“It Never Happened”: The Perpetuation of Female Powerlessness and Male Superiority in Nigerian Christian Films
Keywords:feminine image; feminist stylistic/textual analysis; Nigerian Christian/evangelical films; sermon films; female powerlessness; male superiority
The feminine image, as a gendered discourse, requires attention to ethical and gender details so that its textual representations do not promote biases and discriminations but rather counter them. While previous studies have investigated the gendering of the feminine figure in secular Nollywood, few have extended similar investigations to Nigerian Christian/evangelical films. This article attends to this gap with the feminist stylistic/textual analysis of Tumini’s Song (2005) and Never Happened (2008). Chronicling the lives of girls who defy a childhood characterised by abuse and social oppression and grow into womanhood defined by personal fulfilment and the erasure of the past because of their Christian faith, it is implied that the two films advocate sociocultural conditions in which vulnerable females have a right to life and self-fulfilment. However, because the films are sermon films that intend to teach the doctrines of forgiveness and divine retribution, they neither formulate appropriate responses to the breaches of women’s rights nor counter women’s constant vulnerability. Consequently, the films perpetuate female powerlessness and male superiority rather than countering these dynamics. This article concludes that Christian films may need to pay attention to ethical and gender issues alongside their intent to proselytise.
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