Feminism In Africa And Subcontinents Cultural Studies Essay

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The main focus of this chapter is that one has to live the life as a woman, which is an essential for producing feminist thought because within women's communities thought is validated and produced with reference to a particular set of historical, material, and epistemological conditions. The participation of black women in various African Feminist movements has many different characteristics. Feminism of African differs from Western feminism because it has cultivated in a different cultural context. Today, African women are looking to specify their roles in various ways that gives them new opportunities. This is not a totally new task, since there are much evidence of women oppression, sexism, gender biased and women's struggles to reshape their roles within communities of traditional African cultures in historical periods. Few of the unusual feminist scholars have been able to defy Eurocentric masculinity epistemologies and explicitly embrace an Afro centric feminist epistemology.

In the novel Things fall apart and anthills of savanna African, feminism emerged in various forms in the different parts of the continent, which grow out of individualism within the cultural context of industrial communities. In the West, social and economic norms historically pushed women into more active roles in the society, and Western feminism has focused on women's struggle for control over reproduction and sexuality. Where as women in African had a very different experience to share with the world, African feminist argues on theoretical questions which in the end does not have a practical approach. Rather, like many of its Third World counterparts, African feminism is distinctly heterosexual, supportive of motherhood, and focused on issues of "bread, butter, culture, and power.

Chapter 2 - Influence Of Church and Education

This chapter will explore that the religion also had a strong influence on education in Africa in the nineteenth century. Together with the colonial state, religious organizations, particularly missions influenced the form, content and the processes of canon formation in African artistic and intellectual endeavors. Throughout Central Africa, women increasingly play fundamental roles in the new churches. Although the initial missionaries primarily wanted to teach women to become good housewives, after the independence of several states they changes their tune. Both in the cities and villages women play a more and more explicit role within the religious communities, they are the ones bridging the gap between old and new, and they are also negotiators in times of social crises. The extent of women's literacy varies greatly from area to area. In the former British colonies greater efforts had usually been made to get women access to education. In the former French colonies this evolution came about much slower, partly because of the growing impact of Islam in certain parts. The South African apartheid had disastrous consequences for women's education, and in the Portuguese speaking areas not much effort was made. Through formal, westernized education, pioneered by the church and subsidized by the state, women in many parts of Africa experienced a separation between religion, politics and the economy, disempowering them substantially and domesticating them in the process of restructuring its distribution in colonial economies. While African women have entered the terrain of canon creation later than African men, the class bases of this participation cuts across gender lines, aligning men and women of the western educated classes together in the processes of canon formation

Chapter 3 - Level centric Domination: Community over Individual

In this chapter will discuss the issues related gender bias in the novels of Achebe. In the novel Things fall apart and. The Black females underwent some domains that reflect the biased nature of society the Black women's condition is an overlooked opinion, it may be fruitless to try and translate ideas from an outsider feminist perspective into an Afro centric masculinity framework. Rather than just trying to uncover universal knowledge which claims that one can withstand this epistemology, Black women intellectuals might find efforts to rearticulate a Black women's standpoint especially fruitful. One of the soundest ideas in dramatic writing is that in order to create the universal, you must pay very great attention to the specific.. In general the biological role of women is not perceived as being in conflict with taking up political or economic responsibilities.

Apart from the care for their children, women are also responsible for the care of the community. Care in the broadest meaning of the word. No wonder that African men and women often have complementary and often even parallel responsibilities. (Women's) roles are determined by membership of a collective group (family or tribe). As a member of certain families, men and women get certain responsibilities and privileges.

Chapter 4- Color-ism, Racism and Feminism

This chapter centers on the different aspects of feminism and will also explore the color-ism and racism as the prominent factors to determine the status of women in Africa The Knowledge demanded by the black women was recognized by the traditional legitimacy of their feminist scholars who are looking for the Afro centric feminist epistemology which may encounter the conflicting levels. In the eyes of different group they wanted to be credible for that the scholars must be personal advocates for their women and their material should be accountable for the consequences of their work, those scholars who have lived or experienced their material in some manner, and are ready to share their findings with ordinary, everyday woman.

In the novels it became essential stand point for the Black feminist thought first must be approved by their Black community of Black women scholars. These scholars kept diverse amounts of importance on a confused Black women's standpoint using an Afro centric feminist epistemology. Third, Afro centric feminist thought within scholars became a must task be prepared to confront the Eurocentric mescaline's political and epistemological requirements. Another term, Stiwanism [1] was coined by Ogundipe-Leslie [2] to "counter the opposition she encounters whilst using the term feminism." Kohrs-Amissah cites Ogundipe-Leslie who says, 'I have since advocated the word 'Stiwanism,' instead of feminism, to bypass these concerns and to bypass the combative discourse that ensure whenever one raises the issue of feminism in Africa. Although the author elaborates on what Leslie believes is critical to African feminism, there seems to be a lack somewhere as to the function of the word Stiwanism in the text.

Chapter 5- Reshaping Women role

This chapter will discuss the level centric domination of black men as well as white men over black women and what modern feminism articulates was already demonstrated by Achebe in their work which depicts women with rounded human attributes women who can weep and fight heartily and who can bow in deference even as they proceed to their goals. The poetic characters therefore demonstrate the complexity of women as subjects with empathy and assertiveness as they navigate the maze of multiple oppressions. The African Feminist thoughts emphasis on the interplay between Black women's oppression and Black women's activism but it resulted into the level centric domination of women.

This chapter will focus on the gender role in the African communities; the lyric is rendered in the form of an address by a wife to her husband and reveals the woman's awareness of her marginalization by her husband, who excluded her from men's secret meetings. The three influential colonial spheres church, governance and trade each had their own disruptive influence on traditional power and gender roles. Four factors were detrimental in the institution of a new gender inequality. Firstly Catholicism with the introduction of monogamy, "woman's place is in the home' attitude and the suppression of women; secondly western education giving more opportunities to men; thirdly western marital law according rights of ownership to women which the traditional rituals could not guarantee so that traditional matters of ascendancy were threatened; and lastly the new legal systems which recognized the independence of African women (in theory).

In this practice colonial magistrates usually treated women as legal minors needing a man's guidance. Continuous support of patriarchy and individualism created new economic opportunities but also seriously disrupted the existing gender relations. This resulted in a division of labour according to gender, and a further separation of men and women within the community, factors that would take their toll until well after World War II. The colonial structures and capitalist economic principles were institutionalized in religious, economic, legal, bureaucratic and educational structures. Gradually, this led to a new social order in which African women not belonging to the upper few had very little rights. As a result the economic and legal position of women was changed drastically.

Chapter 6 - Conclusion: Contemporary African Women

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