt bodies, don miniskirts in strip demo

She said she has never heard of a young man being publicly undressed because his tight, sagging trousers, his Mohawk or his tattoos offended another man or woman.

She however advised young ladies to be cautious with what they wear, particularly young women, saying their appearance will always be the first thing they are judged by and that may be to their advantage or not.

“I talk to my daughters and many women around this world and I know young women are under an enormous amount of pressure to look “beautiful” as society determines it and sometimes try too hard to fit in but we also must not forget our cultural values.

We must not try too hard to emulate western cultural standards and abandon our own. We must teach our young girls that they should want to be judged by what’s in-between their ears and not which famous designer they are wearing. 

Young women wear low cut tops and short skirts thinking this will earn them admiration and although it may, it is the wrong type of admiration. It is sexual admiration, which my dear daughters, will go as fast as it comes. Soon you will learn that there will always be someone younger, fitter, and prettier and that’s the tragedy of beauty, it depreciates.

Invest in education, because even if there is someone smarter than you, a simple book can tip the scale in your favour,” she said.

She said it has always been her sentiment that a woman’s dress is as much her choice as what she eats for breakfast. 

“Some women prefer long skirts, tight tops, and high heels and enjoy a cup of uji (porridge) in the morning, while others, like me, enjoy our eggs sunny side up. If you don’t like it, remember, we don’t have to dine together,” she said.

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