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Last week I wrote a piece about a cheeky Nigerian app that allows you or your significant other to calculate your Brideprice value. In the week since I discussed the app’s questionable motives and commentary on society it seems to have gone viral.
Here is a quick refresher for those who haven’t heard about the app yet. Created by Nigerian digital agency Anakle: The app takes the user through a series of questions about yourself (if you are a curious female) or your potential mate, or friend, or whoever. Once you have gone through the many questions provided, you are then given a figure that I guess denotes the worth of the lady in question.
Since the app’s launch, Anakle’s CEO Editi Effiòng, has come out to say that it is meant to be satirical and that if anything it is an “inside joke” for Nigerians, a country where marriage is widely discussed both online and offline.
Since it landed on the media circuit, the app has found its way to East Africa, where it hopes to recreate the same talkabilty it received in Nigeria. This weekend Anakle launched Brideprice app Kenya, using the same cues as the Nigerian version but in Kenyan vernacular. There is even talk of the app launching in Ghana in the coming weeks, whether the proverbial “elders” will make their way to South Africa remains to be seen.
— Bride Price (@bridepricecheck) May 31, 2014
When the app first launched I was a little bit cautious of its purpose (I still am), as a third culture kid, this app can either be offensive or just another thing I don’t really need to care about. Though Anakle says that the app is meant and means no offense and is simply “an aggregation of jokes and stereotypes regarding Bride price in Nigeria”. Though one must ask, how wise is that in a country like Nigeria and the African continent in general.
The company went on to say that it has “taken care that no derogatory, sexually explicit content or offensive language is used on the app”. After which they critically note that it is also “not an attempt to put a price on the true value of a woman”.
What does an app like this tell us about the psyche of the African society, our attitudes toward women and how we treat them? Is the insight here that we rather jest about fundamental issues than critically address them? Are we that society that think it is fun to say a woman with a PhD is worth less because she has more opinions? Or that the thinner she is the better and more desirable wife she would make? What is the point of the Brideprice app?
There must be a point: so what value does this app offer?
Whether the app wants to or not, in a society were women can be regarded as property, it is about to promote some form of objectification and misogyny towards women. The internet has done a good job of creating a space where women are held hostage and battered because of their gender and not much has been done about it. Do we really need another “fun” game that works as an “inside joke” for those in the know?
Anakle is not stupid, especially in the wake of #bringbackourgirls and #yesallwomen, there must be more to the app than that. A data exercise perhaps? According to the company’s CEO the app was taken to Kenya because Kenyans requested it and that showed demand for it. Currently around two million people have taken the quiz, with a whooping 86% of them being women. The app has generated around 6-million social conversations though only 23% of the quiz takers posted their results on social media.
According to the digital agency it has seen traffic for the app from around 56 countries, 34% from Nigeria, 22% United States and the United Kingdom while the rest of Africa comes in with a nice 24%. The bulk of the traffic interestingly has come from Facebook, with a referral of 1.8-million users, though Effiòng notes that many of the Facebook referrals didn’t finish the quiz — around 400 000 to be precise.
Effiòng also says that he and his team have yet to finish distilling the stats to come out from the app but are pretty confident that it might be “biggest app usage out of Nigeria ever (in terms of usage/time)”.
It would be very interesting to see what insights the app provides to the psyche of society and our feelings toward women. It would also be interesting to see what other world applications and data similar quiz-like apps can provide from an enterprise point of view. If we take satire and women issues away from this app and use the same framework to build skills tests, literacy tests and psychological tests imagine what insights those would provide.
Also will we see an app that measures the value of men soon?