GENDER STEREOTYPE IN SELECTED NIGERIAN HOME VIDEOS
1.1 Background to the Study
The Nigerian home video industry popularly called “Nollywood” has really become a global phenomenon. It has been a major source and the most subscribed form of artistic entertainment by Nigerians. Ezechi (2003) sees Nollywood as the third largest in the world after Hollywood in California, USA and the Indian film industry, Nollywood. In Nigeria, the Nigerian home movies remain popular because they speak to those aspects of life that many people live. They speak to and debate on both social and cultural anxieties the way no other media had done before.
Through this medium many have cone to share in the peculiar Nigerian experience. As much as industry is celebrated, it has not all been adoration and praises especially with the way men and women are stereotyped in Nigerian home movies.
There is the growing perception that many of the presentation in our home videos reproduce the dominant gender stereotypes prevalent in our society. Scholars such as Okunna (1996) agree that the mass media have enormous powers to influence people’s cultivation of social reality. For example, Noelle Newman in her theory of spiral of silence, assert that people look at issues and persons only in the shape that the media see them. This agrees with the modeling theory which says that young children are likely to copy not only the behavioural pattern of role models but also the values, beliefs and orientations expressed in both Overt and Covert behaviours depicted in the media.
Okunna (1996) argues that the realization of the socializing influence of the media has made many people to condemn violent and socially deviant content and negative stereotyping of vulnerable groups. Nowadays through the increasing power of mass media, it is a fact that images have a strong effect in the promotion of certain gender roles. These hidden forces shapes us and our world view, often without us being aware that they are doing so. (Journal of language and linguistic studies Vol. 1, No. 1, April 2005).
Stereotype are simply, one dimensional portrayals of people usually based on sex, race, religion, profession or age. We all stereotype people to some degree as we try to make sense of the world. People organize their knowledge about the world around them by sorting and simplifying received information. Therefore they create cognition schemes, which are certain representation of the reality displaying its most typical and fundamental elements and properties. These schemes are responsible for defining the essence of our world view and have a significant influence on social cognition-understanding, anticipation, situation and emotion control. One of the most important types of schemes used for orientation in the social environment are the stereotypes, representing the opinions among members of a certain group about the other groups. They are internalized during socialization. They can be a result of our own observation or be adopted from the influence of the significant others such as family, friends, teachers and media.
Because of many simplifications and generalizations that they produce, stereotype present incomplete subjective and sometimes false image of the reality. They are often based on traditions and are resistant to change. Although they can both have positive and negative undertone, the latter is much more common.
As media becomes an ever more powerful force in shaping the world’s perception of itself, an individual’s struggle to maintain a unique identity and self understanding apart from media influence becomes increasingly difficult. Damaging to the idea of the self are the racial, gendered, and class-based stereotypes.
Heightened public awareness of both the existence of and potential damage caused by these stereotypes is essential if they are to be eliminated. Frequently, though, they are difficult to combat and even to identity because of the ways in which they are presented.
Overwhelming amounts of time and energy are devoted to uplifting a small, specially selected potion of the population as models of physical perfection. These individuals are, predominantly television and movie celebrities, fashion models and sport figures. The glamorous ways in which these occupations are portrayed by the media are seemingly impossible to separate from the physical appearance of the people who hold them. The glamour that surrounds the media presentation of the lives and career of these individuals extends, not surprisingly to the clothes that they wear and the way that they look. In fact, so much attention is given to celebrity appearances that entire television programme are devoted to little else but visual exploitation of celebrity clothing and their tangible products of their latest fad workouts.
The film industry today is more sensitive to issues of culture and gender than it once was but many movies still perpetuate common misconceptions about groups of people. Such as in over simplified and inaccurate portrayals can profoundly affect how we perceive one another, how we relate to one another and how we value ourselves.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Nigerian home videos, men and women have been portrayed negatively and it has become a prominent feature which has received some condemnation.
Since its emergence a decade ago, the home video industry has also witnessed a boom in terms of quality of films churned out by the practitioners. Besides, it has discovered many talents and nurtured others. The industry has also promoted ingenuity, created opportunities for investment, export and foreign exchange it is estimated that it generates and annual income of over N 5 billion.
Despite these achievements, critics claim the industry has also added another dimension to societal problems, on the male and female artistes’ stereotype. Imagine the way men are stereotyped in home videos as cultists, men portrayed as uncaring to their wives, unfaithful, irresponsible to their families, drunkards, armed robbers, women portrayed as way ward, low morality, easily lured by material things, subservient to men causes for family problem, fit for domestic rather than, professional and career roles.
In fact the excitement over the stereotype of male and female artistes has generated public condemnation and campaign for a ban on some categories of local films. However, we cannot ascertain whether these allegations are true. Therefore we need to find out the extent this claims are true. Hence, the question, how is gender stereotyped in Nigerian home videos?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study sought to achieve the following objectives:
1. to find out how men are stereotyped in select Nigerian home videos.
2. to find out how women are stereotyped in select Nigerian home videos.
3. to find out what negative stereotypes are assigned to men and women in Nigerian home videos.
4. to determine the proportion of negative stereotypical roles assigned men and women in select Nigerian home videos.
1.4 Research Questions
The study sought to answer the following research questions:
1. How are men stereotyped in Nigerian home videos?
2. How are women stereotyped in Nigerian home videos?
3. What negative stereotypes are assigned to men and women in Nigerian home videos?
4. What is the proportion of negative stereotypical roles assigned to men and women in Nigerian home videos?
1.5 Justification of the Study
A study such as this is important now that there are growing calls for our home video producers to reflect a balanced picture of the social and professional presentation of men and women in our society. It will help filmmakers to capture topical issues of gender importance and disseminate the positive values through movies.
As Nollywood occupies an enviable positive in Africa and the world at large, there is an urgent need to investigate the kinds of images out artist are presented in our home videos, moreover, we need to find out whether they are largely stereotyped which may position them unfairly in the society or the world at large.
The result of this study would therefore give into the way gander is being stereotyped by the roles they are assigned in our movies and also enlightened viewers on how to differentiate between the make belief world of movies and real life. The result would also guide producers and filmmakers on what should be done to tackle this presentation. On the whole, it will add to knowledge in these rather fertile but largely untouched areas of media effect.
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
The study was restricted to the analysis of Ten Nigerian home videos, specifically focusing on gender stereotypes in select Nigerian home videos and how men and women are stereotyped respectively.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The study had to do with gender stereotype in Nigerian home videos which required a population of all the Nigerian home videos produced in 2010, the population figure was difficult to find at the point of check. The Nigerian film and video censor board website was under construction and did not have the information needed. So the head office in Abuja was called and they said that there will compile it and send it through the website, so the study had to wait till then.
Another limitation was that since the ban of the production of parts other than part one and two, filmmakers now change the names of continuation which are suppose to be part three, four and so on, this hindered the selection of the movies because the names of the part three, four, five and so on will be changed, making it difficult to know the name of their part one and two. This hindered the study from following a particular movie series to the end and studying the stereotypes in them. So the ones that that were known was made use of
1.8 Definition of Terms
- Gender: Gender is the fact of being male or female and also the process by which individuals who are born in biological categories of male and female become the social categories of men and women through the acquisition of locally defined attributes of masculinity and femininity.
- Stereotypes: In the Nigerian home videos, these are a set of rigidly formed ideas or images about men and women that are used as a justification for presenting them in home videos.
- Negative Stereotypes: In the Nigerian home videos this involves assigning roles to men and women at the expense of our culture and tradition such as women portrayed as easily lured, low in morality, materialistic, subservient to men, fit for family and domestic rather than professional and career roles, lazy and dependent on men. And men, portrayed as uncaring to their wives, irresponsible to their families, unfaithful to their wives, drunkards, cultist.
- Portrayal: In the context of this study portrayal means how men and women in the Nigerian home videos are presented to the public.
- Nigerian Home Videos: These are Nigerian feature films in videos format which are produced and sold for home entertainment.
- Roles: This refers to the part men and women are assigned in the Nigerian home videos.
- Episode: Episode refers to each sequence of event recorded in select Nigerian video production as a unique movie with major and minor characters.