They say life is unfair to everyone and that’s what makes it fair but that may not be true for the entertainment industry. Over the years, many conversations have been initiated about the double standards in the entertainment industry that is mostly suffered by women and although things are a lot better than before, equality still seems far away. This inequality that we speak of comes in many ways but especially in the form of holding women to a higher standard.
Let’s start with perceived courtesy. Late last year, Charles Anazodo a popular on air personality and football commentator called out Tiwa Savage on twitter for being rude. He claimed that although Tiwa had walked past him that day, she had not said hi, concluding his tweet with the statement “I guess being a superstar gives you a right to be discourteous”. This led to a heated conversation on twitter where many (especially women) opined that women in the entertainment industry were still expected to be subservient and submissive to their male counterparts. Many agreed that not saying hi was not enough to dub a person as rude and the same scrutiny would never be extended to a male artist.
Another issue that begs the question of inequality in the entertainment industry is rivalry. While the subtle but not so subtle rivalry between Tiwa Savage and Yemi Alade is met with responses like “women are their worst enemies”, the recent rivalry between Burna boy and Davido where he (Burna boy) claimed that Davido’s success was all because of his father’s money was met with responses that bore no resemblance to “men are their worst enemies”.
Remember when Burna boy categorically said that most Nigerians were backward unprogressive fools? Whew! That was a lot to take in. Fans were enraged and called him out for being rude. Despite the outrage however, his support system remains unshaken and his fans now describe their relationship with him as toxic because even though he blatantly insulted them, he makes good music. This toxic relationship got so toxic that earlier this year, he reportedly left twitter after he was called out by fans. I tried to imagine any female artist in Nigeria being able to openly insult her fans repeatedly without losing her career instantly and I couldn’t. While this is not to say Burna boy is being accorded that privilege because he’s a man, it’s more to say that the women in the industry may not be accorded that same privilege. I only know of one female artist who comes that close in being obnoxious and her career has become close to non-existent. Yes, it is Azealia Banks.
This problems of inequality are not exclusive to the Nigerian entertainment industry or even the global industry, they are the struggles that women face everyday. From unequal pay for equal work to holding women to higher moral standards, women all over the world are battling with double standards and looking for a way out. While we haven’t figured to blueprints to equality yet, we know that talking about these double standards go a long way. Because most of the double standards arise from our cultural upbringing, it’s possible that we impose them unconsciously. We need more women especially in the entertainment industry speaking up against these standards; this would not only jolt us back to reason but also make the room uncomfortable for the relentlessly sexist people.