The pressures of Nigerian culture seem to weigh in on the characters in Emotional Crack in a heavy, and yet indirect way as a means of punishing them. As is mentioned in the article by Lindsey Green-Simms and Unoma Azuah, “The Video Closet”, the very terms “Lesbian” or “homosexual” come off as taboo to the Nigerian characters in this movie, even as Crystal’s homosexuality is presented to her family and friends right before their eyes.
Emotional Crack displays the major societal influences that essentially root out homosexuality, even the very mention of it, from the surface of the country’s culture. We see the traditional pressure that so clearly defines the gender roles of the characters through both the way that Chudi treats Crystal (beating, expecting her to remain in the house) and his reaction of kicking her out of his home, despite being still married, following the discovery of her lesbian relationship. However, he never quite addresses the nature of the relationship between the two of the women other than declaring it to be unacceptable. The familial and religious pressures act similarly in the movie; Crystal’s mother shuns her from existence altogether, and both her sister and husband’s pastor express the notion that he must grant forgiveness, but with very vague reference to the actual homosexuality of Chudi’s wife.
Crystal is not a character with a great deal of agency over her own life from the start, but especially following the distinct point after which she is caught in bed with Camilla. While the traditional gender role already explained to be defined by Chudi’s actions could be blamed for this, we see a much greater sense of control and personal power in the character of Camilla, who defies the notion that a woman must lack personal agency in this culture. She exists as a determined and fierce personality as a working woman, exhibiting female qualities not present in Crystal. The point at which this relationship becomes most interesting is the point where we see that Crystal’s lesbian affairs have in fact solidified her inability to escape the pressure of womanhood translating into her being the property of another, asserted through Camilla’s piercing remark, “you belong to me”. The presence of homosexuality in this movie does not clearly define gender roles; the characters are able to carve out their own understanding of personal agency, be it for a man or a woman, albeit more of a task for the female characters. However, Camilla’s and Crystal’s parasitic lesbian relationship renders Crystal without any control over her own life as she remains the property of others, and even in the end as her husband must come to her rescue.