Hi there, my name is Tolu Akintaro Welcome to my digital profile story.
my journey through research as a master’s student in Communication,culture and media started with my first day in media research class where I was first told to think of a research topic for my dissertation- I was a late enrollee so for me, confused was an understatement to how I felt . The essence of the I researcher was for students to think wide,think deep,think different and think upside down in some cases, think simple. The first topic I chose was on the objectification of women by men in the media and how viral advertising tools could be used to change the status quo. The topic was rather ambiguous to me, I found it hard to dissect it till I had an opportunity to visit Birmingham for an ethnography research that opened my eyes to research and research is live in our everyday lives and activities- we breathe research, we sweat research we even sleep in research. It was then I remembered an incident that happened to me a couple of months ago where I was asked to visit a pastor for deliverance because I was still single and with the recent increase in tv series and films from Africa that talk more on the singlehood ‘sickness’ . The scenario spurred my change in topic to Before 30: the labelling of single and unmarried women by Nigerian women.
The singlehood identity placed on unmarried women according to Stevenson(2011) is found more in societies with heteronormative ideologies who still hold on to the precepts of heterosexual marriages. Due to the fact that the pressure to get married is on the increase, the media has used this form of identity to increase its audience with reality shows like the bachelor, sitcom like Single ladies and even movies (Dubrofsky & Hardy, 2008, p. 377). Nigeria has not been left out in this media trend as the title of this research was influenced by a current sitcom ‘Before 30 ‘ that portrays young ladies as desperate to get married. The above sitcom was one of the reasons why I wanted to research on how unmarried women are been labelled in Nigerian media both digital and terrestrial.
The next phase was to sketch the field i have chosen to research on. I was to look at my topic from a broad picture. At this point, i had difficulties understanding what my lecturer requested I do consider I was unfamiliar with the new techniques of essay writing as it was totally different from how I was taught in my home country .I struggled with comprehending a vast number of theories that related to post-feminist theories and post modernism. I was focused on getting a good grade( which might not be a bad thing) without fully getting involved in my topic. I was stuck in the quantitative approach to research for a long time, in fact… I just broke up with quantitative research to embrace the qualitative approach that deals with meaning rather than truth,statistics, charts, and really depressing calculations. Since I had first-hand experience of the topic it made more sense to be thoroughly qualitative about it.
*** I wrote an ambiguous essay but the feedback helped me to restructure my topic.
The second stage was Beyond face value I had to focus more on the qualitative approach to research, at this point, I had chosen to use an auto-ethnographic approach but I was unsure of how much of myself I wanted to put out there. During the period of this second phase, I took a course in film studies where film critic Andre Bazin claims that people’s interest in a genre of film is influenced by how the actors have been able to live out their lives or fantasies on screen. It gave me an understanding of how I was to relate my experience to research but I was afraid to use myself as the case study for fear of getting shamed. Thankfully, my lecture advised it would be therapeutic. Unfortunately, my essay did not turn out well because I was still stuck in sketching the field and my writing style was not as academic enough. In fact it was more of a dialogue than an academic writing according to the feedback I received from it. In fact, I shed a tear during and after this essay because of the grade I got in it.
I had to indulge in reading a lot of articles, seminar notes and listened to recordings that related to my topic which was a criterion for the third phase of my research which was epistemology,ontology and methodology. The third phase was an eye opener, it exposed me to various theories that had been written on post-feminist theory though most of them were western scholars I discovered the number of African post-feminist was infinitesimal. My aim was to compare and contrast these theories on Feminist theories to my research topic since I hardly could lay my hands on African post-feminist scholars. It made me understand that most of the different approaches to feminist theories were due to scholars zest in finding meaning.
In the course of this study, I have learnt the importance of discourse and ideologies and how they shape conversations and research. I believe that as each day passes, I would fully comprehend the topic and relate it to producing content for my newly created podcast site which is one area I am enthusiastic about.
Finally, for every stage through this research, I hope to use this quote from Mills(1959)as a mantra:
“Be a good craftsman: Avoid any rigid set of procedures. Above all, seek to develop and to use…imagination. Avoid the fetishism of method and technique. Urge the rehabilitation of the unpretentious intellectual craftsman, and try to become such a craftsman yourself. Let every man be his own methodologist; let every man be his own theorist; let theory and method again become part of the practice of a craft”
Mills 1959 p.224