Comedians, skit-makers, and meme gods on social media have been the rave of the moment for a while.
Like us, you probably can’t get enough of the Macaronis, Broda Shaggys, Sidney Talkers, Taoomas, and others like them. We love what they do, and our love and acceptance feed into their popularity, which in turn makes them marketable enough for brands to propose lucrative marketing and influencing gigs to them. That, in the simplest form, is the cycle of things these days. And there’s nothing wrong with all that.
Things become crazy, however, when nothing is off-limit in creating viral moments, or in a bid to break into the rank of famous content creators with the biggest followings and audience engagement. This is where the recent rise of annoying prank content creators comes to the fore.
You may have seen videos of certain ‘content creators’ whose entire shtick is to pull the stupidest most abhorrent, most infuriating tricks on people – mostly women – going about their day. If they are not pulling wigs off unsuspecting women, they are harassing them with questions like “How much for hook-up?”
Then there’s this one where a supposed ‘content creator’ scares the living daylight out of a woman with a ‘kidnap’ prank that went too far. Actually, knowing the situation of things in Nigeria today, that wouldn’t be the basis for any prank if these so-called content creators had any working mind.
And one has to ask: where the hell do we draw the line between what is acceptable as ‘content’ and what should absolutely shouldn’t be created, talk less of?
Content versus good content
Now before anyone accuses this writer of having no funny bone in his body, it must be clarified that there is nothing wrong with making jokes or even creating elaborate, hilarious pranks.
We’ve all seen videos that are made in good taste and elicit proper, belly-rumbling laughter. Those differ from the ones we’re talking about here because they were not meant to humiliate or embarrass anyone and would even draw laughter from the people being pranked. Now that’s content. The audience knows it and appreciates it, and when that line is crossed, like these awful guys often do, it is visible as well.
Unduly playing up the misery of others isn’t great content. It’s never been, and it’ll never be.
Why are women being targeted?
Obviously, because these skit makers consider them less likely to attack them in annoyance, or retaliate with force.
Say what you will, but it’s pretty much a thing of predator and prey. You don’t find a deer trying to feed on a jaguar. The chances of getting smacked are lower with women. It’s as simple as that.
Where do we draw the line?
The audience clearly has a role to play here. For example, things have gotten to a stage in the comedy industry where society is collectively telling them to stamp out rape jokes and that’s been significantly phased out.
Sure, rape jokes and awful prank content on IG are not on the same scale of terrible content ideas, but you get the idea. Once the audience starts to collectively feel repulsed by awful content like what these guys are putting out, it’ll only be a matter of time before we stop seeing them.
The fact that content aggregator pages on social media sometimes repost these things with the intent to amuse people doesn’t help either. Again, wherever we find content on harassment, particularly of women, we need to make our feelings known.
We do not want a society that normalises the harassment of women for giggles and if these ‘content creators’ feel the love from the audience, they feel more emboldened and empowered to do more.
You also have to ask yourself what kind of person you are to find the unwarranted removal of a woman’s wig amusing; or worse, if you double-click a video where a moron is harassing a woman for paid sex in front of her house.