Violence In Marital Conflict
Eventually, the first child, Ọmọ́yẹni, brings his food and drops it on the table as if it is meant for a dog with the food placed right inside the soup with only one piece of meat. It is the opposite of what their mother is served with. This shocks their father and when he asks why, Ọmọ́yẹni insults him with the claim that their mother is responsible for the provision of food in the family. Secondly, the father washes his clothes himself and when Ọmọ́yẹni’s fiancé asks why, she says her father does not want anybody to assist him. To contradict this, her father asks her to help him fetch some water from a tap at a close distance, but insults him instead.
Ọmọ́yẹni buys a generator for the family, but prefers to switch it on only at the mother’s request and refuses the father’s request to leave it on. Ọmọ́yẹni becomes so rude to her father and has the support of her mother. To control Ọmọ́yẹni, the father uses the newspaper he is holding to beat her and she retaliates. This is a taboo in Yoruba land because it is believed that a child is not supposed to hit any of his parents, no matter the extent of his or her anger. The father expects his wife to condemn Ọmọ́yẹni’s action. However, she claims the father is at fault to have hit his daughter first. Ọmọ́yẹni eventually marries Adéníyì, has a son by him but neglects her marital responsibilities. Adéníyì gets home one night and meets his son on the chair. He complains that he has not eaten. When asked of his mother’s where about, he claims he has not seen her, nor has he eaten anything since he comes back from school. Adéníyì challenges his wife when she comes back, but she does not show any remorse. Their family is another instance for the analysis of female controlled marital conflict. Ọmọ́yẹni on several occasions abandons her son at home leaving him hungry and lonely. She intimidates her husband by ignoring his instructions.
For instance, Adeniyi finds his wife with a group of friends drinking alcoholic wine in his sitting room. He switches off the television from the socket and leaves the sitting room without uttering a word. This sends a signal to the guests whom, despite the fact that Ọmọ́yẹni asks them to ignore her husband, leave immediately after he has entered. She shouts on her husband after her friends had gone and threatens to embarrass his friends whenever they visit. Despite the fact that Adeniyi warns his wife not to bring home any car after she threatens that if her husband does not buy a car for her, another person would. She eventually brings home a car. When her husband asks her to return the car or leave his house, not considering her child, she chooses to leave on the grounds that her husband does not want her to be successful. She goes fully into prostitution and meets her waterloo which eventually leads to her death. Májà’s family is another family in the film that experiences female controlled marital conflict. Maja usually begs or runs whenever Tawa, his wife starts the trouble. Though the husband is mostly at fault. One important development in the movie is that the two men being maltreated are not in control of their homes. Ọmọ́yẹni disregards her husband’s instruction at will and wishes to control the family. The threat issued during the instance of the car reveals Ọmọ́yẹni’s promiscuity and her ability to flaunt it to her husband’s face. From the above, it can be deduced that men do not have monopoly of evil in marital conflicts. As much as Adeniyi tries to salvage the marriage from crumbling by ignoring his wife’s excesses, she sees nothing wrong in her actions. This can be described as an act of disrespect from the wife towards the husband. One of the consequences of marital conflict made evident in the movie is family disintegration.
Ọmọ́yẹni abandons her marriage and son and decides to live with her friends. This results into emotional trauma for the child who has to cope with the absence of his mother as he sees his father playing the role that is supposed to be played by his mother. It is crucial at this juncture to examine some of the techniques employed in depicting the effects of the conflicts on its victims in Lagos Girls. One of the techniques used in depicting the extent of the conflict is the angle of the camera, to give close shots of important situations and scenes. For instance, a close shot of the individual’s different plates of food is made to emphasize the difference between the size of meat served to the father and his wife and daughter. Also, when Ọmọ́yẹni eventually brings her father’s meal, a close shot is given to it to emphasise how she drops it on the table without any sign of respect. The camera’s close-up of the mother’s meal is taken as the woman pulls a piece of meat with her teeth. This clearly shows the extent of the humiliation being experienced by the father. Through the help of the camera, the audience is able to make a comparison between the expected feeling of either satisfaction or frustration. One other prominent technique used in the movie under analysis is gestures. The men in the movie most often reveal the extent of their agony through the show of surprise, silence and shock which is depicted either through the opening of their mouths agape or having a fixed gaze on their oppressors. For instance, while Ọmọ́yẹni’s father is waiting to be served his meal, he sits on the chair with one hand on the arm of the chair and the other one placed on his lips as he looks away from his wife who is already eating. This gesture represents sadness and loneliness among the Yoruba. His wife on the contrary, sits on the chair with her wrapper falling in between her legs as she slowly eats the food, not minding the fact that her husband has not been served. The look on the father’s face when the food is eventually served, reveals that of unbelief, embarrassment and dissatisfaction.
The father is surprised and shocked. He touches his chest unbelievably as he talks. The mother on the other hand looks contemptuously at her husband and smiles to her daughter, blinking to her with one eye as a sign of approval, as a way of intimidating her husband, she uses a baritone voice to ask Ọmọ́yẹni to make a cup of cold tea for her. During this period, the father’s gesture helps to express his feeling. He sits quietly on the chair as his daughter speaks, his finger still pointing to his wife’s plate with embarrassment written all over him. To show the extent of the embarrassment, he slowly puts his finger in his mouth as he looks away from his wife and daughter as a sign of regret. He rinses his hands, getting ready to eat while the other child comes in with several pieces of meat in her meal.
At the sight of this, the mother scornfully smiles and the father looks from the daughter to his wife and mischievously smiles to himself. Another instance is when Ọmọ́yẹni introduces Faruq to her mother and insists he should add five more notes to the money he intends to give her mother. Faruq meets her father where he is washing and when he is about to give him some money, Ọmọ́yẹni stops him by pulling his hands back. When the father sees Ọmọ́yẹni’s actions, he smiles and shakes his head. Language is used in the video films to portray the wives’ domineering status in the marital conflict. The use of rhetorical questions, metaphor as well as proverbs are prominent in Sunny Alli’s Lagos Girls. Proverbs express the strength in an utterance that cannot be achieved through the use of everyday words. Adéníyì’s mother advises through the use of proverbs that one should make do with whatever one has. Also, it points to the fact that no human is perfect and that a woman who is rejected by one man would eventually be married by another man.
According to the mother – omi ò ní rú lámù kí a to rí ẹ̀ fọ́ ‘sà, this is one of the proverbs she uses. It implies that one would not refuse to get married because some women are bad. The woman in this context is likened to a water pot and her behaviour is likened to the unsettled water in the water pot. In this regard, the water pot would not be broken because the water in it is not clean. That is, a woman would not be abandoned because of her bad behaviours. Code-mixing is another technique in the use of language in the video films. The use of code-mixing in the video films also plays a significant role in revealing the characters’ personalities. Code-mixing fills the gaps in the speaker’s lexical deficiency in their mother tongue (Yoruba). In Lagos Girls, instances of code-mixing are evident in Ọmọ́yẹni’s conversation with his friends, husband and relatives. Words such as ‘funny’, ‘ignore’, ‘quarter’, ‘craze’, and ‘meaning’, and expressions like “to make it worse”, “Oh my God” amongst others are used by some of the characters in the movie. The use of code mixing and code switching help to mark the characters’ social identity, and level of education. The choice of these words helps to express particular ideas or concepts effectively that is difficult for them to do through the use of their native language. The costumes and make-up used in the video films play a significant role in exposing the attitudes of some of the characters in the films. In Lagos Girls, it confirms the film maker’s perception of the vices inherent in some of the residents of Lagos State.
For instance, Ọmọ́yẹni and her friends’ mode of dressing confirm their promiscuity as they frequently appear in very short gowns with high heel shoes. This with reference to Ọmọ́yẹni contradicts the supposed appearance of a married woman especially in the Yoruba culture which gives preference to chastity. Characterisation in the films is another element through which the issue of marital conflict is expressed. The film-makers bring their characters to life through the information they provide about themselves from the way they speak and their relationships with other people in the movie. For instance, Ọmọ́yẹni’s act of waywardness is determined through her sister who claims that she has the right to check her sister’s bag since she had left home for five days, and that she is sure that she is now rich. This is confirmed when she tells Faruq that she does not feel like sleeping at home and that she needs to pack her bag so that she can spend the weekend with him. Ọmọ́yẹni’s threat to her husband when he ignores her friends also exposes her personality. In conclusion, this paper discusses female perpetrated or controlled marital conflicts, the causes and effects of the people involved are identified and discussed. It is discovered that though it is part of the human nature to want to dominate, female controlled conflict often end in the woman regretting her actions and begging for forgiveness which is evident in Ọmọ́yẹni’s mother’s case. This paper discusses filmmakers’ deviation from the popular description of males as oppressors in marital conflict. It shows that women are also capable of spearheading and instigating violent marital conflict as a result of their philosophy of gender equality. This implies that the power to cause and control conflict is not limited to the men within the society.
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