IBANGA, GRACE ITORO
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH,
OLABISI ONBANJO UNIVERSITY
FEMINISM AND POLITICAL RECONSTRUCTION: THE GYNOCENTRIC AESTHETICS IN JOHN CLARK’S THE WIVES’ REVOLT** AND BESSIE HEAD’S A QUESTION OF POWER By
Grace Itoro Ibanga
1.1 The Concept of Feminism
In African societies men are placed at the centre and everything seems to revolve round them. The patriarchal society is a system where the culture is so slanted that the female folks live in the shadow of the male. The men are always stationed at the forefront women constitute what Mary Daly (1978) describes as ‘a homogenous group of victims of male power.’ Women are subservient to male control and they are largely sexually oppressed. Feminism seeks in an insatiable manner to give a voice to women in a patriarchal dominated society which they find themselves. It explores women as an already constituted and coherent group with identical interests, desires, problems and needs, regardless of class, ethnic or racial location. The conceptualization of its construction by the larger part of feminists has always been the rejection of any form of social or personal or economic discrimination, which women suffer because of their sex. Thus feminism which is the dominant and most widely acceptable mode of female rejection of male- oppression and violence among the female folks, has always served as a major agency for women’s fair and decent welfare foundation, all over the world. It is an accessory to social, psychological and physical structure for women because its superstructure indicates the need to pursue their vocations side by side with patriarchal counterpart without opposition. It is the domain to solicit for the myth of sisterhood as rightly observes by Grace Ibanga (2005) that women derive the pleasure of caring for their co-wives and step-children, most especially during sickness and child delivery (115). This symbolizes the cult of female strength, oneness and unity in the propagation of female continuous resistance against suppression and oppression in patriarchal dominated societies. Feminism conceptualizes women both as a self “real historical being and subject, “a fictional construct” (see Miller, 1988, de Lauretics, 1986). It is the study of Literature that often broadens how the ‘self’ that women seek metamorphoses into the “subject”. It furthermore, addresses the subjugation of the female sexually as a core aspect of gender connected with a sex-life and the method(s) through which the person’s sexual desires are sources of female oppression. However it is an established fact that the issue of man’s progeny and continuity as established in family institutions, occur through heterosexual unions within and outside marriage institutions. So feminists, most especially African feminists ( which practice and belief in heterosexual relationship) are advocating that since female sexuality are depicted as agency for men’s sexual pleasure and source of sexual violence or anger against their folks, that the newly evolved / emancipated woman can always do without it after all. Feminism and Political Reconstruction:
Women have been given minority status throughout history and even after the grudging extension of certain minimal rights of citizenship; it is an understatement to assume that women, whether black or white, have had any sizeable representations now in government than they ever did. The question one is likely to ask at this point is why is it never acknowledge or discussed that this arrangement of male dominance and control of the society is so obvious even in modern times where women scholarship and achievements have been widely acknowledge? The reason is that such discussion is regarded as dangerous and in the extreme; and again, a culture does not discuss its most basic assumptions and most cherished bigotries. A closer look at the society portrays that every avenue of power in the society...