Feminist Aesthetic in Zaynab Alkali's The Stillborn and The Virtuous Woman

The study has examined the extent of the marginalization of the African woman in a sexist society which relegates womanhood to gender roles. It has discovered, for instance that the persistent inequality between men and women in the Nigeria society which Alkali works portray, has contributed to the general disempowerment of women. Alkali however, projects womanhood in a positive light she upholds female potentialities which the patriarchal structure has represent. As a feminist, she aims her female character with an intensity of vision and makes role models out of them. This study has further discovered that illiteracy among women is on a slow decline compared to that of men. The education of the female child is a rarity in Northern Nigeria. This has affected noticeably the quality of life that the female child experiences. Zaynab Alkali has therefore, presents education as the most essential weapon for challenging one aspect of gender inequality which is the educational disempowerment of the woman. Feminist Aesthetic in Zaynab Alkali’s in The Stillborn and The Virtuous Woman has been discussed and our findings reveal that education plays major role in women emancipation and liberation in a patriarchal society. The study has concluded that there is a need to re-evaluate and re-define gender roles in African society in order to establish mutual complementary between men and women and it recommended that both sexes should be equally trained for the joy of motherhood to be full realized and that education underscores a fundamental necessity for the mental and material liberation of women from male domination.

Title Pagei
Table of Contentsvi-vii

1.0Introduction to the Study
1.2Scope and Limitation 
1.3Justification of the study 
1.5The Research Questions
1.6Authorial Background

2.1Feminist Theory
2.2Types of Feminism
2.2.1Liberal Feminism
2.2.2Radical Feminism
2.2.3Marxist Feminism
2.2.4Socialist Feminism
2.2.5Cultural Feminism
2.2.6Black/African Feminism
2.3A Review of Feminist Aesthetics

3.1Plot Construction
3.2Image of Womanhood
3.3Feminist Tendencies
3.4Gender Equity
3.5Female Modern Characterization
3.6Language and Style
3.7The Function of Feminist Aesthetics in Zaynab Alkali’s The Stillborn

4.1Plot Construction
4.2Image of Womanhood
4.3Gender Equity
4.5Female Modern Characterization
4.6Language and Style
4.7The Feminist Aesthetics in Zaynab Alkali’s The Virtuous Woman



A man never  begins by presenting himself as an individual of a certain sex, but a woman has to define herself as a woman from start. The masculine is regarded as the very type of humanity and woman is seen as relative to man. This act is what gives birth to a term “Feminism”.
Feminism according to the Oxford Advanced Dictionary is “the movement for recognition of women’s rights (legal, political, social etc.) equal to possess by men”.  Although,  the term ‘Feminism’ has a history in English linked with womens activism form the late 19th century to the present, it is useful of distinguish feminist ideas or beliefs from feminist political movements for even in periods when they have been no significant in political activism around women’s subordination, individual has been concerned with and the theorized about justice for women.
Feminism is an ideology which is a direct reation to the social and psychological restraints place upon women. Femilism come as a result of an attempt by the women to liberate their feet from traditional claws in African patriarchal society that allow the male see to exercise authority and emphasis male supremacy over the female. This is basically to bring impediments on the path of the women in realization of their potentials.
Joseph (2001:163) also aserts that “in order to be almost inextricaly successful in that chauvinist patriarchal society and authoritarian set-up the society conditions and manipulates the economic and psychological being of a woman”. Through history, women has always struggled against male domination and suppression, be it political, religious, economical or social. 
The major reason for the women’s strive and thirst for quality with men can be traced to the changing role for women in contemporary West Africa is not to say that the traditional role of women as keeper of home, mother obedient, mate participation in actions, economics are being eliminated rather, it is to state a fairly obvious sociological fact. Society is not stagnant technologies and science just as the general societal changes have occurred in different part of the countries, so also is the changes in the role of women. The changes in the educational set up include changes in the educational set up include changes attitudes economics, political and society environmental of women which necessarily alter their roles.
Most African female writers seek to address the plight of women in most of their works. The advent of women into an exclusively male world was possible with an increasing sensitivity to inequalities of sexism. This issue forms the base of the African women writers. The women came to awareness that there is the heed to change the image of women from the oppressed and the underdog.
As a result of this fact, gender scholars and feminist writers have continuously lamented the sad plight of women, especially women who are not adequately empowered, in their works. Feminist writers in Europe and America like Virginia Woolf and Elaine Showalter have dwelt almost on the same concerns that dominated the thematic pre-occupation of African Feminist writers like Buchi Emecheta , Flora Nwapa, Ifeoma Okoye, Mariam Ba, Zulu Sofola, Zaynab Alkali and others. The main concern of most of these female is the problem confronting women. The female writer gives manly qualities to their female characters and makes the men to play a secondary role. This trend in female writers makes them feminist. 
It is important to say that female writers also gained approval in the society through the assistance of some male writers whose techniques of writing are different from the female form. Showalter (1988:209) posits that “there is any specifically male and female way of writing or approaching test because human imagination is essentially genderless” for examples is critical reading in Sembene Ousmane God’s Bits of Wood (1962) which portray female characters as revolutionary activists. They take up the leadership roles to fight oppression in the society. The women march from Thies to Dakar with no food and water, though many lose their lives in the struggle, those who are left to achieve success at the end of the railway strike. Ngugi Wa also shows the sterling quality of women in the African society. In a Grain of Wheat, women did not only stand by their men, they also participate in various active parts in the struggle for freedom and Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel (1964) would be shallow without paying attention to the influence of the women folk in the strike action in the novel and the roles play by Sadiku and Sidi in the play respectively. 
Education therefore is believed by many writers to be the major agent of women’s liberation and emancipation with Western form of education, more women are now empowered to express themselves and assert their right to be heard. Women thereby write to create awareness in the societies. The awareness will lead women to speak out their minds in matters concerning them.
Aesthetics on the other hand means the study of beauty of art. From the consideration of this project topic Feminist Aesthetic in Zaynab Alkali’s The Stillborn and The Virtuous Woman implies those elements and facts the novelist write to glorify womanhood in struggle for the attainment of self liberation and transformation for the beauty and betterment of the societal growth. Through feminism, she identifies the social qualities imposed on feminine roles which place excessive restraints upon women and conclude that neither a woman nor a man can be free unless each rejects fixed roles in all their forms. Her belief is that it is essential that women throughout Africa be allowed and encouraged to fulfil their potential for them to make an effective contribution to nation building.
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Ugwu, A. (2018). Feminist Aesthetic in Zaynab Alkali's The Stillborn and The Virtuous Woman. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/feminist-aesthetic-in-zaynab-alkali-rsquo-s-the-stillborn-and-the-virtuous-woman-5487

MLA 8th

Ugwu, Anderson "Feminist Aesthetic in Zaynab Alkali's The Stillborn and The Virtuous Woman" Afribary. Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018, https://afribary.com/works/feminist-aesthetic-in-zaynab-alkali-rsquo-s-the-stillborn-and-the-virtuous-woman-5487. Accessed 29 May. 2024.


Ugwu, Anderson . "Feminist Aesthetic in Zaynab Alkali's The Stillborn and The Virtuous Woman". Afribary, Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018. Web. 29 May. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/feminist-aesthetic-in-zaynab-alkali-rsquo-s-the-stillborn-and-the-virtuous-woman-5487 >.


Ugwu, Anderson . "Feminist Aesthetic in Zaynab Alkali's The Stillborn and The Virtuous Woman" Afribary (2018). Accessed May 29, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/feminist-aesthetic-in-zaynab-alkali-rsquo-s-the-stillborn-and-the-virtuous-woman-5487

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