aaas 41 essay #2

aaas 41 essay #2 - Jessica Harris AAAS 41/WGST 36.2...

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Jessica Harris AAAS 41/WGST 36.2 Professor Amadiume 18 February 2007 The Complexity of Power Within many traditional African societies the power structure had been dominated by males. Males had roles such as chiefs among entire villages and the head decision makers within their households which placed most authority in their possession (Rosaldo, 19). Thus, within the context of traditional Africa, the actions of women and children were dependent on the males within the society. As western influence in Africa increased, the formation of gender roles, once dominated by males faced alterations. Further, as opportunities for women began to expand outside of the domestic sphere, power within the African context was redefined. While the concept of power previously embodied by African males consisted of the ability to dominate and control those in a subordinated position, mainly women and children, the definition of power evolved to become the ability to decide ones own fate (White). With power among males, women essentially had to conform to male decisions. Conversely, while the change in power did not allow women to control the lives of men, it allowed them to control their own lives. Examining the novels Changes by Ama Ata Aidoo, The Stillborn by Zaynab Alkali, and Kehunde by Buchi Emecheta, this shift of power in post-colonial Africa is evident not only in the new found independence available to the African women in the novels, but in their ability to decide and choose to live under either the traditional African responsibilities or to create a new life where they are not dependent on men. 1
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While the question of power is expressed in the ability to decide ones own fate, an examination of the lives of the women within the novels further question whether this post-colonial power among African women is substantial. From the novels it is evident that while power can be obtained both on an individual basis and within families, they
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aaas 41 essay #2 - Jessica Harris AAAS 41/WGST 36.2...

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