Someone sent me some images from the ongoing Big Brother Africa programme today. It looks like the pics have been doing the rounds, with Outraged of Surulere competing with shrill protestations with Shocked of Enugu.
I don't see what all the fuss is about. The women were filmed in their private space, and have towels hiding most of their bodies. The one on the left even seems to be half covering her breast in an attempt at modesty.
More interesting than the pictures themselves are the reactions to them. It seems to me that the outcry stems from a mixture of moral hypocrisy and repressed sexuality (the two are related). Whereas I see a perfectly usual locker-room type image and barely bat an eyelid, I can't help imagining those who are outraged are at least in small part secretly aroused - and that their response is a confused attempt to abolish their desire in the name of organised religion. And yet: is it really immoral for images of naked women to be represented in mass media - especially given there is no sexual theme at work? Doesn't the response suggest some form of alienation is operating in the collective pysche? After all, many African cultures embraced varying degrees of nudity, and some still do, even in Nigeria. Do we really want to join hands with an age old colonial attitude that such practices are outdated and/or shameful? Must humans have clothes on to be seen as moral beings?
Ultimately, if we cannot accept our own nudity, without immediately sexualising it and then proscribing it, can we ever fully accept our own humanity?