Cast me not as a succubus or a jezebel: Nollywood actresses and the struggle against women stereotyping
The stereotyping and sexual objectification of womanhood in Nollywood films have partly been attributed to Nigerian actresses. According to a number of critics and scholars, female actors’ passivity and complicity are to blame for the continuous negative portrayals of women in films. This popular belief follows from the arguable myth that female actors most often accept demeaning roles in films; meanwhile, it is axiomatic that if they reject such roles, androcentric/sexist screen writers will be compelled to develop better female characters for their films. If the above logic seems pertinent, it tends to hastily generalise on Nollywood actresses’ attitude towards the objectification of womanhood. The logic also fails to recognise the grossly understudied efforts made by many Nigerian actresses against women stereotyping in the Nigerian film industry. This paper focuses on these understudied efforts with a view of filling a knowledge gap. Specifically, the paper hinges on secondary sources and critical observations to explore some of the ways in which Nollywood actresses have struggled – and continue to struggle – against women’s stereotyping in Nollywood films. In the first place, the paper examines women stereotyping and objectification in Nollywood films; and in the second it explores three ways in which Nigerian actresses resist their stereotyping in the Nigerian film industry. These include the rejection of demeaning roles, feminine feminist cinema and the tendency to request the same demeaning roles for men.