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Trust Nigerians to turn BBNaija into one big hypermasculinity contest

BBNaija

There are quite a number of things I dislike about this season of BBNaija, from Big Brother’s oddly automated voice that feels like something straight out of the horror film Saw, the adverts that would make your eyes bleed, and the terribly diabolical theme song. But nothing compares to the constant social media usage of “alpha male,” a term that I never thought I’d dislike with every fibre of my 75kg being.

Since BBNaija was brought back for a third season in January, fans of the show have popularised and assigned alpha male to some male housemates that they consider “manly,” “dominant,” “a man’s man,” “a stand-up guy” and “the real man.” Oh puh-lease. Just listing these descriptors will forever have me rolling my eyes. But let’s carry on. You already know these male housemates. But I think this alpha male thing originated with Teddy A? His actions in the house, whether he’s flexing his muscles or talking in that vaguely brute way, gets the swooning alpha male approval. Even his toilet sex with BamBam (and seemingly lasting longer, or whatever) was so alpha male, according to a legion of fans on social media that have risen to defend his honour.

In Tobi’s introductory video during the unveiling of housemates, he was shirtless and doing push-ups, and casually said that he works out to get the ladies. An alpha male trait is one that attracts women, and, several times, I have seen women on social media swoon over Tobi and Teddy A. Put Miracle in the mix and we have the official Alpha Male Wars. For whatever reason, Teddy A and Tobi don’t like each that much, as evidenced by the way they nominated each other for eviction just before the pairing system was dissolved. When BBNaija host Ebuka asked Teddy A what he honestly thought about Tobi last week, Teddy A littered his opinion with the word “man”, a way to inform Tobi that he had to act like one (this is your fault, Cee-C).

I’m indifferent to Miracle as a housemate. He went from quiet, withdrawn wallpaper in the first few weeks of arriving the house to one of the central personalities on the show. And I think it’s good for him. He was even the first to have sex in the house with Nina, has won challenges to become Head of House, and he’s still a strong contender in winning the prize money. But what does all these say about masculinity?

Big Brother Naija has presented this season’s buzzword salad in the alpha male, the apex for all things traditionally masculine. But this is not a healthy categorisation, as it puts men into a box of set qualities, like strength and courage. It’s no surprise that Teddy A’s cooking is disastrous and that Tobi once jokingly said that he can’t cry because he’s a “grown man.” We can admire these male housemates for their masculine physique, their warped negotiations with gender that resonates with us, and how they are glorified as better than other men that aren’t “real.” Once, evicted housemate Ifu Ennada alluded that K Brule doesn’t seem man enough, feminine in a way that discourages sex from happening with him. I guess women recognise an alpha male when they see one, and K Brule wasn’t just it.

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cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail