Final Paper - Smith 1 Jennifer Smith Final Paper Prof....

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Smith 1 Jennifer Smith Final Paper Prof. Traore May 8 th , 2011 The Importance of Women in Mande Society When discussing the cultural and sociological aspects of the Mande people of West Africa, one must take great care in understanding the significant role of the female to their culture. The society of the Mande is one in which the male and female play opposite, yet equally important roles. The male, embodying fadenya (male-childness), is seen as individually-oriented, while the female, embodying badenya (female-childness), is seen as community-oriented. The feminine side of humanity is viewed as nurturing and orderly; the counterpoint to the chaotic independence that the male side of life embodies. In this culture it is felt that without the love, order, and balance that the female brings, the male side would fall out of balance and into chaos. However, this ideal of the balance of power between men and women regrettably does not exist in some communities. There is a clear patriarchal rule established amongst many West African villages, where the men rule government and business, while the women rule the home. However, even this authority over the home that women lay claim to is challenged at times. It is a harsh duality amongst the Mande that while the female is respected, and known to be the bearer of life, she is also subjugated and repressed. Through certain cultural aspects, disguised as “tradition”, men of the communities can abuse their power in order to repress women further into obedience. It is through this veil of tradition that the abuse of power is exercised by men over women. In order to
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Smith 2 understand how this dynamic works however, one must first look at the place of women in Mande society. The female plays many parts in the workings of society, but the most important is
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This note was uploaded on 08/10/2011 for the course CMLT 3030 taught by Professor Traore during the Spring '11 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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Final Paper - Smith 1 Jennifer Smith Final Paper Prof....

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