This long essay is a thematic exploration of Buchi Emechata’s The Joys of Motherhood and Second Class Citizen both of which focus on Feminism as a worldwide social theory, ideology and political movement directed at changing the existing power relations between man and woman. The works identified sociolinguistic factors such as age, gender, religion, education, occupation and culture as factors affecting the use of language in terms of what one says and how it is said concerning feminism.. It also identified the numerous forces militating against the rights of African women specifically in the traditional settings and blamed them on some cultural beliefs and customs which are destructive enough to keep women perpetually at the background. This study has shown that as long as men wield power, women will continue to be subjugated, oppressed and suppressed. It therefore canvassed for equality and mutual respect between the two sexes as well as the reciprocal and symbiotic recognition of the roles of men and women in the society.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contentsvi
CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.0 Introduction to the Study1
1.1 Background to the Study1
1.2 Authorial Background 4
1.3 Purpose of Study5
1.4 Justification of the study 5
1.5 Scope and limitation6
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Literature Review8
CHAPTER THREE:TEXTUAL ANALYSIS I
3.1 Thematic exploration of Buchii Emecheta’s
The Joy of Motherhood18
3.2 Exploitation 19
3.6 Parental Choice of Marriage Partner21
3.7 Theme of Polygamy22
3.8 The Childless Marriage22
3.9 The Influence of Gods Over the Living23
3.10 Superstition (Reincarnation)24
CHAPTER FOUR:TEXTUAL ANALYSIS II
4.1 Thematic exploration of Buchii Emecheta’s
Second Class Citizen29
CHAPTER FIVE:SUMMARY, FINDING&CONCLUSION
Feminist movement emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe and America respectively. Before this time, women were regarded as the oppressed group. Women have contributed a great deal to industrial activities with the introduction of feminism. This is to say that women became members of the working class in labour market thus, paving way for new industries centres. A feminist concept therefore consists of taking interest in the life styles, activities and occupation of women both at home and in societal growth. Feminism believes that women have been denied their rights as human beings in a world ruled by men and that they need to be liberated from patriarchy.
Feminism is also a world-wide ideology and political movement directed at changing the existing power relations between man and women. It is a social theory that highlights the inequalities in the male and female relationship in any society where patriarchal hegemony is practised. Patriarch is an ideology that gives men confidence to subordinate the female or treat, the female as an inferior being, men in such society hide under guise of patriarchy to subjugate women by a system of sex role stereotyping to which they are subjected from the early age. Thus, feminism as an ideology, according to Achufusi in feminist inclination of Flora Nwapa (1994:164), came about from the realization that a woman can never hope to have the proper recompense for her services until her usefulness and her success in life are not only demonstrated but fully understood and acknowledged. The early feminist believed that the solution to women subjugation should come from a political movement since patriarchy is tagged an oppressive political system.
However, woman quickly recognized the realities of their new situation and as the century wore on, became the focus of an emergent feminist movement. Pressure for the right to maintenance and custody in the event of divorce or separation began as early as the 1830s. The Governess Benevolent Institution was founded in 1843 and was followed by a long campaign to improve women’s education opportunities, a campaign to improve women’s education opportunities, a campaign which included, the founding of Queen’s and Bedford Colleges in 1869 and 1871 respectively: The first attempt by a woman to register as a medical student was as early as 1856, and the first parliamentary Bill to give married women the right to own property was introduced in the same year in Britain, Patricia Stubbs (1920:3).
Feminism as an ideology later finds a fertile ground in Africa in the 1960’s. Obioma Nnemeka (1995:40) establishes the functional purpose of the discourse when she asserts that “it provides the opportunity of re-evaluating attitudes and misconception about women which have been buttressed all along both by African culture and misogynous traditions of European colonial masters”.
There are other African Feminist writers like Acholonu who believes that women should not be seen as objects to decorate the homes with, but they should be regarded as major contributors to the growth of the nation without really affecting their roles as mothers and wives at home. In her article titled; Buchi Emecheta (1988:62) Acholonu asserts that:
Women should no longer be decorative accessories, objects to be moved about and companion to be flattered or claimed with promises. They should see themselves as nations primary fundamental root from which all else grows and blossoms, women must be encouraged to take a keen interest in the destiny of the country.
She tends towards the modernist theory that admonishes women to reactualise themselves but not to the detriment of their homes and familiar. Other feminist writers who can be tagged modernists also extol the value of motherhood as they do not Jettison the essence of manhood as well as their matrimonial role in their attempt to empower the female with good education and good jobs.
Womanist perspective that portrays women as mothers and wives while at the same time agitating for gender equity helps to prepare the woman for the challenges a head. The female characters of such writers with this perspective are therefore created with equitable dynamic attributes to make them economically independent for self retrieval and survival in a patriarchal society, without affecting their feminine roles in the home.
However, each variety of feminism aims at addressing the different needs of women and each need tends toward an accommodationist principle which advocates joints effort across gender in solving human problems and in developing a solid society. This intention therefore brings the works of African female writers into the limelight such works become crucial key for self-realization and self-liberation processing in the African setup where patriarchy is utilize to subjugate and reduce women to second class citizens.
This concept of subjugation in a family is an African tradition that permits the male sex to exercise unlimited authority and emphasize male supremacy over the female. This is basically to bring impediment on the path of the woman’ in the realization of her potentials. Joseph (2001:10) asserts that; “In order to be almost inextricably successful in that chauvinist patriarchal and authoritarian setup, the society conditions and manipulates the economic and psychological being of a woman”. Thus, any woman who dabbles into the masculine roles is regarded in the society as being obstinate.
Modupe Kolawole (1998:60) perceives this hold that tradition has on some African women as being so tremendous that they will place cultural acquiescence over existing law designed to facilitate women’s mobilization. The subjugate concept is further enhanced in African society by the low level of educational attainment of women especially in the 1960s that is why major female characters in feminist writing are created to be educated to give them the boldness they need to challenge patriarchy. Also this authoritarian concepts is more pronounced in a society where Islamic injunction aids the practice of Purdoh which according to Fatima Adamu (1998:40) makes women “to be dependents, submissive and dominated by their husbands and their lives assumed to be restrictive and repressive”.
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