RE-DEFINING THE IMAGE OF NIGERIAN WOMAN IN ZAINAB ALKALI’S THE DESCENDANTS
1.1 Background to the study
Womanhood (feminity) is not just an expression but a reality; a woman is created by Almighty Allah just as a man is; she is subject to the commands of Allah and his Prophets in the same ways as a man is. Almighty Allah declared to Adam that: “O Adam, dwell, you and your (wife) in paradise and eat there from … (Surah 2 al Baqarah).”
It means, therefore, that women have originally been made as (mates) for men as opposed to slaves or chattels. A woman is a help mate to the man for her position is not that of an underling in the family but a participating member upon whose shoulder rests equal responsibilities as the man bears.
In years gone by, some ancient civilizations used to be of the misconceptions that women were vessels to be used and dumped at will; that a woman’s place was defined solely by her ability to keep the house, bear children and bend to her husband. 11
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is no gain saying the fact that women have been degraded to the position of inferior creatures to men. A woman’s voice is not given as much consideration as it should be; the personality of a woman is almost always taken for granted. In most situations, a woman is evaluated by her child-bearing status and/or her skills; she is not considered by being worthy of being assigned any communal or national responsibilities.
However, secularization trend and psychic mobility have promoted women (and even men) to redefine their image. Women have begun to adopt the attitudes that are changing their roles in their homes and the larger society. Communication technology has made it possible for women to imagine, see, hear or read about the activities of women in other nations. This has made women in Nigeria to sit up and re-awaken their sense of self-worth.
Women in Nigeria have come to the realization that they are no longer subservient to the men folk; they are now aware that, as creations of Almighty Allah, they also hold a pride of place as an integrate part of society.
In a general sense, women in Nigeria are now redefining their image in such a positive way that the men folk are taking notice. (Re-Defining the Image of Nigerian Woman in Zainab Alkali’s the Descendants).