THE MALEVOLENCE OF NIGERIAN MOVIES IN OUR CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY
The media is evidently seen as one of the agents of socialization, in the study of the society. This means that the media is capable of influencing the attitude, character, lifestyle and culture of individuals either negatively or positively. Today, the nature of most Nigerian movies have grown or evolved from bad to worse, especially on the part of those that portray sex, pornography and vulgarity. This is evidently malevolent because since members of the audience of Nigerian movies also constitute members of the society, and the media, especially television, is as well, capable of influencing an individual’s behavior, the negative effects of these videos will also indirectly affect the society at large. Therefore, this study seeks to look at the extent of the malevolence of Nigerian movies in our contemporary society, by looking at the nature and content of these movies and why it is still being patronized by audience members despite its malevolent nature. The objectives of this study, aims at finding out the negative effects of Nigerian movies generally, and how it affects the society by posing as malevolent. This can be done by trying to ascertain if there is an over-emphasis of negative themes in Nigerian movies and identifying the negative effects or disadvantages associated with watching these movies as well as to find out how Nigerian movies can affect the society at large. The expected outcome of this study is that the government and parents as well will get to realize the level of negative influence that watching of home videos has on not just people, but on the society at large. Though various methods of data collection suitable for this study include, observation, questionnaire and interview, but the only method of data collection used in the study was that of questionnaire.
1.1 Background to the Study
Nigerian movies, popularly referred to as Nollywood movies, produced by the Nigerian film industry uses formats such as video cassette, video compact disc (VCD), and more recently the digital video disc (DVD), in producing their movies. These Nigerian movies are also shown on some channels such as “Africa Magic”, “Nollywood”, “Magic Africa”, etc, on DSTV, “Cine Africa”, “MYTV”, as well as other cable networks which people subscribe to and which are viewed by the audience through the television, which is classified under the types of media, among others.
The media is evidently seen as one of the agents of socialization, in the study of the society. This means that the media is capable of influencing the attitude, character, lifestyle and culture of individuals either negatively or positively. Therefore, it is important to know what kind of movies are being produced for viewing, since as a result of technology, more and more people in the society, have access to television.
According to Daramola(2005), “The mass media are very powerful socializing agents. The mass media are mainly newspapers, magazines, radio, television and movies. They are impersonal sources and they reach large, heterogeneous and widely dispersed audiences. Their exact role in socialization is controversial but as disseminators of news and entertainment, they are extremely influential. The mass media therefore, especially the television, have been linked by several studies of having great influence upon socialization of children, adolescents and even adults”.
Consciously or unconsciously, people, most especially children and youth, learn different aggressive and violent acts as they constantly watch these movies and most times they end up exhibiting such acts within their neighborhood, in school and within other social gatherings. As they watch movies with violent themes, they are likely to exhibit various criminal acts like bullying, kicking, raping and other delinquent behaviors. (Oslow, 2003)
The themes of these movies are indeed broad and covering Nigerian, African, and universal issues such as, the evils of polygamy, extra marital affairs, elopement, different forms of rituals, cultism, betrayal, marriage, witchcraft, incest, clash of Western and traditional cultures, landlords and tenants, widowhood, teenage pregnancy, drug trafficking, campus life, tribal conflicts, religious conflicts, organized crime, murder, etc (Akpabio, 2003:138-139).
Some other movies have themes solely based on Christianity and the evils that go on in churches and among pastors, such as those produced by Mount Zion Ministries, for the purpose of spreading the gospel and pointing out the ills that go on even in churches. Some examples include, “Busy but guilty”, “Blood on the altar”, “One careless night”, etc. Many other movies could be educative and portray some Nigerian culture, while others could also be in form of documentaries, showing the history of some Nigerian culture as well as how it has evolved. An example of such documentary movies is “Towards a metaphysics”, produced in 2010. But unfortunately, the most common themes evident in the majority of Nigerian movies includes violence, which umbrellas cultism, murder, rape, aggressive fights, etc, and Romance, which covers sex, nudity and vulgarity or the use of strong language, etc. Another common theme is that of rituals and the use of traditional medicine.
Most of these are evidently negative themes and are therefore malevolent to the development of personality and behavior of its audience members in our contemporary society, especially the youth and children who are still at the primary and secondary stage of their socialization or learning process, and are vulnerable or prone to picking up or adopting attitudes and behaviors from what they observe in the movies.
The portrayal of negative themes has been the base of Nigerian film industry, probably because of the gains gotten from constant patronage from its audience as well as the interest the audience members have in pornography, nudity, violence and the likes. The industry was accused of over-emphasizing negative themes. The National Film and Video Censors Board, (the industry regulatory body), in its guidelines for motion picture producers, called for production to be above board in portrayal of violence, crimes, sex, pornography, vulgarity, obscenity and other sensitive subjects (NFVBC, 2000:107-111).
Today, the nature of most Nigerian movies have grown or evolved from bad to worse, especially on the part of those that portray sex, pornography and vulgarity. From experience, a comparison of older films such as “Outcast 1 & 2” and “Night Out (Girls for sale)” produced between 1999 and 2000 and more recent ones such as “Dirty Secret” and “Men in Love” produced between 2010 and 2011, has proven that the level of the portrayal of nudity, pornography and sex has become worse than before, the actors and actresses are now more comfortable with being nude, while acting.
This is definitely malevolent to some audience members who will develop more interest in pornography and may eventually become addicts. This will not only increase the number of rape reports, but will also give rise to more and more cases of teenage pregnancies, abortion, as well as abandonment of unwanted babies which increases the number of children to be cared for at motherless babies homes.
Another issue is the constant production and distribution of these movies, which goes to show that people actually patronize them by buying the movies for either personal viewing or to rent to people in video shops, in spite of the nature of most of these movies.
Therefore, in trying to find out how home videos can pose as malevolent to our contemporary society, it is also important to find out what the members of the audience think about the nature of some of the themes portrayed in home videos, as well as what their attitudes towards such movies are, since it directly affects them.
1:2 Statement of the Problem
If an investigation or a study is carried out on the category of people that make up the majority of the audience members of Nigerian movies, the result will definitely prove that it is children, adolescents and the youth. The minority will be older people because of the responsibilities of going to work, earning a living and planning a home, which they are faced with. As the youth grow and mature into adulthood, they gradually lose interest in watching movies because they begin to prioritize some things over others and also develop a sense of responsibility (Daramola, 2005).
A study by Liebert and Poulson (1972), cited by Hess at al (1988), reveals that children in Canada begin to watch television before they are three years old. By the age of eighteen, a child will have spent more time in front of the television than anywhere else, including school. In the United States of America, children watch over three hours of television per day.
Schaefer and Lamm (1997) study, also reveal that apart from sleeping, watching television is the most time-consuming activity of young people. The same trend is going on in the Nigerian contemporary society, particularly in the urban cities. It is very common to find children watching movies and videos every day.
Since members of the audience of Nigerian movies also constitute members of the society, and the media, especially television, is also capable of influencing an individual’s behavior, the negative effects of these videos will also indirectly affect the society at large. That is to say that if people adopt some certain behavior as a result of these movies, it could indirectly affect the society by creating social problems such as, increase in rape reports, abortion, over-crowding of motherless babies homes due to unwanted babies, violence, increased crime rates and juvenile delinquencies, e t c.
Therefore, this study seeks to look at the extent of malevolence of Nigerian movies in our contemporary society, by looking at the nature and content of these movies and why it is still being patronized by audience members despite its malevolent nature.
1.3 Research Questions
This study will seek answers to questions such as:
1.) Is there an over-emphasis of negative themes in Nigerian movies?
2.) What are the negative effects or disadvantages associated with watching Nigerian movies?
3.) How can Nigerian movies affect the society indirectly?
4.) What are the best possible ways to prevent or reduce the negative effects or malevolence caused by Nigerian movies in our contemporary society?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The major objectives of this study, is to ascertain the impact of Nigerian movies on the general society.
The specific objectives of the study are as follows:-
1.) To ascertain if there is an over-emphasis of negative themes in Nigerian movies.
2.) To identify the negative effects or disadvantages associated with watching Nigerian movies.
3.) To find out how Nigerian movies can affect the society indirectly.
4.) To suggest ways to prevent or reduce the negative effects or malevolence caused by Nigerian movies in our contemporary society.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study looks at the malevolence of Nigerian movies in our contemporary society. The study does not dispute the fact that the television which is one aspect of the media, is also very beneficial to learning and development processes, and as a matter of fact, goes a long way in socializing individuals by helping them blend more easily into the society due to the amount of information passed on to the audience through well coordinated motion pictures with various contents and storylines.
As a medium of communication, the home videos are influential media and have the capacity of sending a wrong message or impression to the viewing audience especially young people in their vulnerable stages of growth. Moreover, such impression could spell a big problem to the entire society owing to the fact that the youth learn more easily from what they see or observe than from what they hear.