There are different perspectives to gender issues, but this work has limited its review to the womanist perspective in Aidoo’s CHANGES and Okoye’s BEHIND THE CLOUDS. In establishing the perspective, a study of both writers looking critically into their literary and their ideology on womanism is carried out. The writers standpoint on the womanist approach under feminist theory in the analysis of the selected works, exposes us to the fact that gender issues in relation to feminism is an attempt to describe and interpret women experiences as portrayed by their female characters. The writers having used womanist theory seeks to avert the thrust in which women have the same inalienability rights to their male counterparts deserve to be treated equally.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Title page i
Table of contentsvi
1.1Objectives of the study 5
1.2 Scope Delimitation of the study 5
1.3 Justification 5
1.4Research methodology 6
1.5Origin of feminism 6
2.1Feminism and Womanism 9
2.1.1 Feminist movement in Africa 11
2.1.2 Types of feminism 17
2.1.3 Womanism 19
3.1Changes a survey 30
3.2 Womanist critique in Ama Ata Aidoo’s changes 32
4.0 Introduction 42
4.1A womanist reading of ifeoma Okoye’s Behind The Clouds 42
5.0 Conclusion 53
In the 18th Century significant changes happened in the life of women, these changes brought about the various feminist movement where small groups of women introduced activities and the awareness of women’s right. The growth of feminism began in Europe and America when women became curious of their oppression and marginalization and took steps to re-dress this oppression by creating feminists movement.
Feminism is an ideology that refers to the social and psychological restraints placed on women. Feminism is a movement that demand the removal of all social, political, economic and other discrimination placed on women. The feminist movement is not concerned with achieving the differences in the sexes, but it is concerned with achieving equality for both sexes whereby the woman has the right to find out the person she is, and essentially strives to become that. Feminism is seen as a demand for political and social reform which is informed by the sexual differences created through societal oppression.
Feminists have secured a greater presence in academic business, politics and mass media. Feminists have succeeded through their literary work and campaigns or movement in drawing attention to the ways in which work has significantly affected historical developments. Feminist scholars have demonstrated the extent to which male bias has determined the normative assumptions of the social natural and behavioral sciences. In the arts, literary and artistic canons are no longer restricted to the works of men. The Feminist writer writes to tell about being a woman and to describe the reality from a woman’s point of view.
Feminism aims at projecting the place of women in the society by portraying their values by giving woman a chance in the society. The predominant concern of African woman writers is a new position of woman with the help of tradition and modernity to change woman’s consciousness in contemporary African Society.
Feminism deals more on the western issues about women, since the text are about African women the discussion will explore the womanism concept of gender issues. Bell Hooks (1988) accuses feminism of excluding black from participating in the movement according to her:
Feminism in the united state has never emerged from women who are most victimized by sexist oppression, women who are daily beaten down, martially, physically and spiritually. Women who are powerless to change their own condition of life. They are the silent majority.
Hooks view is that feminism coined by the western states, ignored the women in the black race due to racial differences, African women then saw the need to evolve an ideology that caters specifically for the needs of black women folk. The term womanism is said to have been coined by Alice Waker in her collection of essays titled In search of our mother’s gardens: womanist prose (1983). Womanism sums up the aesthetics of the black female literary experience. Womanism is distinguished by its focus on the black female experiences. Bernard Bell observes that the preoccupation of black American female writers is projected in his quotation
Bell (1987) states:
Motifs of interlocking racist, sexist and classist oppression, black female protagonists, spiritual journeys from victimization to the realization of personal autonomy or creativity, a centrality of female bonding or networking, a sharp focus on personal relationships in the family and community deeper, more detailed explorations and validation of their episternological powers of emotions, iconography of women’s clothing and black female language.
This projects and explores the black women experience and the struggles of the women in emancipating themselves from the society. Bell (1987) exposes the closeness in which the African women or Black women have towards their oppression. The womanist is an accomodationist which Aidoo and Okoye portrayed through their female characters like Opokuya,Ije,Ugo Ushie and Esi welcomes the male presence and the centrality of motherhood.
Through the topicality of their works Aidoo and Okoye introduce the concept of womanism, their literary text focus on family relationship, the importance of mother hood etc. African women are presently voicing their stand point on the various women experiences. Aidoo and Okoye drum the course of women freedom in the society. The study will therefore compare the two writers; Aidoo and Okoye on the projection of the womanist perspectives in the two literature texts.
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