Women empowerment and domestic violence in selected Nigerian video films


domestic violence

How to Cite

Azunwo, E. E., & Kalio, F. O. (2018). Women empowerment and domestic violence in selected Nigerian video films. Journal of Gender and Power, 9(1), 97–123. https://doi.org/10.14746/jgp.2018.9.008


The concept of women empowerment in the society is as vital as the empowerment of their male counterparts. Studies have shown that when people are empowered, they become strong, independent and less vulnerable or susceptible to anybody or group of persons. This study in the film medium is extremely crucial, since it will help in redirecting the minds of the society against domestic violence against the women. This is because it aids the development of the society positively. This study applies textual analysis as a methodological tool to examine how the feminine gender is represented in the popular Nigerian film industry called Nollywood. Among the video-films analyzed are: Michael Jaja’s Thanks for Coming and Gallant Babes. The study applied the purposive sampling technique to arrive at these video-films and observes that the female folks are empowered; there will be less domestic violence, since empowerment brings about freedom, realization, and power to resist and confront enemies. It discovers that domestic violence can be physical, economic, psychological, emotional, etc., thereby having serious negative consequences on the women. Some of the representations on women here revolve around some demeaning attitudes towards the women folks, subjecting them to perpetual ridicule; such as being domestic servants, mischievous prostitutes or others that at best paint a negative picture of the Nigerian woman in the society. Except women are empowered, they will continually experience domestic violence, regular abuses, etc. This research did not deny that instances abound where women are also invested with super-human virtues as in some woman-warrior films, the concern here however to advocate for women empowerment in Nollywood which lead to the eradication of domestic violence. Hence, it argues, that rather than continue to perpetuate old fashioned inhumanity on the women, filmmakers and producers should flow with the tide of presenting women in better light that express their resourcefulness to the society.



ABRAMS, M. H. & HARPHAM, G. G. (2005) A glossory of literary terms. (8th ed.) New York: Michael Rosenberg.

ADENUGBA, O. O. (2010) Filminnigeria. [Online] Available from: http://filminnaija.blogspot.com/ [Accessed: 10th January 2012].

ADESINA, L. A. (2010) Audience perception of portrayals of women in Nigerian. In African Movie Review. [Accessed: 26th March 2013].

ADEYEMO, A. (1998) The impact of man on his environment. A relational approach. Port Harcourt: Emhai Books.

AMOBI, I. T. (2010) Audience interpretation of the representation of women in Nigeria Nollywood films: A study of women from different social contexts in Nigeria. [Online] Available from: www.myacademicresearchandcoferences. [Accessed: 7th May 2015].

ANDERSON, B. & ZINSSER, J. (1990) A History of Their Own: Women in Europe From Prehistory to the Present. London: Penguin Books.

BERG, B. (1984) The Remembered Gate: Origins of American Feminisms. Cited in Bell Hook Feminist Theory From Margin to Center. Boston: South End Press.

BILL, N. (ed). (1976) Movies and methods. (Vol. I). Berkeley: University of California Press.

BORKOWSKI, M., MURCH, M. & WALKER, V. (1983) Martial violence: The community response. London: Tavistock Publications.

BRAUDY, C. (2004) Film theory and criticism. (6th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

CHANDLER, D. (1997) An introduction to genre theory. Genre and the Free Encyclopedia. [Online] Available from: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/intgenre/chandler_genre_theory.pdf [Accessed: 10th May 2018].

CHARLES, E. (1998) Literary criticism: An introduction to theory and practice. London: Prentice Hall International.

CHAUDHURI, S. (2006) Feminist film theorists: Laura Mulvey, Kaja Silverman, Teresa de Lauretis and Barbara Creed. London & New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

CHUKWUMA, H. (1998) Feminism in Nigeria, problems and prospects. In: Wika, J. & Ifeanacho, M. (eds.) Women in development: The evidence from Nigeria. Abak: Belpot (Nig) Co.

COHEN, R. (2003) Theatre. (6th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hills.

EKWUAZI, H. (1987) Film in Nigeria. Jos: Nigerian Film Corporation.

EMASEALU, E. (2009) Dressing Female Liberation in a Borrowed Gown in Order to ‘Paint the Town Red’: A Critical Reading of the Video films Black Bra by Andy Amanita and Beautiful Faces by Kabat Esosa Egbon. Kiabara: Journal of Humanities. 1 (15). University of Port Harcourt: Port Harcourt, pp. 51–61.

ERENS, P. (1990) Introduction. In: Erens, P. (ed.) Issues in Feminist Film Criticism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

FISHER, P. (2009) The Development and Evaluation of a Primary Prevention and Intervention of Man’s Violence Against Women. Retrieved on October, 2016.

HOOKS, B. (2003) The oppositional gaze: black female spectators. In: Jones, A. (ed.) The feminism and visual Culture Reader. London: Rutledge, pp. 94–105. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9781474470254-012

JOHNSON, C. (1976) Women cinema as counter-cinema. In: Bill, N. (ed.) Movies and Methods. (Vol. I). Berkeley: University of California Press.

MALHOTRA et al. (2002) Measuring Women’s Empowerment as a Variable in International Development. The World Bank. [Online] Available from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTEMPOWERMENT/Resources/486312-1095970750368/529763-1095970803335/malhotra.pdf [Accessed: 8th March 2018].

MBA, N. (1992) Heroines of the women’s war. In: Awe, B. (ed.) Nigerian women in historical perspective. Lagos: Sankore Publishers Ltd.

MCHUGH, K. & VIVIAN, S. (2006) Introduction: recent approaches to film feminisms. Signs Vol. 30. No.1, p. 1205–1207. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/421877

MOE, A. M. (2015) Unveiling the gaze: Belly dance, a site of refuge, re-envisioning and resistance. In: Trier-Bieniek, A. (ed.) Feminsit theory and pop culture. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

NNAEMEKA, O. (1993) Sisterhood: feminism and power from Africa to the Diaspora, Toronto, NJ: Africa World Press.

NNOLIM, C. (1998) The image of women in Nigerian literature. In: Wika, J. & Ifeanacho, M. (eds.). Women in development: The evidence from Nigeria. Abak: Belpot (Nig) Co.

OGUNDIPE-LESLIE, M. (2007) Stiwanism: feminism in an African context. In: Olaniyan, T. & Quayson, A. (eds.) African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory. New Jersey: Blackwell.

OKOH J. (2012) Towards a feminist theatre in Nigeria. An inaugural lecture series No. 95, University of Port Harcourt.

PAULIN H. (2007) True and false pluralism. In: Olaniyan, T. & Quayson, A. (eds.) African literature: An anthology of criticism and theory. New Jersey: Blackwell Publishing Limited.

RICH, B. R. (1990) In the name of feminist film criticism. In: Erens, P. (ed.) Issues in feminist film criticism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

SHAKA, F. O. & OLA, N. U. (2012) Gender representation in Nollywood video film culture. The Crab: Journal of Theatre and Media Arts. 7, June, p. 1–30.

SONY, L. T. (2007) An open letter to Africans C/O the punic one-party State. In: Olaniyan, T. & Quayson, A. African literature: An anthology of criticism and theory. New Jersey: Blackwell Publishing Limited.

SVEDBERG, D. (1989) What do we see when we see woman/woman sex in pornographic movies. NWSA Journal. 1 (4), pp. 602–616.

TASIE, G. (2013) The place of women in African myths: A feminist perspective. Kiabara: Journal of Humanities. 19 (1), pp. 279–287.

TRIER-BIENIEK, A. (ed.) (2015) Feminist theory and pop culture. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6300-061-1