Monday, March 5, 2012

Nollywood and Career Women - Married But Living Single

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The promo for a new movie has started making the rounds and after watching the preview, I had to ask the question, is it so terrible for a woman to be ambitious in her career? Now, I know that career women everywhere face greater challenges in terms of work-life balance and probably the Nigerian career women is more of a new breed and this has made it even harder for her. However, I think our society has to begin to cut career women some slack, and actually start celebrating those who, though not perfect, are able to find a middle ground between work and family.

One of my problems with Nollywood is they're overly biased. And it galls me now that the so-called "New Nollywood" might not be much better. I don't know how many of you watch Nollywood, I do sometimes, and I can tell you that the preponderance of female roles are negative. From young prostitutes, to irresponsible mothers, to wicked mothers-in-Law, to old witches. Isn't art supposed to be a reflection of reality? New Nollywood may look good, but they have to stop this tradition of skewing the Nigerian reality if they intend to stay the course in standing out.

See the official trailer and Synopsis for Married but Living Single below.


SYNOPSIS -Main Plot

Mike an entreprenuer is happily married to Kate who is the creative director of an advertising agency, she is so much engrossed with her carrer and winning the biggest brands for her company. Mike is diagnosed with cancer of the lungs in consequence of the smoking habit he had in his school days, he needs to go to India for surgery and the Doctor advised that his wife should take a leave and come with him to hasten the recuperating process, Kate agrees to go with her husband, but as they are about to travel, the biggest telecoms company in the middle east has just been licenced to operate in Nigeria, Kate's company stands the chance to win the bid for their adverts, and they will not be able to do the bidding without the creative director. Kate is torn in between travelling to help her husband recuperate and winning the biggest account ever for her company.

The extended story line goes as follows;

"Kate (Funke Akindele) works in an Ad agency with an overbearing boss played by Joke Silva. Kate is totally engrossed in her career at the expense of her family so much that she chose her career as against accompanying her husband Patrick (Joseph Benjamin) to India for surgery. Her neglect for the only child of the family is epitomized in the daughter’s love for only the father and even a stranger Titi (Kiki Omeli) who turned out to be her mother’s competitor at work and husband’s mistress." - KorrectNation.com

See preview below;


As you can see, the production looks great, and the actors too, seem to be doing a good job. However, if we say our movie industry has matured, it has to be more than superficial. There has to be a balance of stories. So, Nigerians like social consciousness stories that teach a moral, fine. Then teach not by showcasing mistakes, but by inspiring through role models. Let's start telling celebratory stories. I want to see a woman who is the protagonist in a Nollywood movie, not because she's a one-dimensional sinner or saint but who's a rounded woman, who with all her flaws, can still triumph at the end.

Sadly this is not the case with Married but Living Single.



40 comments:

  1. I always get frustrated with Nollywood and have kept away because the stories are so flat and the portrayal of women is terrible. I want films which teach or at least exemplify rounded women, women that we can look at and identify with their mistakes, ponder at the decisions they are faced with and rejoice at their triumph. Even when Nollywood allows a woman to succeed in the end, its always because a man comes to give her redemption but its not the case with men.
    I am not a feminist, however, I wish to see women like my mother who though she has her faults like every woman, has had some tough choices to make in her life and now is an icon to us her kids and the people who know her. Its time Nollywood give us women we recorgnise and can respect.

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    1. Thank you very much! I am beginning to watch more Nollywood these days after staying away for a while because of the good things I've been hearing. But their treatment of women issues is still very flat.

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  2. I completely agree with you. My mum is a career woman and she's managed to make it work for 25 years! We need more stories showing this because whether we like it or now, the media is a great influence on teenagers/young adults. It's not okay to overtly portray women in this light without also portraying those who have come out on top.

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    1. I have no research but in my experience, more than half of career women are able to find a balance and be an inspiration to their family, yet in Nollywood, I'm yet to see any of their stories.

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  3. Wow. Even the synopsis is biased -- somehow it sounds ok for the husband to have a mistress but not for the wife to not accompany him to India to hold his hand.

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    1. When I saw that second storyline, that was when i decided to write this. So we're supposed to pity the man because he's sick, and condemn his career wife. Does that justify that he has a mistress?

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  4. I don't totally agree with you guys, maybe it is because I don't watch a lot of Nollywood movies, or I watch more yoruba movies. I believe women are more portrayed as "Weak" always "heart-broken" or "drama-full" or the one who dearly dearly loves her children or husband. ... I don't see a lot about career women.

    I think there is a lesson to learn here. marriage or keeping a family is a "two-way" thing. they both should put in 100%. If one party isn't, the other party feels pressured, unappreciated, or taken for granted. Come on! your family over a job, when your spouse needs you?

    I don't see this movie as 'looking down' on women. I think we should see from another eye. whether it was the man or woman doing what she is doing, it is still wrong.

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    1. I did not say this movie looks down on women, my comment is that it portrays a 'bad' career woman, as does most of the other movies about career women. Even the yoruba movies you mention also show women as one-dimensional if they only show them as weak, or negative.

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    2. maybe it is cos I hardly ever watch these movies. and when I do it is a yoruba one. Will pay attention :)

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  5. I hear you. I have watched films where the whole family turns against the woman because she had a business meeting and came home a little later than normal. Its crazy! they say she doesn't care about the family. Her husband will start cheating.. The kids will run wild. Honestly if you just went by Nollywood you would think Nigerian are hella backwards!

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    1. Can you imagine that? I have hopes for new Nollywood, but...

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  6. Not to mention that the plots are always given away by the movie description..lol

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    1. That's actually what blurbs/descriptions are to do in books and movies.

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  7. You know, I never thought of it this way, but you're right. I watch Nollywood movies fairly regularly and most of these movies portray women in a negative light. It might have to do with the fact that men dominate the industry in terms of "behind the scenes" work (i.e. script writing, directing, producing, etc) and so these movies depict men's skewed perspectives on women. The story from a woman's perspective might be different. With more involvement by women in the industry (behind the scenes, I mean) things could change for the better. Just speculating though.

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    1. I think that is part of the problem. But I've also seen stories written by women that feed into that. But more education and information is definitely needed in the industry.

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  8. A while ago, I reached the conclusion that Nollywood generally speaking hates women. I know hate is a strong word but I stick to it. The way female characters are depicted shows a great dislike for women. I've written about rape culture in Nollywood and it saddens me that things still are not changing. It has been my personal opinion that Yoruba speaking movies tend to show more sympathy for female characters, a lot of whom are well-rounded. This is not to say there are no Yoruba movies that are problematic in the same way the boarder English-speaking Nollywood is.

    I find this movie's plot even more frustrating when so many Nigerian women are able to balance career and family. Where are the movies celebrating such women? Instead we have one, among many, shaming women for pursuing careers. Ugh.

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    1. And there are so many of such negative movies! I am beginning to think this is just the society nigerians live in that make the writers produce such stories.

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  9. Nollywood is an over exaggerated expression of what the writers think portrays Nigerians....I find the story lines of most of the Nollywood movies as very similar and one-dimensional. On the other hand over the years I have seen that scarily somethings that you think of as too far-fetched...I have tend to find out these things actually happen to some extent.

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    1. Yes, crazy things happen in Nigeria. In fact, I am sure there are many career women who drop the ball on their family sometimes. but surely they sometimes pick it up. And are there not those who are able to juggle it?

      And that is my question. Where are those stories?

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  10. In a society where men get away with battering and murdering their wives, and get another woman willing to step in as replacements even before the previous wife's corpse is cold, little wonder that women are portrayed in such a negative light in movies. Nollywood might be dominated by men, but who are the scriptwriters? This is a clarion call for the scribes in our midst to get more involved in the industry... change might be slow, but it will come....

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    Replies
    1. #Gbam Joxy- about the call for my blogger writers. Let the women's voices be heard. Let us tell stories the way we want things to be seen after all movies are not meant to just reflect society but teach society what they are doing wrong and why.

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    2. But what of a story that simply shows them that it can be done and how to do it right?

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  11. Myne!! Please and please, DO NOT get me started on Nollywood o! Ha, let me hold my peace, and pray they get it right one day, especially as I hear Nollywood movies are making waves 'all over the world?'...*eyebrow raised*
    The ones of today, or the Amaka Igwe ones that I saw very many years ago?
    I say let me hold my peace.

    By the way, I love Joxy's comment. As long as those who can provide something better do not get involved, we shouldnt complain complain.

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    1. I agree with that too, and that's why I'm trying to do my own bit.

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  12. They are getting better, but they still have a long way to go to be honest... let's hope the speed of change is quicker than it has been in the past.

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    1. I hope so too, I do have a love for Nollywood.

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  13. its very strainge but true and I would like to visit newer posts and also to reveal my thoughts with you.
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  14. So funny how Nollywood synopsis tells the whole tale... Why should I bother watching it then?

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    1. Well, better to see the synopsis than not know what it is about.

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  15. It's the fact that the woman is always the 'forgiving' one that does my head in. I believe in forgiveness, but the movies tend to portray cheating husbands and forgiving wives. I watched one where the wife cheated on her husband, never mind the fact that the husband had done the same previously, guess who got booted to the street and labelled a prostitute? I believe many of these storylines are written by men who embrace their own stereotype, they are not interested in change- so much for new Nollywood. These men LOVE the part of the Nigerian culture that allow them to eat their cake and have it, where there are double standards, men do no wrong and the mother is the parent of the badly behaved child, but the 'good kid' is daddy's child.
    It is sickening, perhaps we need more enlightened female writers and producers?

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    1. That will definitely help. I like Emem Isong's stories, but some female writers have bought into the stereotypes too, unfortunately.

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  16. Thanks Myne for the valid observation. As d writer/Director, i can assure you that the movie does not vilify the working woman, the synopsis hasnt exposed the entire story for obvious reasons. The story is about Husband and wife making mistakes and the two parties having the abilty to forgive and forge ahead. I tell you that Joke Silva will not act in a script that denigrates women. however, I agree with you that we have much to do the way we potray women in this part of the world. I also want you to observe that, we see the nudity of a woman more in American movies while u will hardly see that of their male counterparts. the Director is an Artiste, the Producer is a businesssman, there must be a meeting point betwween artistry and selling factor in filmmaking, most times it is better to give the people what they want if u dont want the Bank to run after you. Art and business are close enemies or distant friends, i have come to realise.
    warmest regards,
    Tunde.

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    1. Hello Tunde, thank you so much for making out time to visit my blog and comment. I understand the quandry story tellers often find ourselves in. I really look forward to watching the full movie, and wish you the best.

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  17. dear mayne
    ive been seeing your comments on ppl's blogs and i can honestly say i love your comments and that drew me to your blog just to go wide eyed..WHOA!!!...i must say you're a very talented woman mayne, i've added you to my bloglists and i would be following yours from henceforth..LOL.. and i would appreciate it if you check out my blog

    http://sugarspring-mindshade.blogspot.com

    but let me finish my duty here...
    talking about Nollywood movies and even african mentality, i guess you're somewhat right and so therefore, i concur and due to the dissapointments and storylines of nollywood movies, i stopped watching them especially when they hardly teach anything or hardly even make someone reflect on life. those days of Lizbenson and Onyeka movies were still good but now, all i see is money management or no good storyline...or bad ending
    like i was talking with a relative sometime ago about women and men cheating and He seemed to see Men cheating as "not wrong" as when "women cheat"...imagine that mayne!!!..africa, most especially our country see WOmen as like that adultress in the bible that the Men were ready to throw stones at her after dragging her out in public. if you noticed, the Man was not even identified!!!...and yet, they were BOTH doing wrong. women are seen as weaklings or someone built and designed for the kitchen and bedroom whereas, there's so much more to give. you see a man hitting his wife and they can liken it to discipline or disobedience of some sort but Let a woman start her own and Boy!...,the whole world will hear...the family members will gather and rain insults on her. they will even suggest another wife for the man like he's some sort of god or something that the woman should fall on her knees and worship
    don't get me wrong, WOmen should respect their husbands and other Men and Men should likewise treat women with respect. some have even given the excuse that some girls have fallen so low to be respected but amidst the majority, we still have the chosen ones and good women out there and so that's no excuse and so the likelihood of portraying our lifestyle and mentality is bound to take charge in nollywood movies.
    SLum dog millionaire and 3 idiots were beautiful drama movies without too much effects or supereffects we see in AMerican or English movies..LOL(talk about Harry potter, the matrix and Incredible hulk, Thor, superman and the likes)but they won awards and they made ppl laugh and cry and shake their head in wonder that "WHoa!!...that was a movie worth watching and paying for"...
    thats the kind of movies we want to see our directors in Nollywood do..scriptwriters, producers, screenplay,adaptation etc..a walk to remember was also drama and yet that movie brought tears to so many ppl's eyes. check out the statistics on FB and you'll see it was loved by about 7Million or so..now thats what we're talking about
    as for my brother, He has vowed never to watch nigerian movies ever again due to his several disappointments. he was never a fan but he tried but still ended up disappointed
    i do hope nollywood will do something to make up for the lost fame they have
    thanks mayne, thats my comment, opinion and ....

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  18. dear mayne!!
    i want to say this is the first time im visiting your blog and i'll honestly say you're so talented and i love your articles. i stumbled upon your blog when you commented on Priscy's blog and i loved your comment.and when i saw yours i was like WHoa!!!!!...you've done well
    my blog is
    http://sugarspring-mindshade.blogspot.com/ and i'll love to know what you think..but let me face my present business on your present article.
    i guess you've said it all...Nollywood movies being the same old storyline and all...cant we see something new and as for the women's part, i guess it's the way Our women are seen in this part of the world that influences our movies. it's either she's a weakling built for the kitchen or the bedroom and inferior to men.
    a relative of mine even believes men having so many wives or rather cheating is not as bad as a woman doing the same.Imagine that!...just like the adultress in the bible that was to be stoned in Public. it's amazing that the man was not included in the act also. it was only the woman that the Men deemed it fit to stone!!!!like he doesnt deserve the sme punishment
    even in family meeting when things go wrong, it's the woman that gets majority of the insults and a new wife is suggested for the man..like he's some sort of god to be worshipped.
    i'm not saying women should disrespect their husbands but respect shoulde reciprocal and True love(God's love) should dictate how to treat your wife or women and not our culture
    my brother has given up on nigerian movies and i do hope they can redeem themselves cos i have too due to the disappointments of bad storyline, poor acting or bad endings that cant compensate for the movie you've just watched.
    'slumdog millioniare' and 'a walk to remember' were drama movies, simply made but yet they were able to bring people to their emotional peak. nigeria may not have good effect for superhero movies but at least, a good and touching, well composed scriptwriting and screenplay adaptation with wonderful directing should be able to stand and win a good award
    now thats my thought, comment and...LOL...the rest

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  19. I'm proud of nollywood. Thats all i have to say. Their movies make me happy no matter what

    ReplyDelete
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