By Ashraff Adeyemo
If you were there, you would have wondered and asked the same question: how can ‘male chauvinist have a female group?’, then if you don’t get the answer to that, you will just come forward and suggest I add male to the group also. The answer is always ‘no’.
I found a lot of faults in the Nigerian education. It’s just pathetic. Anytime I flashback to my secondary school days, I remember vividly I was going to attend university just to meet people and like mind to further my goals. I had nothing to do with school grades; I feel if I put my mind to it, I will just be like the thousands of Nigerian graduates lining up with valueless certificates in search of a job. That’s why after my graduation, my colleagues were excited to know what is going on in the school I was deployed to; they want to hear funny stories on how am messing the kids up since they know I have not been serious about education. However, the reverse is the case. My service year was the first point I noticed my deep concern about young people, especially if they are bright. Can this be from the fact that I grow up with so many questions about my environment and the world was met with ignoring faces from my entire community? Maybe, so I couldn’t look away to let down anyone willing to fly in a world where everyone want to laugh in their sleep.
I was posted to a very remote place in Benue state called Gbeji. No Corp member will come there except a carefree and adventitious person like me. Then I inspired other two Corp members, a man and a lady to stay also. It’s an experience. The student can’t even speak English. It was hard communicating. I saw the challenge and ‘single-handedly, had to design a learning scheme for the community children to ease communication and so for them to be able to read so they can move on in education. I remember when I informed my university brilliant and intelligent friend and colleague, Sherifat, she told me ‘it will do the world good to document my materials to give to other rural areas for training’. Obviously, my lack of faith in our education won’t allow me to follow suit. I always fell I have nothing to do with education. I don’t know if my colleagues are still in shock of how I could become a lecturer in the university, but if the wonder still persists, I will just tell you it’s a miracle as this write up is not about the process.
GoHard is a media production movement styled for young women in the media to mentor and train them to single-handedly initiate productions and provide contents with the vision to liberate and create positive attitudinal change towards female in their community.
I believe I am ‘smart lazy’, and one of the guiding principles of sustaining that lifestyle is to not start anything without a flawless reason, as that will be what will sustain it the process. There are strange facts I hope you will agree with within the Nigerian Media sphere especially if you are a Mass Communication student:
1. There are more female than male in classes
2. Yet men run the media world mostly
From here, I guess there are points that are more recent:
3. Females tend to lead in Mass Communication classes
4. Yet, women are still not the leaders in the industry, men are.
5. Women mostly become the object of ‘sex appeal’ in the media. They are exploited mostly by advertising agencies and hip-hop artists (who I think the ‘feminists’ should go and face). The best scenario but still under the same phase is when women become reporters or newscasters.
These supposed ‘facts’ have bad implications
1. Morally upright female, have less chance in the media industry which most of them are the brightest and the most intelligent in schools.
2. Men become unserious in school, leaving ‘good grades’ for women to make. Or, maybe mass communication is just unfortunate in getting unserious males student for the sharp ones are in the sciences. (I don’t necessarily have to agree with my suggested reason though)
3. The unserious men, then get to control the industry with compromised moral and ethical values. Or maybe am way over my head, as most times graduate from mass communication don’t get to control the media i.e. the Nigerian media is not necessarily controlled by mass communicators but random people from different field who lack the social responsibilities to be taken on by mass communicators but have some talents.
4. With the absence of women control, we have less of pro-children, pro-good women and morality programming.
It might not be the time to write on how much I believe the media is responsible for what and how people think and thereby behave. However, how a country behaves will determine its development or on the other hand; degradation. Mindset is very important, so if I am on the floor of Mass Communication as a trainer what will I do differently?
A weak environment will drag down a strong mind into weakness, and a strong environment will strengthen a sound mind and also charge a weak mind. These days, undergrads are there also looking to be in vogue in our socio-cloudy situation where everyone is looking for distractions. Need for quick fame and money, use of the illicit drugs has become a norm, and the university is not left out. It’s hard for a progressive and conscious mind to existing in such silliness. What is even more dangerous is when the brilliant and intelligent gift from god amidst the environment is now allowed to be influenced. People like this grow to know their gift, figure out the society has failed to guide or support them, then they angrily go to the devil to take a job.
The first thing I discovered (which my industry bosses will agree with better), is that the production power is the soul of the media anywhere, whether in the schools or in the industry. The idea formulated, cooked up or researched can only get to the masses or prefered audeince when you have the power to produce with the studio skills; from print to broadcast or the social media etc. Guys, in the system (or outside) later in life, figured out they are prone to know this skill better than women, opt for the skill or gather the expensive money to control this part so they become the leaders, while women give up, get married to face their family and have less field-oriented job. As a skilled cinematographer, animator/ motion and still graphics artist, the first question I asked myself is ‘do both genders have the same chance of learning the skills?’, I might only be able to prove otherwise but I choose to answer the question as ‘yes’.
Two years ago I initiated my experiment and started the GoHard movement with all the intelligent, interesting and sound female students in the department. Privileged to be a friend of them all mostly. There are a lot of problems I know I might not have with guys, but the key is patience. The idea is simple, working theory is simple; men don’t take to be challenged especially when women are doing what they feel they should be doing better. Having skills and creating content in the service of the GoHard movement. The first response from the guys is envy. They feel the team will soon fade off soon, they waited but we did not let that happen.
In a space of few months, some guys start to wake up in a mean to charge and disarm the very proud monopoly of the ladies who are already taking over and recruiting more girls who are enticed by the popularity. Most girls don’t make it through, for girls love fame and not the hard work. The core girls now understand that your fame and your voice can only be sustained when you are in control of your productions. So the ladies make sure they train as I train them to continue the process. However, this is an overt operation from my masterplan.
Covertly, as a man, the pride is a driver. I still hold the belief that a man is given physical strength specifically for a purpose in life and they have to take charge. Seeing slow men around me is disgusting and insulting. As the process went on, we started having male students already inspired.
I will take you back to my old class where Yinka is always a menace. On his turning point day, I sent him out of the Class, with the word that he has a potential that is stronger than mine and I did not learn my skill in any class, so “you can stay out and rot or take charge and become more”. As at now, Yinka is the hand in production in my school. From the onset, I give him all that is needed. However, the men’s pride won’t let him bother me like my female students, yet, this is okay for me and good for him yet, he has to deal with my own best girl. Will the men set their standard or they will wait for Mazeedah (GoHard production assistant) to set it?’ While Mazeeda today has tried to blur the line between me, the boss and her, the apprentice in video production skills, a lot of the ladies in the group race tirelessly to actualise the woman of their dreams in a speed I couldn’t imagine… as a competitive man. I even fear I don’t have to compete with such zeal.
I have learnt from these ladies love, training skill and incredible patience. The write-up is not actually about my experience working with ladies but I will like to share those too.
I feel at this point the list of my critics has reduced. However, I am aware I do have people till date that religiously believe am an idiot, am still okay with that, but make sure when you come to me to talk, let me know what you are doing in your community to support others, this is not about bragging, it is a subliminal message you hide in your conversation to sound credible and for your audience to accept your contribution to there existence and believe you can help them. As a young person, I understand the juvenile delinquency is based on the feeling of awesomeness, believing you are right and can take care of yourself. Many young people don’t feel they need help, you have to understand them first and help them without them knowing, mostly. When you are too focused on your efforts, they will leave you and choose the more marlianic way which they find fun. Help them help themselves.
We might hate everyone, but we don’t exist in isolation so we have no choice than to build the people around us any way we can so that their actions will only bring us joy and not panic.
Shoutout to all the Gohardist. Love YOU all.