The latest show I’m watching now is Sharp Objects, the new HBO miniseries adapted from the 2006 Gillian Flynn novel of the same name. Remember Glynn’s Gone Girl? That one was adapted for film and stars Rosamund Pike as Amy, who sadistically orchestrated her own disappearance to punish her cheating husband.
Amy Adams is cast in Sharp Objects as the alcoholic reporter Camille, and the two episodes released so far show Camille returning to her hometown Wind Gap to investigate the death of a teenage girl and the disappearance of another. Let me just say this: Sharp Objects isn’t outright feminist television but the slant is there, combined with a dark, dizzy psychedelia.
It’s all in Camille’s resistance, against her mother’s “order” of things and the town’s patriarchal hierarchy. When I think of the glut of Nigerian scripted dramas and how female characters are portrayed, I feel something close to despair.
Ndani TV’s Skinny Girl in Transit, which I’m tired of calling a hit show, initially showed a subversive promise in the relationship between an overweight woman and her social worth, but subsequently got reduced to a romantic saga shaped into a template typically marketed towards women.
SGIT only uses the fatness of Tiwa (Abimbola Craig) as a disposable aesthetic, as props, because two seasons in, the show’s ultra-obsession with marriage becomes glaring. And also nauseating. And sex is scripted to accommodate a feminine shame. By contrast, HBO’s enjoyably subversive comedy Insecure distills female sexuality into words like “pussy,” as gleefully used by Molly (Yvonne Orji).
In March, I was looking forward to watching Mascara, the female ensemble series that arrived on Conga TV as a bingeable monolith. Disappointingly, I had to cancel my subscription on the streaming platform because the show simply wasn’t progressive. And worse, the acting was atrocious.
That said, the feminist discourse on social media, if anything, proves that many are so determined to maintain structures that subjugates women. Millennials, especially men, still have opinions pigmented with sexism and misogyny. I read these opinions every day on the internet, and they all seem more barbed than the last.
The Nigerian television landscape still suffers a severe dearth of feminist shows, a model that foregrounds women with autonomy in every aspect. And it’s high time it happened.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.