Sunday, July 19, 2009

Koko sexism

HiTV has so few subscribers that the latest reality TV show, KokoMansion, has not registered much impact on public consciousness. The format is a replica of the Flavor of Love reality tv series featuring Public Enemy's Flavor Flav. However, whereas the Flavor Flav show placed a heavy emphasis on sexual lure and curvaciousness revealed, the KokoMansion version predictably frames itself in conservative tones as the search for the "ideal Nigerian woman" with D'banj as the star in need of a romantic attachment. The show's website explains:

"Through specially designed tasks, these ladies' strengths, talents, tolerance-level, fashion sense, social etiquettes etc will be put to the ultimate test – where the viewing public will act as the grand jury in the eventual selection of which one of the 12 contestants should be considered as having the virtues worthy of an Ideal Nigerian Woman. With all the cultural values we hold high as Nigerians projected to the rest of the world. In a nutshell, this show is a celebration of the dynamism of the hard-working beautiful Nigerian woman –by sharing in her struggles, and celebrating her virtues."

The irony in all this is that the ideal Nigerian woman is portrayed as someone whose life must be defined by competition among her sex for a man, with marriage, and the grooming path towards it, as the pinnacle of life's achievement. As with the Flavor of Love, the emphasis on love and romance fails to mask the underlying celebration of patriarchy and polygamy. D'banj the koko-master is placed at the centre of the 12 'kokolettes' hopes and dreams. It would be hard to imagine a reversal of the format, with 12 men competing for the attentions of one woman. The show seeks to consolidate the idea that Nigerian women should only think of marriage and bettering their chances of being selected by the perfect Nigerian man.

It reminds of a boat trip to Ilashe I took recently. One of our party had brought a pretty young thing with him from the night before. He also invited four Unilag girls along, all heavily made up. As we tried to enjoy the beach and the vibe, he proceeded to weave between all five of his entourage, requesting that each become his 'special friend'. Life as one long hip-hop video. Patriarchy thrives on the economic vulnerability of young women, whose bodies become the currency that circulates across the field of desire. The KokoMansion is, in this respect, the very image of patriarchy and a celebration of the ideal that women's lives must be surveyed and controlled by men.


ShadeNonconformist 9:11 am  

Well said Jeremy! I couldn't have said it any better. Another criticism i have of the show is having the governess "monitor" the activities of the women: the implicit ideology being women, like children, need to be controlled so that "they do not behave badly." It's so ridiculous.

FIGE 3:35 pm  

I am yet to understand,what that show is all about, Are they now sayint that the ideal nigerian woman can be "picked" through selections, she know about, A show these ladies have sign up for, so as to be the next "KOKOLET". Funny as the "characters" might be, I stiill think the show lacks Some Content.
My FAV in the house is the most talked about......

nneoma 5:21 pm  

will not be able to catch the show, but did take a look at the profiles of the potential "kokolettes." Many of them did admit to coming from humble backgrounds or poor families....sexploitation at its best...

Anonymous,  5:40 pm  

Where there's a Kokomaster, there will always be Kokolets :)

At least he's keeping them off the streets and out of married men's beds.

OK - so I OD'ed on bitchorade....but those girls are not worthy of being filmed - from what I've seen.

Anonymous,  9:40 pm  

Jeremy, you wrote: "It would be hard to imagine a reversal of the format, with 12 men competing for the attentions of one woman."

Actually, it's not that difficult to imagine, with several shows along the same Flavor of Love format, such as 'The Bachelorette', 'I Love New York' and 'Daisy of Love' recently in rotation. And just as Nigeria apparently now has an indigenous version of Flavor of Love, one can only presume that its feminine counterpart is probably not that far behind.

Lost at The End 4:44 pm  

Can you imagine the girls talking about "the good old days when nigerian women were virgins before they married?" Lol! Who are they kidding?

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