A Nigerian App helps brides to calculate their worth before they walk down the aisle
A Nigerian firm has designed a new app that enables women to calculate their value as brides by using criteria such as beauty and education. But the creators of the app, who say it is meant to be humorous, are under attack for making fun of deeply-rooted cultural practices and objectifying women.
A new computer based application is generating a buzz in Nigeria; it has generated over four million hits from 56 countries, since its launch three months ago. The app has taken the dowry cultural practice,
That has been passed down from generation-to-generation to a whole new level. The app helps brides to calculate their worth before they walk down the aisle.
Many Nigerians still follow traditional customs when it comes to big ceremonies like weddings. But in this particular case, Lora Ogunbadero, a bride-to-be, tried to use a new app that calculates your worth as a bride. But she wasn’t comfortable with the outcome.
“I tried doing it once and i felt this is not how it’s calculated. I just feel the bride app is just a game, it’s just a play thing.”
The app was created here at Anakle, a digital agency located in a Lagos suburb. Users answer a series of questions ranging from skin color, height and weight to leg shape. The app also includes other criteria such as education and country of residence. Ofure Ukpebor, lead developer at Anakle explains how the app works.
“The application enables anyone to check the bride price for their friends, their enemies or themselves and there are a lot of categories to choose from. The application decides based on physical appearance, cooking skills and educational levels, and all of those.”
The bride price app has, however, courted controversy since its inception. It has been criticized for use of racial terms such as ‘half-caste’ and for its use of racial demarcations.
Editi Effiong, Anakle’s chief operating officer, says the bride price app is merely meant to be funny and is not meant to be taken seriously.
“It’s an inside joke by Africans for Africans, right, and we … The concept of bride price is not being sold …but for someone who is not used to … Who has never paid a bride price it’s like oh my god, it’s such a barbaric culture. “
Back at Lola’s wedding, the groom and his friends are participating in another age-old tradition. They are lying prostrate before their elders in a symbolic act of humility to ask for their blessings.
Despite the controversy surrounding the bride price app, the groom believes traditions such as the payment of dowry will continue.
“like it’s tradition you know and it’s what, it’s just trying to tell the parents that actually i appreciate this, and in the Yoruba context of it; they are just trying to tell you that’s okay, my daughter i can’t just give you for free, you have to pay me something.”
Still, other critics say the bride price app and traditional practices like dowry marginalize and objectify women.
“I will advise young girls to say no, we don’t want to be sold and if they actually love each other they can arrange you know, talk to the parents and see how this whole bride price thing should work. The advice to parents is that you are not selling your child — I’ve heard some people will even ask for Rolex, car and all that.”
But for the young couple who just got married, the elders have indeed spoken. Leaving the debates behind. For now, it’s clear to them, that it’s the sentiment of togetherness and joy that their marriage symbolizes that’s important; a time when family and friends come together to sing, dance and feast.