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The study explores the depiction of Nigerian women in home video films and its effect in shaping their idea among girls. The importance of home video films in Nigeria is immense due to their far-reaching popularity. The concern lies in the portrayal of Nigerian women in these films and how they create a perception amongst young women about the women of their country. Further many Nigerian women have expressed their dissatisfaction regarding the misleading portrayal of women in these films. So a study was imperative to find the extent to which they created a perception of women in films among young women.
The purpose of the research
The research is based on “cultivation theory” which states that people’s perception of reality is influenced by the depiction of reality in mass media, especially when the exposure to media is high. The other theories that support the idea drawn from this theory are “social learning theory” and “agenda-setting theory”.
The data for the study was collected from 40 respondents, men, and women in college. An Igbo language film was used as stimuli in this experimental study. Questions regarding the portrayal of women in the films being realistic or not, the image of women was negative or positive and the influence of such depiction on respondent’s perception was asked. The students were also asked to go through reviews of a few other video films based on the above set queries. The reviews had a collection of ten movies. The story of one of the movies as given was:
“In Deadly Affair, Isabella a big-time businesswoman engaged in all sorts of shady deals is unwittingly involved in an incestuous relationship with her son, Ike, who is in love with Bola, a girl his age. Consumed with jealousy, Isabella makes several attempts to eliminate Bola – sends thugs to beat her up, plants cocaine in her office, and seeks the assistance of a medicine man and a spiritualist to harm the young woman.”
Such depiction of women in the rest of the ten reviews was apparent. All the nine other movies showed a negative image of women.
The average age profile of the sample group was 19 years. The results of the study showed negativism in the image of women in Igbo language video films. All the 40 respondents said that the image of women and the roles they play are predominantly negative. This was expected due to the movie reviews showed to the participants. To answer the question, “How realistic is this image of women in these films?” the students gave a varied response. The eight-member focus group said the portrayal of women was unrealistic and they did not resemble anyone they knew in reality. But when the same question was put forth to the critical writing class, the response was for 50% of the class was that it was realistic but 81% of the class said that they did not know women like that in reality.
Hence the study concluded that the portrayal of women in Igbo films was unrealistic as 63% of the respondents felt so. So the author argues that as indicated by some of the responses, there must be Nigerian women who are as depraved and deplorable as the women in the films, thus investing the films with a measure of realism. But evil women, like negative news in the mass media generally, are ‘over-reported in these films. When it came to the issue of the influence of the portrayal of women on young women’s perception of women and social reality, the responses were a bit surprising.
Although a majority of the respondents saw a portrayal of women in video films as unrealistic, all the respondents still said that this portrayal and the image of women are capable of negatively influencing people’s perception of women and behavior towards them. Hence it can be stated as inconclusive.
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