Nollywood And The Sexploitation of Women


They are a very important necessity to life in today’s society; either be it for good or bad. You can never underestimate their value and importance.

They are the reason why a man can pro-create his likeness, they are the attraction that’s designed to soften the hard core of a man’s heart. They wield the ‘kryptonite’ that would make every strong, bold and powerful man fall to his knees.

They are the reason why many are wealthy and the reason why many are poor.

They are the reason why many rise and also the reason why many fall.

They are the ones that bring forth a man’s sweet side and also the ones that conjure his innate violence.

They are the ones who can enslave a man and also the ones who can submit to a man.

They are the mothers, wives, lovers, friends that make good things happen. They can also be the whore, nag,  fraud, mistress that make bad things happen. 

It all depends on which perspective they operate from.

And the world in its vain and infamous glory has found a way to exploit women, most especially for one of the most powerful weapons that they carry – their sexuality.

Switch on any music channel on cable or on TV. They are there in their youthful exuberance being exploited via the reckless flaunting of their vivacious bodies; video vixens shaking every element that palpitates the sexual heartbeat of any male that dares to glare at their movements. 

The music artiste that lacks creativity has come to find them to be the key element to boost viewership of his music video on air. They are the eye candy that any man extra-fond of the female gender can neither resist nor gainsay. This has become the norm; creativity is going extinct as smut and sexuality is being touted as imagination. While the music industry in the western world has overblown the exploration and sexploitation of women in their videos and moved on to showing scary esoteric visuals, Naija has firmly embraced of the art of flaunting the feminine gender as sex eye-candy in videos.

The title is the same, the game is the same but the language is different.
And just when the glass cup of the Naija music scene was foaming and frothing over with sexual exuberance, Nollywood decided to up its ante by exploring the idea of amplifying it further.

Sure, men are also involved but a man doesn’t pull in as much ratings as a nude or half clad woman on a DVD cover. But it’s not even only about manufacturing misleading DVDs covers but now about shooting movies that focus entirely on women and sexcapades or using risqué scenes of a flick to sell movies.  

Nollywood Chick Flicks: so many things in common.

Currently, the trend has spread across Nollywood and we can see it oozing from the numerous movie posters about video clubs and movie shops. Movie producers have now delved into all kinds of productions of these Naija chick-flicks most of which have storylines surrounding a clique of scandal-minded or adventurous young women. To push the edge, sex scenes have become more graphic and pronounced in many of these flicks (I wrote stuff about this some time ago).

The trend has blown out so much that even our Ghanaian counterparts have also caught the bug and churned out their own chick-flicks as well. Oh, did I mention that Yoruba Nollywood also has a big share in this trend? Oh yes…and it’s never stopped escalating.

While these chick-flicks may draw the attention of women for the fact that they can relate to the issues reflected in the movies, the men are drawn by the vivacity of women displayed in the movies. Have you noticed how the costumes are usually extremely flashy? The ladies in these chick-flicks a lot of times are not just dressed to kill, they are dressed to mutilate.

Chick-Flicks exploiting social media and trending names
Each time I see any of these movies I watch how the camera shots visually harass the actresses – focusing on their ‘arsenal’ at naughty angles, accentuating them in ways that could turn a celibate priest into a hypocrite. Even in love-making scenes, the focus most of the time is on the woman. I can only conclude that producers or directors are out to make sure they exploit every avenue of exposure as much as they can.

No wonder almost every chick-flick has age rating ‘18’ on them – another way of saying ‘watch at your moral detriment'.

Yoruba Nolly representing.

Another paramount trend is the cheesy and naughty titles of many of these movies.  Even the titles appear to be a cheap exploitation on the female gender. You see smutty titles like; Vain Girls, Sexy Girls, Hot Girls, Angolo Girls, Tattoo Girls, Airline babes, College girls, Lagos girls etc. Some also exploit social media, famous and infamous brand names to hype their flicks. You see movies with titles such as; Fazebook Babes, Omoge Facebook (Yoruba counterpart),Twitter babes, 2go Babes, Obama Babes, Blackberry Babes, Bold Five Babes, Brazillian Hair Babes, Aso-Ebi Girls, Illuminati Girls. From the Ghanaian stables comes others like; Azonto Babes, Perfect Girls, Government Girls, Bigger Ladies. The Yoruba offers its own share with movies like, Omo ghetto (Ghetto Babes), Omo Gucci (Gucci Babes), Awa Obinrin (We the women), Gbogbo Bis Gees (A spin off idea from Funke Akindele's Jenifa which refers to high profile chicks) . It seems the words ‘Girls’ and ‘Babes’ have become a recurring decimal in this trend. 
Ghanaian Chick-Flicks
Some flicks have however managed stay clear of using the now cliché qualified-gender titles and have gone the way of other cheesy titles like Private Part, Girl’s in the mood, Mama and the Girls, Girl Connection, All My Ladies etc. The list is almost endless.  

It’s a vicious cycle that doesn't seem to have any end in sight; there’s a bandwagon that’s carrying ambitious producers in its wake and they keep churning out more and more of these kind of flicks every day. The appalling thing about them most of the time is that the titles don’t have much or nothing at all to do with the story lines.

But this is not to say that Nollywood is on a total regression. I have come to differentiate Nollywood productions into two classes  - like it or not but it has become evident that Nollywood movies can now be categorized into the High budget productions (A list productions)and the Low budget productions (most of the time referred to as B-movies in the western movie circuit). Some fall in-between and fare well in quality but those that fall in the B-movie range can be classed as the productions pursued by Alaba Market based producers. The desperation of this class of producers has driven them to explore sexploitation themes. 

As of three years back, Nollywood's advent into shooting sexually graphic scenes caused so much commotion and many decried it. Today, they have gotten more adventurous with it and even explore more sensitive themes that would leave many aghast.  And to add salt to injury, some well known actors and actresses who may have been faced by the threat of irrelevance in the industry are taking up challenges to feature in graphic flicks. 

In a world where there are movements fighting for the emancipation of womenfolk from various forms of abuse, this is one form that may not get much leverage because of the many factors involved. Many ladies in question would willingly not mind getting paid for being exploited as the mind-set of 'using what you have to get what you want' reigns supreme. The threat of poverty and financial lack is equally a motivating factor.  

And so what next? What will Chick-flicks look like in the next few years to come? Is it going to get worse? Is the degradation of women going to get worse? 

I sincerely wish I could predict that.

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