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The Influence of MTV Base Musical Programme on the Dressing Pattern of Absu Students


The study examined the influence of MTV base musical programme on the dressing pattern of ABSU students. Survey research method was adopted to investigate how MTV Base, a popular music television channel, has influenced the dressing patterns of the undergraduates, considering the channel’s constant portrayal of western culture in its music programmes, especially the dressing styles of foreign pop artists. The research objectives include; to find out whether the students` dressing patterns are influenced by their viewership of MTV Base programmes; to determine the cultural implications of MTV Base programmes on the dressing patterns of the students, and to determine whether there is a significant relationship between the students’ viewership of MTV Base programmes and the erosion of African culture. Anchored on Social Learning theory, the research revealed that the dressing patterns of undergraduates are negatively influenced as a result of constant viewership of MTV Base programmes, which subsequently results to cultural imperialism and massive erosion of African culture through the help of globalization. The study recommended, among others, that more should be done by the appropriate authorities to get university students in Nigeria to prefer Nigerian culture to others through the way they dress, talk and dance rather than cultivating and adopting alien cultures that constantly put them under criticism.




1.1       Background of the study

Ever since Television came into existence, it has remained the most influential medium among the mass media (Usaini, 2010). It can be considered a credible source of information. The reasons being the full colour, action packed, audio and visual strength, combination of actors/actresses as well as presenters. This makes television a realism medium to the audience (Orbe, 2010). It carries the audiences along through drama, film, documentaries and other beautiful presentation and shows thereby entertaining, educating, and informing them. “The influence of Television on teenagers, adolescents and youths are widespread. The influence is mainly on their dressing and their attires, that is, what they wear and what they use to adorn themselves” (Saodah & Mohd, nd.)

Therefore, the propagation of television and its attendant’s consequence on social behaviour of youths has called for a great concern in recent times (Nwodu, 2021). The value of television as a medium of mass communication is esteemed all over the world. Television portray message that have influence on the viewers, mostly, their mode of dressing. Television holds a very special place in the culture of a people. “Television, like books are culturally special medium…an important medium of cultural transmission (Baran, 2009:75). Studies show that television contributes to the socialization and the transmission of culture (Baran, 2009; Daramola, 2007).

The media are powerful presence in people’s lives. Within the field of communication, media is the term used to refer to the particular medium used to deliver a message to a large, anonymous, and diverse audience (Pearce, 2009a). Media studies involve research on media effects, which refer to the influence that the media has on audiences, and media representations, which are portrayals of various cultural groups. At the core of social construction is the idea that there is no such thing as objective reality (Pearce, 1995). Instead, scholars who advocate for this foundation stress that all knowledge is historically and culturally specific (Allen, 2005). Media, as a powerful social system, play an important role in creating a person’s sense of reality (Gergen, 1999). Even those persons who closely monitor their media consumption are not immune to media effects.

All types of media function as a cultural socialization agent. However, of all the different types of media, scholars have spent the most time researching the impact that television has had on personal, cultural, and societal perceptions (Orbe, 2010). This is largely due to the rapid growth of the television industry and its pervasiveness in everyday life. As a socialization agent, the mass mediated images that appear on television, via the news, soap operas, situation comedies, dramas, talk shows, sporting events, and so forth, can have a tremendous influence on how people view themselves and others (Orbe, 2010). Because of this, the governments in some countries ban certain types of programming, or only allow television shows that support specific agendas. As such, programs that are produced and aired are oftentimes subject to political, religious, cultural, and social agendas in countries throughout the world (Orbe, 2010).

Dress/cloths used to protect the skin from harsh weather conditions, they are also worn to make one presentable like the saying goes ―dress how you want to be addressed cloths are also worn to properly cover all the vital parts of one‘s body from the preying eyes of the public. This has been the tradition since humans started to wear cloths to cover their nakedness. While extremely short or revealing cloths were only worn by persons of easy virtues or commercial sex workers. However, reverse is the case with the present generation especially Nigerian university students in ABSU who now parade the streets in ―bum shorts and ―strapless tops known as spaghetti by the female students. While, their male counterparts (the boys) go about with their trousers under their buttock, with their belts not properly locked, hanging half way their legs, thereby exposing sometimes their dirty boxers/inner wear and almost finding it difficult to walk as they are constantly adjusting their trousers to prevent it from falling off totally from their legs, a lifestyle and habit usually seen in most musical videos. Musical videos mediate in the culture of students of tertiary institutions especially as it relates to their dressing patterns. Research has shown that, videos and movies, like books, are important medium of cultural transmission and socialization. Thus, the concern of media influence has led to the development of different communication theories in an attempt to explain the relationship between communication messages and their influence on the audience.

These music videos portray messages that have influence on the viewers, mostly, their mode of dressing as in this study. Baran (2009:75), opines that movies hold a very special place in the culture of a people. ―Movies, like books, are a culturally special medium, an important medium of cultural transmission and some studies have shown that movies contribute to socialization and the transmission of culture.

For many traditionally aged university students, the world has never been without an array of reality television programs which has a history that spans 60-plus years. However, in recent years, reality television has become the most popular form of entertainment (Schroeder, 2006). Given its mass appeal in Nigeria and abroad (Hill, 2005), it has moved from the margins of television culture to its core in a dominating fashion. From a television executive perspective, reality television represents an attractive form of programming. It has low production costs. It can easily be marketed for foreign distribution. It also can be produced without dependence on unionized actors and writers (Murray and Ouellette, 2004). These factors, as well as huge popularity among diverse audiences, have propelled reality television from “another fad that overstayed its welcome” (Smith and Wood, 2003, p. 3) to a staple in contemporary television culture.

Okere and Uwon (2012) suggest that the youth today look up to celebrities for their everyday fashion tips, movies, albums and their general way of life. The youthful stage is a very confusing period filled with changes and challenges, and is a period where an individual feels the need to “belong” and to be “accepted”. When this need is created, the youth look for ways to fill the gap and most often turn to the media to perform this role. The magazines often are the most accessible.

Hood (n.d.) suggests that “celebrities are most like salespersons. Adding further that,

though they may not explicitly try to persuade their audiences, they are subconsciously altering the thoughts of their publics; this can be seen through celebrity endorsements, press interviews, apparel worn during public events, items favoured by celebrities, celebrity-branded products and celebrities’ overall brand image all of which create epidemics of societal acceptance among various social groups.

These images of celebrities often provide the basis from which youths benchmark their thoughts, opinions and associations. The youth perceive such images as the social norm and, thus, as a means to attain the social acceptance that is so vital to their personal maturation. Youths are affected by the messages and images the media feed them with. Some of these images give them ideas of how to look and act to be accepted in today’s community (Okere and Uwom 2012). Taylor and Stern (1997); Weiss (2004) in Cyril de Run, Butt, and Yen Nee (2010) are of the opinion that teenagers and young adults have the tendency to be easily influenced by celebrities as compared to mature population because teenagers tend to copy the characteristics of celebrities, including their dressing patterns. Weiss (2004) adds that “this allows them to compensate their low self-esteem” (Cyril de Run, Butt, & Yen Nee, 2010). Everelles and Leavitt (1992) in Cyril de Run et al. (2010) further add that “there are some who would go over the limits by having plastic surgery just to look like their favorite celebrities.”

According to Jones (2005, p. 83), Music Television (MTV) continues to be a powerful cultural force. First introduced in the United States in 1981, MTV had an immediate impact on popular music, visual style, and culture. MTV was first to explore and introduce what are now staples of popular culture: It brought “mega-events” such as LiveAid, the merging of popular music and corporate sponsorship, “unplugged” acoustic performances, and reality programming in the form of The Real World (Jones, 2005). MTV quickly became an iconic presence in popular culture, not only inspiring visual media culture (Miami Vice, for example) but also inspiring songs about it (Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing and Beck’s MTV Makes Me Wanna Smoke Crack are two very different examples) (Jones 2005). It is against this backdrop that this study aimed at ascertaining the influence of MTV base musical programme on the dressing pattern of ABSU students.


1.2       Statement of the Research Problem

In recent times, it has been observed that a change is occurring in the mode of dressing and clothing style of the younger population (Nwodu, 2021). They dress weirdly and embarrassingly. The female younger population mostly dresses half nude; they prefer to wear trousers and skimpy shirts or tee-shirts that reveals their tummy, body hug which shows all the contours in their body frames or mini-skirt with a see – through tops while the boys although still wear shirt and trousers but which are always in various bigger sizes compared to their nominal sizes. Apuke (2016) further submits that “the way students on campuses of learning dress leave many to wonder where they get these dresses from. They tend to copy different television programme presenters and actors/actresses’ costumes projected on the screen which are mostly contrary to our traditional norms and values”.

In this 21st century, most MTV BASE programmes are characterized by the modernization of fashion sense which has its foundation in western cultures. Without paying attention to cultural diversities, MTV BASE produces programmes that are stuffed with Western ideas of fashion, singing, dancing etc. The influence of MTV BASE programmes on teenagers may not be immediate or out rightly effective due to some other variables like family, social group, peer group, etc.

Musical videos are veritable tools of mass communication, which cut across national and cultural boundaries with wide and fast distributing networks locally and internationally. Musical videos are seen as sources of entertainment and education, as well as conduit for promoting culture. Thus cultural transmission is a major role of the TV programmes. The dressing amongst Nigerian university students in ABSU today is a much far cry from the modest way of dressing in the past. The sudden shift of lifestyle from the good, to the bad and ugly has become some sort of disgrace and therefore calls for an urgent redress, and a study conducted to know ways of correcting this miss normal.

Nevertheless, the influence might be insidious and could lead the teenagers to harbor false ideas and exhibit negative social behaviour. The more they expose themselves to this entertainment television with reference to the amount of time some of them put into watching entertainment programmes, the greater the chance for them to develop a world view and a perception of reality similar to what they watch over time on entertainment TV. This study therefore is designed to examine the influence of MTV base musical programme on the dressing pattern of ABSU students.



1.3       Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to evaluate the influence of MTV base musical programme on the dressing pattern of ABSU students, while the specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To find out whether the respondents frequently watch MTV BASE programmes.
  2. To find out whether the students` dressing patterns are influenced by their viewership of MTV Base
  3. To determine the cultural implication of MTV BASE programmes on the dressing patterns of the respondents.
  4. To determine whether there is a significant relationship between the respondents’ viewership of MTV BASE programmes and the erosion of African culture.


1.4       Research Questions

Based on the above objectives, the researchers pose the following questions to guide the investigation:

  1. Do the respondents frequently watch MTV BASE progrommes?
  2. Does viewership of MTV Base programmes influence students` dressing patterns?
  3. What cultural implications do MTV BASE programmes have on the dressing patterns of the respondents?
  4. Is there any significant relationship between the respondents’ viewership of MTV BASE programmes and the erosion of African culture?




1.5       Hypothesis of the study

Ho: There is no significant relationship between respondents’ viewership of MTV BASE programmes and erosion of African culture.

H1: There is a significant relationship between respondents’ viewership of MTV BASE programmes and erosion of African culture.


1.6       Significance of Study

This study is relevant in the following ways:

It add to the existing literature in this field

It may serve as a reference document to Nigerian films and censors’ board.

It will serve as a reference material to policy makers.

The study will be beneficial to students and mass media researcher as a reference

It will help to provoke thought among the youth to re-assesse their dress pattern

It will be beneficial to video censors board.

It will also sensitise school authorities on the issue of dressing code.


1.7       Scope of the Study

The study on media influence shows that there are various behavioural and attitudinal influences that could be attributed to the media. However, this study is restricted to the influence of MTV base musical programme on the dressing pattern of ABSU students.

Therefore, it will not include other behavioural or attitudinal characteristics like musical videos influence on pattern of speech, pattern of language, pattern of love and relationship, etc. such can be taken up by other researchers. This is because the resources available for this study cannot cover all the universities in Nigeria.


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