THE ROLE OF WOMEN AND PATRIARCHY A STUDY OF NWAGBO PAT OBI WHEN WOMEN GO NAKED AND FEMI OSOFISAN WOMEN OF OWU

WOMEN AND PATRIARCHY A STUDY OF NWAGBO PAT OBI WHEN WOMEN GO NAKED AND FEMI OSOFISAN WOMEN OF OWU

CHAPTER ONE/ INTRODUCTION

1.1Background to the Study

The concept of patriarchy refers to a social system in which men hold primary power and authority, and women are subordinated to men. Patriarchy has been a dominant force in African societies for centuries, and this has been reflected in African literature. In many African literary works, women are portrayed as being subordinate to men, and their lives are often defined by their relationships with men.

One example of this can be seen in the novel “Nervous Conditions” by Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga. The novel tells the story of a young Zimbabwean girl named Tambu who is struggling to break free from the constraints of her patriarchal society. Throughout the novel, Tambu is constantly reminded of her inferiority to men, and her efforts to assert her independence are met with resistance from both men and women. For example, when Tambu’s brother is given the opportunity to go to school, she is denied the same opportunity simply because she is a girl. This illustrates how women are denied access to education, which is a key factor in their empowerment.

Similarly, in the novel “So Long a Letter” by Senegalese author Mariama Ba, the main character, Ramatoulaye, is struggling to come to terms with the patriarchal society in which she lives. Ramatoulaye’s husband has taken a second wife, which is a common practice in many African societies, and Ramatoulaye is forced to accept this as her fate. However, Ramatoulaye is determined to assert her independence and find her own way in the world, despite the obstacles she faces.

In both of these novels, we see how women are subordinated to men in African society. However, we also see how these women are fighting back against patriarchy and asserting their independence.

Another important aspect of the portrayal of women in African literature is the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM), which is still practiced in many parts of Africa. This is addressed in the novel “Desert Flower” by Somali author Waris Dirie. The novel tells the story of a young Somali girl who is subjected to FGM, and her subsequent journey to escape from her oppressive society. Dirie uses her own experiences as a model and anti-FGM activist to highlight the importance of fighting against this harmful practice.

Finally, societies throughout history have always remained patriarchal and for the most part the role and status of women have been dictated by men. The ancient Athenian society is of no exception. This patriarchal ideal presents a tension whereby a woman is to be silent, always obedient and work in the home as a caregiver to both her husband and children.

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