by Demola Rewaju
I watched the Big Brother Naija show from the first day, on and off until the last day because I am in politics and everything human is a learning process – the patterns of the voting and the reaction of people to actions of the housemates provided valuable lessons in this regard for me, as did last year’s edition.
I think Miracle is a deserving winner of the prize money but I find the hate coming from many people on social media towards CeeC quite revealing – and it speaks more to who we are as a people than it does about CeeC. There are two aspects to my analysis: the psychology of CeeC and our own human and social psychology.
CeeC came into the house along with 19 other people who all thought they were ready to be ensconced with each other and with various ways they thought they might appeal to the viewers – the ‘strategies’. The pairing created all sorts of trouble for them – Ahneeka (whose pair with Rico I was rooting for) may have gone home early because she wasn’t ‘faithful’ to her pair. Miracle and Nina bonded quite well – the former having to walk her through a few basics again and again. BamTeddy was also a successful pair – Bammy softening Teddy’s image and he reinforcing hers. Lolu and Anto did quite well, Leolex were also okay, K-Brule and Khloe mutually detonated each other until they got evicted, VanDee, Prito and Lifu always looked like a mismatch of persons but CeeBi was a perfect disaster and from there came all the hatred coming CeeC’s way.
Most of the guys felt they had a romantic claim on their pair but CeeC and Ahneeka especially weren’t having any of it. While Rico nursed his wounds secretly and only let it out in small childish outbursts, Tobi – a ladies’ man by reputation wasn’t having it. He took CeeC as a mission to be completed and in the process lost his self-respect. It was perfectly fine for him to want more than friendship but it was also perfectly fine for her to reject him. By continuing to insist that he loved her, she needed to disprove his professed love and she brought up flimsy reasons which made her look foolish or extreme in trying to avoid a relationship.
What I didn’t get though was how she became ‘Delilah’ or a witch – actually I do get it: it’s our social psychology that if a man loves a woman so much and his love is unrequited, then she somehow triggered him to love her in order to manipulate him. And if the man is as good-looking and well-endowed like Tobi, then she is definitely a Delilah.
I saw all CeeC’s flaws very clearly but I excuse her based on a few things, the main one being that we will all react differently to the pressure of being in an enclosed place with a number of people for close to three months. There is definitely some locked up anger in CeeC, some repressed emotion which saw her lashing out at people on occasion – she may or may not need to see anyone about it – a lot of us walk around with such repressed emotions but we have enough human support and relationships around us to see us through each day. In that house, CeeC did not.
Much of the creativity we see in the arts come from those emotions locked deep into the artist’s psyche. I had predicted in a tweet after she was up for eviction the very first time that if she survived, she would go on into the final and she did. My prediction was based on certain things which I explained in a thread about Hillary Clinton whose highest approval rating ever was at the time she stood by her philandering husband as the woman less preferred. Every other time before or after then when she was a high and outstanding achiever, her approval rating was lower. A woman can be beautiful but she should be an airhead. If she’s beautiful and brilliant, she deserves respect but she must never seem powerful – either over others or over herself – the latter expressed in either staying single (and therefore not under the authority of any man) or speaking up for herself (rather than waiting to be spoken for).
And this speaks to our collective human psychology in these parts and elsewhere: what is it about an outspoken woman that threatens us? Are we as men afraid that a CeeC would teach our women to stand up to us and are women afraid that all men will see them as CeeC and “not marry them” or whatever else people usually ‘threaten’ women with? What is it about a woman that steps out of the character of being seen and not heard, that makes us turn on her so virulently, while overlooking or excusing a man who does the same? The hate towards CeeC was because she refused to roll over and let things slide like we think most women should and would.
Was CeeC as quarrelsome as Khloe was before her first eviction? I’m not sure but perhaps in looks and professional achievement, Khloe is less threatening than the other. CeeC’s worst moment in the house for me (although she had many bad ones) was her final rant at Tobi. Tobi’s worst moment in the house for me was the night he went around shouting to all the housemates “this girl is a liar! She touched my d***!!” – or the moment where he was shown conspiring to Loto to put her up for eviction (although his denial made me doubt what I heard). She was judged very harshly for hers, he got away with his and I must say I have no issues with Tobi honestly – he is still growing and I think he could easily have won – I only use him as an example here to point out that men get excused when they don’t act like men but women are judged when they don’t act like women and that’s an error in our social psychology. A country that wants a Dora Akunyili but can’t stand 25-year old ladies who seem to be brutally outspoken.
I reiterate again that CeeC took it too far many times with her words and attitude but I really adore her refusal to be apologetic about anything and it coincides for me, with a period of slow and grudging admiration for Donald Trump who many times refused to back down on clear faults and even doubled down on them – there’s an appeal to the narcissist in all of us with people like that.
But how did her haters miss every other thing that was positive about CeeC – her intelligence, her resilience, her ability to reconcile quickly with almost everyone but Tobi, even her beauty (which usually counts for something where brilliance and power are absent)? Perhaps it wasn’t missed, perhaps those who disliked her only chose to see what they wanted to see… perhaps they are themselves as toxic as they claimed she was.
And we saw them: formerly dead blogs revived only in their criticism of CeeC to struggling musicians and artistes and cowardly opinionated folks who snuck out in the relative anonymity of a maddening crowd to throw jabs and slurs on her. Our social psychology is wired to take shots at people only from the safety of crowds and CeeC was a soft target whom you could attack viciously without much backlash – as far back as the third week, a video of her as Delilah even surfaced.
And then you also had those who are convinced that to support CeeC, you had to in some way be like her whereas it could actually be the exact opposite and the numbers spoke loudly – many people quietly voted for her – week in, week out. I can easily see a quiet housewife sending in her votes for CeeC as a protest against her own social conditioning. And for the men who support her, the question has been “can you marry her or someone like her?” and I know many men who would answer in the affirmative but marriage is not the qualifier of character as many think it is.
The fundamental lesson from our social psychology though is that the loudest voices are not always representative of everyone and this explains why CeeC went so far in the game. In a crowd of 20 people, the more you discuss a particular one, the more you invite focus and attention on her. And with the ability to watch her all of the time, people started to see both her good as well as her bad sides.
I’m married already and I have a daughter. If in her mid 20s she’s like CeeC, I would be a very happy man. I would guide her and channel her energies in a productive direction. I can only hope that we learn from her that being who you want to be unapologetically may find you enemies but it will always win you some friends and supporters too.
- Demola Olarewaju writes from Lagos and he is a Political Analyst and Strategist.