When Silence Becomes Overstretched: Exploring the Loud Silence in Women's Struggle for Liberation in Contemporary Nollywood


  • Osakpolor Emwinromwankhoe University of Benin




Nollywood, Silence, Women, Women's Struggles, Oppression, Male Dominance, Liberation


Lots of debates, contestations and criticisms have continued to trail the subjugation of women in Nollywood narratives. Film scholars and critics, especially those who tow the feminist line, keep bemoaning the manner in which patriarchy and male hegemony take centre stage in many Nollywood movies to the detriment of women. Employing the mixed research methodology (qualitative content analysis and key informant interview), this study explores the loud silence in women’s struggle for liberation in contemporary Nollywood narratives. Three widely acclaimed and contemporary movies – Muna (2019), Omo Ghetto: The Saga (2020) and Fine Wine (2021) – were content analysed to foreground and highlight male chauvinism and hegemony as well as women’s struggle for their liberation. Though women’s silence in the movies is as prolonged as it is loud, the fierce fight they later put up against male oppression comes as a great solace. Therefore, it is concluded that Nollywood film-makers should continue to give preeminence to such issues in subsequent narratives.


Akinola, A. & Tella, O. (2013). Culture adherence and the nexus between women empowerment and millennium development goals in Africa. Global Advanced Research Journal of Arts and Humanities, 2(6), 103-110.

Aromona, O. (2016). Portrayal of African women in Nollywood films over a five-year period: A content analysis of traits applying the stereotype content model. Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Retrieved from http://dc.etsu.eedu/etd/3166.

Asemah, E., Nwammuo, A. & Nkwam-Uwaoma, A. (2017). Theories and models of communication. Jos: Jos University Press.

Babatope, B. (2016). Gender and sexual politics in Tunde Kelani’s Narrow Path. In O. Okome & M. Okhakhu (Eds.). Media Studies in Nigeria: Genesis & Detours (pp. 169-186). Ibadan: Stirling-Hordens Publishers Limited.

Barkman, L. (2018). Muted group theory: A tool for hearing marginalised voices. Retrieved from http://www.cbeinternational.org

BBC. (2016).Nigeria’s President Buhari: My wife belongs in kitchen. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-37659863.amp

Bizwatch. (2021). Top 7 highest-grossing Nollywood movies in 2021. Retrieved from http://www.bizwatchnigeria.ng/top-7-highest-grossing-nollywood-movies/

Evwierhoma, M. (2001). The wounded women: A feminist analysis of Olu Obafemi’s Collected Plays. The Performer, 3, 77-83.

Author. (2021a). Portrayal of women in contemporary Nollywood films: Isoken

and King of Boys in focus. Cinej Cinema Journal, 9(1), 117-145. http://doi.org/ 10.5195/cinej.2021.299.

Author. (2021b). Gender construction in contemporary Nollywood: Exploring

the representation of females in three select films. Benin Mediacom Journal, 15(1), 186-199.

Evwierhoma, M. (2016). Vulnerable women in Urhobo inter-communal conflict films: A question of power. In O. Okome & M. Okhakhu (Eds.). Media Studies in Nigeria: Genesis & Detours (pp. 245-257). Ibadan: Stirling-Hordens Publishers Limited.

Ezeigbo, A. (1996). Gender issues in Nigeria: A feminine perspective. Lagos: Vista Books.

Griffin, E. (2000). A first look at communication theory. Boston: McGraw Hill Inc.

Guardian. (2021). Funke Akindele’s ‘Omo Ghetto (The Saga)’ becomes highest-grossing Nigerian film. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.ng/life/funke-akindeles-omo-ghetto-the-saga-becomes-highest-grossing-nigerian-film/

Ibbi, A. (2017). Stereotype representation of women in Nigerian films. Cinej Cinema Journal, 6(2), 49-70. http://doi.org/10.5195/cinej.2017.166

Ibrahim, M. (2013). Hausa film: Compatible or incompatible with Islam. Performing Islam, 2(2), 165-179.

Joseph, M. (2019). Female film-makers: Towards reconstructing women’simages in Nollywood films. Unpublished PhD Thesis Submitted to the Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town.

Kurfi, M. & Dahiru, J. (2020). Muslim identity in Nigeria’s cinematic culture: Analysis of select films in Nollywood and Kannywood film industry. GVU Journal of Communication Studies, 1, 116-126.

Mahrukh, S., Ahmad, A. & Iqbal, L. (2017). Silencing the silence: A study of women at workplace. Global Social Sciences Review, 2(2), 162-176. http://doi.org/10.31703/gssr.2017(II-II).10.

National Bureau of Statistics. (2022). Nollywood movies production data. Retrieved from http://www.nigerianstat.gov.ng

Okunna, C. S. (1996). Portrayal of women in Nigerian home video films: Empowerment or subjugation? Africa Media Review, 10(3), 21-36.

Okunna, C. S. (2002). Gender and communication in Nigeria: Is this the 21st century? A paper delivered at the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) Biennial Conference, Barcelona, Spain, July 2002.

Omatsola, D. (2016). The semiotics of feminism and Nigeria’s cultural identity in Nollywood: Women’s Cot in focus. Covenant Journal of Communication, 3(1), 1-22.

Omoera, O. S. (2020). We have been quiet for too long: Contesting female disempowerment in Adaze. The Quint: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the North, 12(2), 32-63.

Onyenankeya, K., Onyenankeya, O. & Osunkunle, O. (2019). Sexism and gender profiling: Two decades of stereotypical portrayal of women in Nollywood films. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 20(2), 73-90.

Soda & Popcorn. (2021). Movie review: ‘Fine Wine’ has all the tell tales of classic romance. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20210218115020/https://sodasandpopcorn.ng/fine-wine-richard-mofe-damijo-seyi-babatope/

Uzuegbunam, C. & Ononiwu, C. (2018). Highlighting racial discrimination in 3D animated films and its implications: A semiotic analysis of Frankenweenie. Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations, 20(2), 5-20. http://doi.org/10.21018/rjcpr.2018.2.256

Wall, C. (1999). A sentence made by men: muted group theory revisited. The European Journal of Women’s Studies, 6, 21-29.




How to Cite

Emwinromwankhoe, O. (2023). When Silence Becomes Overstretched: Exploring the Loud Silence in Women’s Struggle for Liberation in Contemporary Nollywood. CINEJ Cinema Journal, 11(2), 50–76. https://doi.org/10.5195/cinej.2023.470