Ideological nuances embedded in a native Kenyan mobile phone comedy series
Abstract The advent of digital technology has opened up new frontiers for popular culture consumers in Kenya. A new mobile phone app called Viusasa ...
The advent of digital technology has opened up new frontiers for popular culture consumers in Kenya. A new mobile phone app called Viusasa has made it possible for the youth, rural communities and other non-mainstream media product consumers to watch vernacular videos on their mobile phones. One such product is the comedy series, Nyagetriara. The aim of this study was to critically analyse this comedy series to find out the ideological nuances embedded in this piece of entertainment. This is informed by the fact that critical media scholars believe that media texts are always laden with ideologies (Kellner, 2015). The title of the series, “Nyagetiara”, which loosely translates as “a quarrelsome woman,” reminiscent of William Shakespeare’s character, Katherina, in The Taming of the Shrew comedy, already has misogynistic overtones. Using semiotic analysis this researcher found that although Nyagetiara is simple entertainment it is a serious text that is laden with hegemonic patriarchy. The text stereotypes, marginalizes, polarizes and demeans women in its episodes. The researcher recommends media literacy so that village media consumers who are being exposed to entertainment brought about by mobile digital technology can have the skills of consuming them.
Key Words: Media, Ideology, Patriarchy, Misogyny, Comedy.
* Joseph Nyamwange Nyanoti, Ph.D., is a lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Corporate Communications at the United States International University-Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. He holds a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from the University of Nairobi and worked in Kenya’s leading newspapers for 17 years before moving into academics. He also holds a BA, MA, and a Post-graduate Diploma in Mass Communication from the University of Nairobi. His research interest areas are: Journalism studies, media and representation; advertising, media semiotics, and popular culture — from a cultural studies perspective.
JCMR Journal of Communication and Media Research, Vol. 11, No. 2, October 2019, pp. 28 - 33