Smaller quantity of films in comparison to nigerian

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smaller quantity of films in comparison to Nigerian cinema, both are at the same level of artistic merit. With that said, both Ghanaian and Nigerian cinemas artistically derive from theater: the Ghana Concert Party Theatre and the Yoruba Popular Theatre. Both theaters restricted women from acting for a period of time and initially, the plays’ narratives culturally reflected what Western critics would consider anti-feminist beliefs. In African Cinema: Postcolonial and Feminist Readings, Kenneth Harrow uses a monologue from the French play, Femmes aux yeux Ouverts (1992, Folly), to delineate how “oppression of women stems 4
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from three proverbial beliefs, i.e., that: Women should follow all the instructions of their husbands; Women shouldn’t be educated, shouldn’t read; Women shouldn’t open their eyes” (231). Lisa A. Lindsey addresses this anti-feminist approach in “Working With Gender: The Emergence of the ‘Male Breadwinner’ in Colonial Southwestern Nigeria.” She lists the two purposes that define the male breadwinner: “1) to construe male earning as a supportive of wives and children; and 2) either to ignore women’s income-earning or to define it as something other than remunerative work. “ Interesting enough, though, the majority of divorces in Nigeria from 1940s and 1950s reflected wives’ discontentment with their husbands’ earnings. On the one hand, one can view the woman in a degraded state for being so dependent on a man’s finances. On the other hand, it is possible to regard the woman as courageous for taking the initiative to end her marriage. Adrienne Maclain discusses anxieties over gender relations and institution of marriage in “Let Us Be United in Purpose: Variations on Gender Relations in the Yoruba Popular Theatre” by discussing three Yoruba plays: Kuye, Laniyonu, and The Road to Riches. Two out of the three, Kuye Wang 5
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and The Road to Riches , depict women as powerless and inferior to men. The female characters in these plays represent nothing more than subservient accessories that cook and clean for their husbands. Maclain then uses Laniyonu to show how theater has progressively become more empowering to the wife whose role entails smart and brave characteristics. Laniyonu depicts an active female protagonist whose worth as the domestic caretaker is equal to that of the husband who is in charge of all of the finances. Transitioning into Ghana Concert Party Theatre, Gracia Clark shares Laniyonu ’s positive view of African women in Onions are my husband: Survival and Accumulation by West African Market Women . She describes marriage as a process that the woman actively participates in rather than an event that she is meekly forced into. She explains, “Wives express their satisfaction with a warm relationship by taking extra care in cooking, just as husbands enjoy giving beloved wives extra gifts” (346). There is an understood reciprocation between husband and wife; both parties must do their part in keeping the marriage successful and happy. After interviewing Asante women, Clark implies that the wife even gives the husband an unofficial and unspoken ultimatum that if he does not provide her with a 6
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