Nigerian commercials tend to be pretty cringey. Perhaps it is because there is a constant disconnect between what we think Nigerians sees themselves as and who they really are, but our commercials are often exaggerated and hard to take seriously.This new commercial from Nigerian sexual health non-profit organization, The Society For Family Health promoting their new line of flavored condoms under the Gold Circle brand really turns the tone-deaf advertisement into an artform.
The ad, which promotes one of the six new variations of ‘Flex’ by Gold Circle condoms, (specifically the ‘spice’ variant) features two women who do not pass the Bechdel test (a test to see if a piece of cinema treats women as human beings instead of props or objects) and reinforce every kind of sexual stereotype around women. The women chitter in a salon spa about keeping men with ‘spice’ and make innuendos about using sex as a tool to ‘keep’ their men, instead of promoting condom use as a consensual activity that both the man and the woman should be actively involved in.
The commercial however is only a manifestation of deeper things. That it, and the new brand of flavored condoms exists, suggests that the Society For Family Health is not just another non-profit sitting around and waiting for hand outs from foreign donors and diverting those funds when they do come (there are apparently a good number of those operating in Nigeria). They are actually looking for ways to make condom use fun and accessible to young people, they are taking the stigma and societal stereotype that condoms have to be some chore that people have to tick on their way to obtaining sexual pleasure from their partners. They are trying to inject some fun and diversity into the process. However, they ways they choose to push this narrative, through conventional misogyny that puts all the effort of maintaining sexual health of both partners as a sacrifice a woman has to make to appease a man.
Flavoured condoms might make some people embrace taking better care of their sexual health, but if we have to perpetuate misogynistic stereotypes to get there, then it is certainly not worth it.