Viewers of the popular Big Brother Naija reality TV show have been used to female characters who are perceived to be strong, bold and beautiful. The previous two seasons featured housemates who were pain in the asses of their male counterparts. This has been a pattern for other successive females in the show. How did we come to accept these behaviors as being characteristic of strong women.
I would say that I strongly disagree with this definition of a strong woman, cursing, use of abusive languages, physical aggression and naked display of tantrums are in no ways close to being strong. In fact, it is the opposite of those traits that shows strength. There are quite a few housemates from and on the show that are notorious for these attributes. We should reject this notion of a strong woman if we really care about healthy and respectful social order, interaction and integration among both genders.
The definition of a strong woman in the world today is centred around women who are breaking stereotypes with achievements/accomplishments in areas that were previously dominated by or once thought belonged to men. This is seen particularly in women roles as political leaders, CEOs, Civil right advocates, parents, mentors and so on. In fact there is a portion of the male population that believe women to be better leaders than men despite the derogatory cultural beliefs about women still held by majority of men till today.
A peek into our ancient history tells us that the long history of gender discrimination, violence against women still cast its long shadow on us. Women are still being treated as objects or properties to be owned in certain parts of Nigeria. They are viewed as unequal competitors, career and accomplished women are always loathed and feared by weak-minded men. Women of slight achievements and weak characters have exploited the intimidations expressed by weak-minded men to reinforce female dominance.
We still have a long way to go on gender equality, but we must call out vessels that are blocking the long road to getting there. Attitudes that fall short of mutual respect for one another should not be praised or condoned, this behavior is not new, it is a product of insecurity and a lack of true confidence seeping into the media space or reality TV shows.