DIMENSIONS%2520OF%2520FEMALE%2520EXPERIENCE%5B1%5D_real.doc

DIMENSIONS%2520OF%2520FEMALE%2520EXPERIENCE%5B1%5D_real.doc...

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THE BURDEN OF CONFORMING TO CULTURE AND TRADITION: THE AFEMAI WOMAN’S EXPERIENCE. BY Remi AKUJOBI {PhD} (Female) DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH AND LITERARY STUDIES COLLEGE OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT COVENANT UNIVERSITY, OTA. OGUN STATE [email protected] The paper is on Gender studies
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ABSTRACT Women are said to be builders of homes, they are the rockers of cradle(s), and they enrich a nation with their reproduction prowess. Women are also said to be lifters of their men’s spirit especially with their companionship, It is in this light that this paper attempts an understanding of the ways in which gender and its attendant problems impede on the social standing and general development of the woman in society. It pays particular attention to the Afemai women in Estakor of Edo state and interrogates the culture of the people of this area within the confines of gender and power relations Overall, the paper will address the gender question from the socio-cultural perspective. The paper uses observation through indirect participation and interview to gather information used in this research and some of the findings are embedded in the paper. Key Words: BURDEN OF CULTURE AND TRADITION
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INTRODUCTION “Oh! What faithless little creatures girls are?” Bernard Shaw (1898). There is no denying the fact that gender is fast becoming an important discourse not only in literary circles but in all human endeavours. The issue of gender and its attendant problems did not actually find expression in Africa until very recently and the awareness of the importance of gender in all human endeavours makes it very difficult for one to engage in any discourse without a particular to reference to gender. Gender, as it were, has changed the shape of human discourse and is now a recognized phenomenon. It is crucial in determining the production, circulation and consumption of any discourse today (Showalter 1989:1) and because of this importance, be it science, philosophy, development arts and others, one is tempted to see all human enterprise on gender line. Gender, to Showalter therefore encompasses speech and in every language (whether Afemai, Igbo,Hausa, Swahilli), gender is a grammatical category and it is all that humanity stands for or against. Some theories are examined in other to address the issue of gender especially as it affects the Nigerian woman. One of such theories is the one propounded by de Beauvoir in The Second Sex {1973}, which says that “one is not born, but rather becomes a woman”. In de Beauvoir’s opinion gender, is an aspect of identity one gradually acquires so it is no longer possible to attribute the values and social functions of woman to biological necessity since one can become the gender chooses. Butler( 1986), Zimmerman (1991), Dunker (1993), Hooks (1985}, all subscribe to this idea as they contend that there is no such thing as one being created with a particular gender and the act of becoming entails a cultural interpretation of bodies, so if one’s culture sees one as a man then you are. If you have all the features of a man and your culture says you are a woman, so be it.
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