I now watch Nollywood films but sadly marriage still posited as primary worth of a woman

by EDINAH MASANGA | Sweden

You know, I now watch Nollywood on Netflix but sadly the women in these films are still hunting for men, ignoring their careers and making marriage the definition of their worth.

Well, here is the thing – marriage is a good thing but it’s not the primary thing. That is the only big disappointment with Nollywood. The picture and sound quality is now top class; the crying is much more improved and justified but one scourge remains; presenting women as hopeless subjects in pursuit of men.

But look, guys, we gotta do better you know. I’m sure that movies in which women are not making a marriage or getting a man their primary concern, even ignoring their careers, can still make money.

Nollywood is more like the pride of Africa in terms of film. It has done what many film industries failed to do – enter the world market on its own terms and create products for the African audience. It’s a breakthrough but we gotta use it meaningfully.

I have had discussions with many artists on the subject of writing for an audience and whether writers have a social responsibility. Of course most of the time I get the response that writers must be free to focus on their art and should not be burdened with social responsibility. Well, then it’s only you writers who want to be subjected to this kind of exemption because last time I checked we demand social responsibility from other socio-economic sectors. Why not artists? Especially when their recklessness is so blatant as to plant in the minds of young girls that the one thing they must never fail at is marriage?

Is that a modern truth? The presentation of a man as a deity and a woman the so ever desperate being searching to the ends of the earth until they find this deity? I don’t think so. I think it’s reckless and untrue. People could still search for love in films but it doesn’t have to be ninety minutes of desperate and groveling women trying to win the heart of a man. Please.

At the end of the day, it’s not about constraining artists but rather about demanding a certain kind of truth which must not be distorted recklessly in film and other entertainment narratives.

Women in Africa are ambitious and hungry for success. Yes, the status quo demands us to add a man to that success but that does not mean women are not making choices to live life on their own terms.

I know that the brilliant minds behind Nollywood can do better than this.

With love, your Zimbabwean sister.