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Effects of civilization on mode of dressing

By Olawuni Rebecca

The effects of civilization on mode of dressing is one of the big factors that has no doubt which gingered many nations of the world especially the developing nation (Nigeria) to join the race in the pursuit of technology. Nigeria joined the race through the restructuring of our educational system that paves way for acquisition of scientific process, skills, creativity and resourcefulness which emanates in our language, religion, beliefs, dressing and political organisation.

The above words mentioned are parameters considered sine-qua-non for the acquisition of psychological emancipation which reflected in our cultural behaviour in which it depicted in our mode of dressing among Nigerians both old and young ones, males and females etc.

The effects of civilization are phenomenon that hurt in the total ways of life of human kind.  In Nigeria,  today, Man as a biological organization engages in so many activities in order to survive. The essential activities which man engaged in; were farming in modern way, travelling, building of houses in another dimension which is quite different from our cultural traits of our forefathers’ legacy left behind in terms of compound living.

Also, available of information to a cross-section of people within a short period of time is another of effect of civilization.  This effect also, reflected in our mode of dressing which is the topic to be debated upon.

As Science and technology brought dimensional civilization in various forms, such as in language, communication, belief system, working and production activities, were even affecting the dressing system of our people in Nigeria.

The acculturation or enculturation plays both negative and positive effects on our culture especially dressing system.

The effects of civilization on man helps at times to manipulate forces in his environment to his favour which brings changes in all human endeavours, such as mode of dressing.

For instance, through various film shows, cell-phone, internet and computer that show effect of foreign attire are being imbibed which systematically put us out of our mode of dressing from inception.

For instance, Yoruba is known for ‘Agbada’, ‘Buba’ and ‘Sooro’ for male while female wore ‘Iro and Buba’ (Wrapper and short top) but it is now in vogue.

Many female now wear modern skirts and blouses or dresses that are exposed part of our navel while male puts on rags jeans, and put on a ear rings. Some youths put on half trousers referred to as ‘sag’ which prisoner or inmates wore in the developed countries like UK, America etc in the name of civilizations.

As it is peculiar to Yoruba, likewise to other tribes in Nigeria particularly Africa. In Ghana,  ‘Kente’ dress/clothes is being modernized through the effects of civilization on dressing.

In view of these, as it is showed that dressing does not only mirror social structure, gender and power, but also moral sensibilities, aesthetic values, even social hypocrisy.

As culture entails total ways of life of a particular society or nations which involves, language, belief and over all patterns of living.  The acceptable ways of dressing of each community could be judged from the culture of such society.

Dressing as a cultural arrangement in Yoruba, Ibo or Hausa in Nigeria has its patterns and portability and differs religiously, socially and naturally from those of other tribes as being mentioned above.

Nowadays, the mode of dressing of many youths, man and woman in society has become not conform to the established decorum. This needs urgent intervention and necessary corrections, not only to retain this cultural elements, but for decency.

The writer examine mode and pattern of dressing in this environment before the foreign culture is considered. The acceptable way of dressing in the society before the influences of foreign culture and civilization which eroded the dignity of mode of dressing.

It is also showed the acceptable way to improve this with the changing trends of society, globalization in respect to aspect of living and the consequences of uprightness and culturally acceptable dressing mode.

For Instance, we should desist from inculcating or imbibing the foreign culture, because what favours Africa patters dressing has been abandoned  for foreign culture. As a result of this, we failed to realise that the African weather and communal living favour our mode of dressing when compared to other countries of the world where some lived in the desert like ‘Pakistan’ that their climate allowed to put on light clothes like lawn or cotton. But if the climate of some countries is cold then very warm clothes are being wore by the people.

Conclusively, the civilization effect on dressing reduces the roles of culture which is very significant in any society and countries because the cultural role is to shape the norms and standards of any society.  Nowadays, many do not know when to wear a particular dress. Such indecent dress brings about many atrocities in our society.

For instance, the case of raping is rampant among the youths due to the mode of their dressing in public.

This perception is our focus when we considering dress and its effects through civilization which is the standard way of Yoruba culture. A popular Yoruba adage says “Irin ti a rin ni a n koni”, meaning, it is the way one appears that determined how such a person will be treated

Because the tradition of Yoruba to dress decently and neatly to be considered well dressed treated in such manner. The mode of dressing of individual is an identity of each tribe in Nigeria and in diaspora.

Written by:Mrs.   Olawuni  Rebecca T.

Assistant Chief Museum

Education Officer,

National Museum,


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