This documentary has sparked a new kind of gender debate on the internet

This week, media personality Lolo Cynthia released Quick Food, a short documentary she co-produced and which has since garnered a lot of traction on Twitter. The two-minute-plus doc tells the story of Frank (not his real name) who was sacked from his job in an oil servicing firm and was unemployed until his wife had a brainwave: she suggested that he take up frying akara. Frank, who was skeptical and probably felt ”too big” to venture into this kind of business, sat back at home while his wife brought the idea to life.

As narrated by Frank, she brought home a large sum of money on the first day, which was just enough to have Frank hooked at the delicious potential of the new business which, in turn, made him get involved. Now, the business is now successful with four branches and workers. What I find strange is that Frank’s face isn’t shown in the documentary; frying akara and making a livelihood out of it shouldn’t be something one should be ashamed of. That said, my gripe with the documentary is the way the narrative is wound around Frank and pushes his wife to the margins, despite being the first willing participant to heave the business into existence. Also, the idea was hers to begin with.

Because we still live in a sexist, patriarchal society, men must come first. And when the world doesn’t revolve around their needs and feelings, women suddenly become rude and unbearable to them. Case in point: model Olajumoke whose husband gave a recent interview about being tired of Olajumoke’s fame. It’s not surprising that in the documentary, Frank’s wife was erased to burnish his patriarchal male ego. Men have been doing this since time immemorial, and now that I’m thinking about it, it’s also a way that patriarchy has been sustained.

Women’s hard work and labour and the contributions they bring to the home still goes unpaid and unrecognised. And women still indulge in offering free labour because they are none the wiser, and society has systematically short-changed women by giving them these false sense of status –  ”superheros” and ”superhumans” – even as they labour themselves into bad health and, worse still, death.

Granted, the run time of the documentary was a little above two minutes, and adding another perspective would certainly stretch the time. But the optics still looks bad, and goes to show how patriarchal sexism shuts women out and robs them of their due credit.

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