By Isaac Asabor
If men are confusing real women with mannequins as the seeming war recently declared by the Kano State Hisbah Board against use of the inanimate object, threatening to apprehend and prosecute users of the object for the display of clothes in the state suggests, then, one may be compelled to become derisive in this context to say that such lecherous men need either psychological or psychiatric help.
For the sake of clarity, it is expedient to say that the question, “Is it possible for men to be lusting after mannequin”, formed the inspiration of writing this piece, and invariably the coinage of its title. The question, no doubt, was asked by a friend and professional colleague when the unarguably offbeat news was broken that the Kano State Hisbah Board has banned the use of mannequins to display clothes by tailors, supermarkets and boutique owners in the state.
Without making any attempt to answer the question since I was in the same vein befuddled with the news, the journalistic instinct that I am imbued with pushed me to go beyond the trending weird news and look at the bigger picture, which is psychological in nature, to gain insights into sexual arousal triggered by mannequins displayed in front of shops and open places across markets, particularly the commercial nerve centre of Kano. More so, I was compelled to go the extra mile as I was trained to understand that when a dog bites man, it is not news but when a Man bites a dog, it is news. The reason for the foregoing cannot be farfetched as in Journalism, something out of the ordinary has more news value than an everyday. So it is, in this context, when the trending was that some people with high libido were lusting after mannequins so much so that the government has to clamp down on entrepreneurial citizens that use Mannequin as tools in their trades. Aptly put, strange or wacky stories; being unusual entertain people the most.
I must confess that until few years ago when I relocated close to my office, my daily routes included the popular Ojuelegba road from Yaba in Lagos which unarguably on a busy day was ubiquitous with the display of mannequins as a high concentration of fashion shops adorned both sides of the road. Then, every morning, commuting by “Okada”, it was never unusual to spare a glance at plastic stature of a headless and limbless female mannequin, wearing a bra and a panty. Worth recalling at this juncture, is the one that daily dangled from the façade of one of the old buildings that stood at the edge of the entrance to Popo Street. I commuted through the route for years before my relocation, particularly when I lived at Lawanson. Surprisingly, it never struck me that being on “Okada” or in a car driven by a man who also saw indecently dressed mannequins placed libidinous men in grave danger. Frankly speaking, I have never in my life considered mannequins to be detrimental to men’s life; whether lecherous or priggish as Hisbah is struggling to convince men in Kano that mannequins make men mindsets to be sexually polluted, and thus make them commit sexual offence that is capable of sending them to jail where they would unarguably find themselves rotting away. Be that as it may, the caveat remains: “Beware of the mannequin that is capable of turning lecherous men into sexual predators.
Satirically put, all the men in Kano should be thanking the leadership of Hisbah for its concern as it is making efforts to put a stop to all mannequins that are wearing two-piece clothes that barely cover the body, and equally vehemently pushing that they be banned from public display as they are capable of arousing men.
There is no denying the fact that Hisbah’s clampdown on displayers of mannequins is an indication that scantily-clad mannequins are indecent and therefore are likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals.
At this juncture, it is not an exaggeration to say that not few Nigerians are still struggling to come to terms with the fact that men are that dumb and lecherous for them to be confusing real women with the distinctly un-human mannequins. As earlier noted, if there are men that are indeed confusing real women with inanimate objects, then there is no denying the fact that they are suffering from serious psychological issues.
Now to answer the foregoing question which is unarguably the title of this piece, there is no denying the fact that it possible for men to be lusting after mannequins. Without any scintilla of hyperbole, men who are in the habit of confusing real women with inanimate objects such as mannequin are suffering from Agalmatophilia, which is a term that describes a human’s sexual attraction to a statue, mannequin, doll, or other human-like inanimate object. Agalmatophilia is considered to be a specific type of object sexuality.
The term comes from the Greek words agalma, meaning “statue,” and philia, meaning “love.” It was first noted by German psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing, who wrote about a gardener who fell in love with a statue of the Venus de Milo and attempted to consummate this relationship, in 1877.
At this juncture, it is expedients to say that to some extent it is incumbent on Kano State Government to engender a Social contract that guarantees that the people live together in society that is in accordance with an agreement that establishes moral and political rules of behavior. However, while doing that it should be done in manner that will not demotivate those that are by each passing day legally contributing their quotas to the government. For instance, tailors and those that operate fashion retail shops compulsorily use mannequin to display their wares, therefore, such category of business people should not be frustrated as they are unarguably contributing to the economy of the state. On the other hand, those that are suffering from Agalmatophhilia should be fished out from the society, rehabilitated and later re-integrated back to the society.