Why aren't there as many prominent female artistes as there are male ones?
Why aren't female comedians as well-known as their male counterparts?
Why does it seem that even in the entertainment industry, the great gender divide persists?
Well, i am a female in this entertainment industry.
On one hand, i am a writer who writes for a National newspaper and various magazines. As such, i get to cover all kinds of information, including entertainment.
Also, i have a music persona, CON.tra.diction, who is a singer / songwriter.
And lastly, i own my own companies that one way or the other, deal in entertainment currency. s.h.a.r.e is a social network, SPEECHgirl is a media and entertainment company, and Elenu Gba N Gba is a PR firm targeted specifically at celebrities and the red carpet!
I therefore feel i am a tad bit qualified to speak about what it means to be a female in this industry.
Is it that we are now as hard working as our male colleagues?
Is that we do not have a level playing field?
Why are we SEEMINGLY not as successful as the guys?
To be honest, i would never be in a discussion where i would ever say that women are not as hardworking as men.
So that would not be my take on the matter.
Instead, i would point out some things that may seem simple, but mean a lot.
PERCEPTION AND STEREOTYPES
It is a man's world; abi?
Which is why there are so many double standards.
Which is why, when a man sleeps with a hundred women, he is a stud, but when a woman sleeps with ten men, then she is a slut.
So, imagine a guy and a girl in the same industry, trying to handle the neccessary social networking that occurs. Sooner or later, the girl is going to be viewed with a certain level of disdain.
And of course, if a guy has to flirt with some women to get some work done, then he is charming.
The girl flirts?
or at least, TEASE.
And for music, how about lyrics and videos?
A guy talks about sex.
A girl does and it's probably cause for a constitutional conference.
A guy has half naked girls dancing in his videos...
Cool vid dude.
A girl is half nude in her vid
Does she not have parents???
So, artistes have to do the craziest things to get their music out.
We record all night in the studio, we perform at shows that end at 4am, we go on road trips.
Well, at least, we try to.
Let us be honest; how many girls are going to get the permission (from parents, boyfriends, husbands, and even SOCIETY) to stay in a studio overnight, 'recording', to come back home at 5a.m after a show, to travel out of Lagos all the time?
For a long time, that did not occur to me cos my folks are pretty liberal. But i started gisting with some other female artistes (and this applies in journalism and other aspects as well oh) and opened my eyes sharp sharp!
THE BAD GUYS OUT THERE
Let us face it, guys can be... Bad.
And this is me putting it real mad; i am actually thinking of another 'b' word. But this is a P.G rated blog.
My friend records a song and gets signed to a management company.
The owner of the firm is friends with some guy who is in some company that organises shows a lot.
So this guy says, 'Do me a favour, let my girl perform at the show'.
And the FRIEND says, 'Sure, but the girl SEXY so i have to sleep with her first'.
I found this story to be so painfully funny.
I mean, COME ON
Are you kidding me?
But that is how the cookie crumbles.
There is a lot of sexual harassment out there.
And it takes a lot to stand your ground in this industry.
But i am in this industry.
And i have to be honest with you, i have great role models and friends to look up to.
She is not in the entertainment industry per se, but my sister is a driven, brave and innovative business woman and i have been taking tips from her (without her knowledge oh)
Bobby Taylor is into PR and she is passionate and fierce and driven.
Emem Ema is gearing up to be an entertainment mogul and she is so smart and focused, it's not even funny.
Osagie Osarenkhoe is a young, dynamic female who owns her own Management company already. WORD!
I love these girls, and i am glad that they do what they do.
For me, i would say that there are ... things i have learnt SO FAR. More lessons will come i am sure
- You are a woman.
Don't apologise for it. But don't dwell on it either.
- Shake hands firmly, maintain eye contact, and don't be the girl whose head they want to pat; be the girl whose opinion counts.
This rule is harder for me. I swear, i am a typical daddys girl and i am so used to all that feminine wiles b.s. I like to bat my eyelashes, and speak like a little girl. But now, i am learning to show that i am cute, but maa mi, i can do business as well
- Respect yourself.
Yes, you will have crushes and fall in love, but you do not need to sleep with all the guys on the football team to get ahead. learn to seperate what you do genuinely for 'love' (lett us all throw up collectively), and what you do so you can get your name in the paper!
Like i said, these are the things i have learnt so far, and i am still learning, falling and starting all over again.
Remember me as an individual.
Remember me as a Yoruba, Lagosian from Nigeria
Remember me as a woman.
But remember me as TOsyn