Where were we? Oh yes, gender messages from the entertainment industry that irritate me or put another way, the reason why when I’m consuming Nigerian entertainment, I’m usually either angry or pretending not to be a feminist.
- The enlightened artist poking light fun at women. These are the kind of artists that I usually could listen to and watch all day – clever, funny, enlightened young men, banging beats, trendy hip outfits, cool dance moves, interesting lyrics…until the topic turns to women. Then they turn into finger wagging, self-righteous turds with indulgent grins on their faces as they tell you that they are good men but really! Aren’t women just generally unreasonable?!
I have no objection to men singing or rapping about bad experiences with women (it’s only when I realise how often female artists in Nigeria sing about how keen they are to die for a man they’ve just met that my mood turns dark) but again it’s the generalisation, the division, lack of any attempt to analyse societal reasons for this so-called unreasonable behaviour, the assumption that they can tell us what to be that ….well let’s just say it upsets me a bit. I will just add that perhaps if some of these artists had women staff above the role of receptionist, they may have a more rounded view of the female gender.
- Male celebrities that bemoan the fact that women of nowadays are no longer like their mothers and that the search for modern, new-fangled things like gender equality, a desire to be treated decently and some semblance of a life outside the family is what is ruining marriages. I won’t waste too much time on this one as I will be veering into the murky world of lambasting people whose view-points are the exact opposite of mine. I doubt if those people would have gotten past line 3 of this rant. I’ll just say this, what ruins marriages is bad behaviour. It could be bad behaviour of either or both spouses. However, when men behave badly and women do not put up with it, the women are ruining the marriages and/or failing to keep her toddler-king, sorry husband, from completely throwing his toys out the pram.
- Lyrics. So many examples but this one stands outs: If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then according to some Nigerian songs, the way to a woman’s heart is through mild but consistent harassment. Let me illustrate:
“I say I need you girl
You say you need some time
But time e no dey girl
Answer me on time
I dey beg you say make you follow me
You tell say you no love me” (from Sade by Adekunle Gold)
Well then, I think the answer is no, mate. There is a similar (but somewhat more aggressive) sentiment in his song ‘Friendzone’.
The singer (who I love and who has written many wonderful songs celebrating the humanity of women) is of course only expressing what already happens in society. Some would even say the characters in his songs are being romantic. Certainly, when I was growing up in Nigeria, a guy was expected to chase a girl and if he accepted the first (and second and third) no, he wasn’t ‘serious’. Similarly, if a girl said yes to a date at the first ask then she was ‘easy’ and the victory was not ‘sweet’. To be fair, all over the world, the chase is lauded as a sign of true romance.
However, when does no mean no? Isn’t this game dangerous in respect of the issue of consent? What happened when I was growing up was that a girl had to finally tell the guy in an aggressive, unpleasant and rude way that she wasn’t interested for him to finally get the message. Any niceness was a sign that there was still a chance.
- When a male celebrity is caught cheating and there’s the understandable and predictable backlash on social media or wherever and some pompous soul takes it upon him (or her) self to point out that no one ever said the man in question was a ‘perfect husband’
Apparently the only qualification for being a perfect husband is not cheating. A perfect wife, on the other hand, needs to be a great cook (and cook all the time), raise perfect children, have a flawless and youthful figure and face, have her own money, hand you her salary every month, NEVER question you, be humble, wash her husband’s pants by hand, cure cancer…you get the picture. Cheating doesn’t come into it. A woman who cheats is a demon. A man who cheats is ‘not perfect’. All together ladies “WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR YOU TO BE PERFECT, JUST DON’T CHEAT (and add disgrace by letting them catch your ass on camera)!!!!!”
Rant over. Soapbox under the bed. I’m just glad we’re having the conversation.