This study is concerned with the
manifestation of the protest against gender inequality in the perspective of
some selected African authors feminist texts. The research investigates the
study through the analysis of the selected text. Some research questions were
formulated after careful observation of the problem stated ion chapter one,
specifically, the study seeking to effectively determine those factors that
could greatly enhance gender equality in our society. In the final chapter, the
researcher did a useful summary and made suggestions for further research and
recommendation as to how to sustain the solution of the identified gender
1.1BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Manifestation of the protest against gender inequality examines
feminism revolt as a legitimate instrument against gender inequality as it
affects women using the following texts and authors as case study. The Wives
Revolt, J. P. Clark, So long a letter, Mariama Ba, Second class citizen, Buchi
Emecheta, The women of Orena are wiser than the gods, Osadebamwen Oamen and The
Dragon Funeral,. Emeka Nwabueze.
The word feminism according to oxford advanced learners dictionary
is defined as movement for recognition of claims of women for rights (legal,
political, etc) equal to those possessed by men. The concept of feminism is
Euro-American. It was established in Africa through the educated African women
who felt marginalized within the African cultural society and context as well
as having the notion that, in the cultural African society, women like children
are seen but not heard and as such has to change their status quo. Aihevba
(2006) in his work literacy criticism:
A practical approach writes that; “feminism is a revolutionary
movements that is focused on specifically the female subject of representing
and challenging the mentality that women are subordinate to men. It is a fight
against cultural representation of women as domestic and sexual object only
good for nothing else”.
The Cambridge Encyclopaedia defines feminism as “a socio-political
movement whose objective is equality of right, status and power for men and
women” (62). Judith Burdick (2007) in women in transition says “feminism” is an
explicitly reduction of the life style created by strong coercive norms that
define what women are and can do. She further states that feminism is a
psychological revolution based on women’s insistence that they have the basic
right to make choice and be judged as individuals.
In conclusion feminism to the researchers understanding is
ideologically designed to liberate and emancipate women worldwide from
oppression, ignorance and poverty, and that freedom for women is also
liberation for me. This means it is meant to correct the impression that women
are culturally inferior, whose identity was to be found in the desire to
please, serve others and seek definition through being secondary to men, racial
minorities, sexual deviants (sexual objects) or even the masses only good for
domestic chores and also seen as baby making machine. Being object of male
violence, religious fundamentalism and pornography which presented them as
literally in bondage to men.
Historically, feminism as a movement has its root or origin in
enlightenment campaign against slavery, sexual assault, prejudice and other
forms of cultural and literacy oppression suffered by women world over. For
instance, in the United States of America, feminist movement was born out of
anti-slavery campaign which was subsequently championed by Rosa Park who was
against supremacy in America. In the same vein, women in North and South of
Europe as a result of prejudice, and privileges denied them also rose to the
occasion of feminism. While for the African, it was the educated black women
who imported the Euro-American concept of feminism to challenge the institution
of slavery and resist white men’s sexual assault. In the view of the above,
early feminist who managed to rise above sexual prejudice, their interest was
to reconstitute literature in order to do justice to female point of view,
concern and value and to identify recurrent and distorting “image of women” or
to bring to light and to counter the covert sexual biases written into a
Consequences, a good literature to them (early feminists) was
therefore, a work that is produced to project the freedom and dignity of
womanhood and reawakening of feminist consciousness, by appealing to the idea
that liberation for women is liberation for men. From the above definitions
vis-à-vis conception and the brief history of feminism, it becomes believes
that feminism could be socialist, cultural and radical. This essay by the
researcher looked at these classification one after the other along line this
a.Socialist feminism: Socialist feminism links
women’s oppression to the class structure sexism which according to the oxford
advanced learners dictionary is “unfair treatment of people especially women,
because of their sex, or the attitude that causes this”, gives men utter
control over women. Women are oppressed by the men around them, but both men
and women are ultimately oppressed by the class system. This socialist feminism
believes that men and women are not significantly different.
b.Cultural Feminism: Traditionally, men are
elevated as the perfect performer in any normative action. They are often
lionized and celebrated as the pattern for group identification while women are
only but seen as the weaker sex. The concept of cultural feminism is concerned
with the theory that there is fundamental difference between men and women and
that women’s differences are special and should be celebrated. Women are
generally believed to be kinder and gentler than men. The view of cultural
feminism is geared towards the celebration of women’s special qualities, their
ways and experiences.
c.Radical Feminism: This concept of feminism often
opts for a life of separate existence from the opposite sex. It questions why
women must adopt certain roles based on their biology. Radical feminist critics
charge that the men create the world from their own point of views which then
becomes the truth to be described. Radical feminist’s criticism advocates a
revolutionary model of social change.
1.2STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Culturally, the image of womanhood is represented by particularly
as a symbol of erotic desire positioned by race, class and gender as a
subservient group of people lower and inferior to the male folks. Again, under
partilineage which mark most African society, the image of the women was
portrayed as those who are culturally inferior, whose identity is to be found
in the desire to please and serve men and seek definition by being secondary to
Haven x-rayed the circumstance women have found themselves,
their pitiable condition evade position, it calls for radical and correct
representation of the image of womanhood through literature, by a means of
rebuilding the image of women generally. The statement of this research work
problem therefore, is that of finding out and describing how womanhood has
fared culturally and how feminism as a literary concept and movement in African
literature has helped to reconstruct or reposition the image of womanhood in
Africa through a selection of some notable authors produced works in their
contribution towards redeeming the image of women.
1.3PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to show the selected authors
portrayal of the respective identification of the role culture and feminism
play in repositioning of women in the society. Also the study purposes to
taking an overview of the African woman in relation to the concept and movement
of feminism, in the themes of these text which depicts the present position of
the African woman.
1.4SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study when successfully completed will serve as a document
that portrays how literature:
i.Challenges, debunk and confront the rude
negative conception of the female.
ii.Represent the image of the woman correctly in
the feministic sense.
iii.Reveal the reason why people must see women as
agent in the society whose feelings should be respected.
iv.Depict how the image of womanhood was portrayed
in Africa cultural perspective before and after the advent of feminism in
v.To salute my fellow true African feminist for t
heir courage and dignity.
The following research questions are to guide the direction of the
i.What makes females suffers of gender inequality?
ii.What is t he role of African societal culture in
gender inequality perpetration?
iii.How does feminism stand as a tool of salvaging
the female ego?
iv.What contributions have some selected authors
made in the manifestation of protest against gender inequality?
v.What does the African women think about this
vi.What are the contributions of some Nigerian
radical feminists in solving this problem?
1.6SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This related investigative literature is focused against gender
inequality and its manifestation so far in the scenario of protest. Consequently,
the above subject matter has been designed to cover five selected literature
texts viz; the Wives Revolt, So Long a Letter, Second Class Citizen; The Women
of Orena are wiser than the gods, The Dragon’s Funeral.
1.7DEFINITION OF TERMS
societal system of a country or state that is ruled or controlled by men.
Word used to describe the relationship between father and child that continues
in a family of each generation.
Connected with culture which means the customs and beliefs, arts, way of life
and social organization of a particular group of people.
claim by women for right equal with men.
Someone that is in support of feminism.
Revolt: To resist
a particular authority.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY
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