Weaponizing the female body: communicating displeasure through nudity

  • Jacob Mapara
Keywords: Nudity; gymnophobia; protest; communicating displeasure; crimen injuria


This paper is conceptually couched under the construction of women empowerment and the women autonomy index and anchored on an African indigenous episteme. It recognizes the several indigenous ways through which women communicate their displeasure with nudity standing out. It posits that nudity has been used among indigenous communities in Zimbabwe to curse those perceived as wayward and intransigent like husbands, sons and even governments especially on land issues. The paper further advances the idea that despite efforts to criminalize the weaponization of the female body by women, nudity has continued to be wielded as a last resort tool by those who feel that they have nothing more to lose. Additionally, it observes that nudity becomes a potent protest tool because it rides on the back of most people’s fear of gymnophobia, and it does not have to be understood in the context of indecent exposure but one that comes out of people driven to extremes where they no longer have options but to strip. The paper therefore recommends that indigenous protest methods that are not life-threatening like stripping be not criminalized. It concludes by positing that the legal system in Zimbabwe should be culture sensitive, through appreciating and accepting stripping as a legitimate weapon in Zimbabwe as in most of Bantu Africa.


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eISSN: 1596-9231