Women and Scopophilia in Nigerian Video Films: A Celebration of Culture or the Perpetuation of the ‘Male Gaze’
Methuselah JEREMIAH, PhD
Department of English and Drama
Kaduna State University
Women have played a vital role in the film industry in Nigeria. They have brought life into this art form. However, the presentation of women in home videos has also left a lot to be desired. They have variously been presented more within the trope of the temptresses, the nags, the witches, but especially more as sex objects. A close examination of most of these films indicates the objectification of women into mere sexual objects to satisfy the sexual fancies of men. This has to an extent affected even the dynamics of film production in Nigeria given that professionalism and art are sacrificed on the altar of lewdness and voyeurism. The more beautiful a girl is, the more likely that she will get a role; whether she can act or not is another thing. The end result of all this is the poor and terribly produced films which dot the whole landscape. This study investigates this phenomenon under the concept of Scopophilia, which itself literally means, the love of looking. The term refers to the predominantly male gaze of Hollywood cinema, which enjoys objectifying women into mere objects to be looked at for sexual satisfaction, a situation that has found inroads into Nigerian movie production, too. The suggestion in this study is that the consumerist attitude of Nigerians has by and large engendered the booming business of these poorly but highly suggestive forms of voyeurism. The conclusion is that because Nigerian men love viewing women as sexual objects, the film makers have by and large been influenced to produce their films so, so as to satisfy the market.