Talk Like a Man

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Allah Made UsAllah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City
by Rudolf Pell Gaudio
Wiley-Blackwell. 256 pages, $29.95

 

IN 2002, a film company based in the northern Nigerian city of Kano released the comedy Ibro Dan Daudu. Featuring popular actors from that West African country portraying men behaving in “womanlike” ways, swinging their hips as they walked, speaking in high-pitched voices, and referring to each other as “she,” “mother,” or “girl,” the film exaggerated popular stereotypes of men who transgress gender roles in Nigeria, and reinforced notions that such men were unscrupulous and “shameless” hedonists in contrast to their pious and more ethical neighbors. While many found the film, as one reviewer put it, “just clean fun,” and it became a commercial success, the men who lived the reality hidden behind the swishy stereotypes found the movie both inaccurate and insulting.

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