Nigeria’s Feminine Bouncers Combat Stereotypes

'Face The Crowd, Be Yourself': Nigeria's Female Bouncers Fight Stereotypes

The feminine-only safety staff Dragon Squad Restricted has 43 members.

Akwa Ibom, Nigeria:

For years, Emem Thomas’ physique drew snarky remarks from slimmer classmates in southern Nigeria that shattered her confidence and pure affability.
As teasing and taunts marred her teenage years, she gave up on desires like competing in a neighborhood magnificence pageant.

Then she discovered a distinct segment that values what Thomas now proudly describes as her “plus-sized” physique kind: the “Dragon Squad Restricted”, a staff of feminine bouncers.

“I really like what I see dragons do in motion pictures,” she mentioned. “They’re additionally a logo of energy and safety.”

Based in 2018, Thomas solely employs ladies of a sure weight and form, making a protected house for plus-size ladies to excel in a subject that’s historically male-dominated.

“My staff is all about plus-size girls,” she defined. “In case you have the plus-size physique then that’s cool for me, earlier than I now discuss your ardour and different {qualifications}.”

The Dragon Squad’s 43 recruits have labored safety at about 2,000 occasions together with home events, funerals, political rallies and membership nights.

“Folks count on us to be within the kitchen or in all probability doing make-up and different female roles, however becoming a member of this squad has actually enlightened me,” mentioned 23-year-old bouncer Peace Vigorous, the youngest of the crew.

Along with walkie-talkies, boots and darkish glasses, the bouncers carry pepper spray.

The chance of being molested on the job is “at all times one thing we keep in mind”, mentioned Thomas.

“We at all times prep ourselves for that” and for “males wanting down on us.”

‘Face The Crowd’ 

On an early overcast morning, Thomas led bouncers by a sweaty health session on a car parking zone.

The ladies have acquired expertise, energy, and most significantly for Thomas, confidence.

“Most of them… had been at all times shy. They could not discuss,” she mentioned, noting that she too grew to become introverted due to her weight.

Behaviour that pulls consideration resembling standing in entrance of a crowd and giving orders will be significantly difficult for girls used to avoiding the general public eye.

“Face the gang and be your self,” Thomas tells them once they falter. “You might be alleged to be seen and recognized.”

Thomas’s newfound confidence has remodeled her social and household life within the metropolis of Uyo, the place the 37-year-old lives together with her two youngsters.

She now not considers herself and introvert or shies away from occasions.

The Dragon Squad has additionally led her to advocate for the rights of women and girls.

Gender violence is rife in Nigeria, which has one of many world’s highest charges of sexual assault. Jihadist teams within the north are recognized for kidnapping women and girls and trafficking them into intercourse work and compelled labour.

For Thomas, change comes with “breaking the barrier” to indicate what ladies convey to all sectors of society.

She believes feminine bouncers “have a approach of taking off hazard” by listening to troublemakers and victims in a approach that the majority males wouldn’t have endurance for.

“I see no motive why ladies (shouldn’t be) given an opportunity.”

(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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