CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
The word “patriarchy” comes from the Greek. ‘Patria’ which means father while “arche” means rule. Thus, patriarchy means rule of the father. Truly, African society is patriarchy in nature because, men dominate and control the women in all areas. Mitchell, a feminist psychologist uses the term “patriarchy” to refer to kinship systems in which men exchange women (71). From the foregoing, patriarchy has become unfortunately one of the pillars of the contemporary world, especially the African world and this sets the tone for male superiority over female in today’s society.
No doubt, African women face subordination and suppression due to patriarchy and cultural oppression. In the same vein, Walby also opines that patriarchy is a system of structures and practices, in which men dominate, exploit and oppress women. Based on Walby’s definition of patriarchy, men truly control the women both in political social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence.
Beauvoir Simon argues that in the patriarchal society, men perceive women as entirely different from men and so treat women differently and negatively from men. From the foregoing, there is no doubt on the fact that men dominate the highest economic, political industrial, financial, religious and social positions in every society today. This is why Gordon Taylor used the word “patrist” to describe attitudes. According to him the patrists are on the opinion that patriarchal system of authority is the original social organization where men must rule and control the women.
Looking at the feminist perspective, patriarchy refers to the structure of modern cultural and political systems which are ruled and controlled by men. According to feminists, such systems are said to be detrimental to the rights of women that has been noted over time and that patriarchal system of government does not favour the female folks. This structure of patriarchal power inflicts pain and trauma to the detriment of the women. This reason makes critics like Allan Durant and Nigel Fabb to say that, human species are biologically fixed, binary sex division between male and female, but superiority is imposed culturally on men in control of women (43). They further opined that this system of oppositions of gender is caused by the obnoxious cultural practices. The above discussed issues are seen in the writings of African female writers such as; cultural domination, patriarchal domination and gender discrimination.
The foregoing form the basic point to this study in investigating how Flora Nwapa’s One is Enough and Ata Ama Aidoo’s Anowa portrays the effects of patriarchy domination, gender inequalities, exploitation and ageless barbaric oppression of the so-called weaker sex in the society.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Patriarchy is the main challenge of feminists in society, therefore if it is eliminated, will facilitate the growth and development of women generally across the globe. In the same vein, Women have generally been discriminated against in terms of place in society and fundamental human rights in the history of man.
This is consequently the statement in the writings of Flora Nwapa and Ama Ata Aidoo on the issue of patriarchal domination, disillusionment, discrimination and suppression of African women. They write to eradicate the negative effects of African cultural societies from patriarchal nature having the men in charge of all affairs and while neglecting women’s rights.