Why women remain subjugated, objectified in the entertainment industry

Ifeoluwa Omodewu writes on the struggles of women in the entertainment industry and why gender imbalance in the entertainment industry remains an issue.

According to findings from a research on the equality of the roles of women and a gender equality poll between the sexes on the Cable News Network (CNN) recently, it showed that “there was nowhere in the world where women are considered to be equal to men”. It further posited that women, though a major part of the entertainment industry, still experience obstacles to their progress in the industry in other words, this equates gender imbalance.

A typical example of how women have lesser contribution in the movie industry is the type of roles assigned to women.

In Nollywood movies, women are depicted as sex objects, evil/conniving, incapable of making wise decisions, men-dependent and are given supporting roles while men are given hero-centric roles that make people see them as emotionally strong and stable, independent.

The way women are portrayed in movies, influences the opinions of the public towards women. The type of roles women get shows that our movie directors still believe that it is the normal ‘society defined’ role of a woman. Sexual favours are asked in exchange of promotion or an opportunity. This type of situation is called ‘casting-couch’ whereby men in power ask for sex in order to be a cast in a movie or for career advancement.

Not only do women experience subjugation in the movie industry, but also in the music and fashion industry. In the music industry, female artistes are made to appear half dressed in their music videos because the video directors believe ‘nudity sells’; also the type of agenda and lyrics that male artistes push with their songs and music videos often does more harm than good to women’s’ identities.

Various examples can be heard on songs where artistes sing about how women want to be with men only when they feel they can obtain money, not when these men are still struggling.

In the fashion industry, most people believe that fashion and women are ‘best friends’, but it is the opposite because the most influential fashion houses are owned by men. Men dominate the fashion industry as designers and CEO’S, and they also tend to advance more quickly than women in the industry.

These happen because the structures are organised and influenced by the existing societal norms and beliefs that men are more skilled than women when it comes to maintaining an executive position.

With the issues stated, it shows that the entertainment industry plays a big role in influencing gender imbalance in the society. However, the issues can be completely eliminated if directors, producers and male artistes change the way they portray women in their movies, songs and music videos.

Actresses should reject parts which debase and dehumanizes women in videos and films. The society should also encourage more women-dominated scripts and empower them to be the best they can be. Women in the music and fashion industry should believe they can make progress without living according to the social norms and stereotypes.

The professional growth of women in the entertainment industry and different places of work shouldn’t be limited to stereotypes.

Most importantly, the media should be a powerful tool to create awareness about gender issues, particularly the female gender, in the society.

Ifeoluwa Omodewu, an undergraduate from Bowen University, writes from Ibadan, Oyo State.


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