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Second Class Citizen Presentation Body

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Treatment of women (britain vs nigeria) a. Birth of Children
From the start, girls were seen as obsolete other than their task at the production of children. The birth of a girl was considered a disappointment and the birth of a son was worth the value of many children while as a girl was only another mouth to feed with no prosper. In comparison, the UK had a much different view, where they did not view one gender as shameful, and children were not as much viewed as an expected duty but a choice.
The birth of girls was so disregarded that the story is introduced by Adah saying she was uncertain of her exact age and date of birth because it was not bothered to be recorded due to the lack of meaning her birth had.
Adah had spoken with a nurse in the UK and when speaking of her daughter in the value her culture considered her the nurse replied with
“Only a girl, what do you mean ‘only a girl?’ She is a person, too, you know, just like your son”
Indicating that the views of women in England were a bit more valuable and had more equal rights than those in Nigeria.
Adah was unaware of the cultural difference and expectations in childbirth and raising until she reached the UK. In England, children were born out of love and choice and showed their children off with pride and joy in the hospital. Mothers were treated with respect and care, and were expected to rest prior to their birth and after their delivery. The husbands and family members aided to their wives needs including taking their clothing home to be washed, regular visits, bringing flowers and presents and new nightgowns so they looked and felt comfortable. “There must be something special about this man because he came to see his wife at any time during the day” (113)
Adah was not treated as so and spent her time in the hospital alone when an emergency c­section was needed for her son BuBu. She was not brought anything, and the times her husband had come to see her was five minutes before closing. In Nigeria she had gone to work 12 days after having her son Vicky, because maternity leave was not an available option.
Delivery in Nigeria was all about gritting your teeth and dealing with the pain. She was told that screaming was for the weak, and wasting your time doing so gave you less energy to deliver your baby. Indicating any form of self coping was selfish and pointless
In the UK, women were given a gas and drugs to help deal with their pain with the assistance of midwives during times of difficult delivery. This was so foreign to Adah she had assumed that this gas was to bring you to your death.
Birth control was not an option in Nigeria. The best option that was available was to breastfeed your child for as long as possible, often to the age of three. You did not have the option to say no, because it was considered your duty as a wife to be available for sex whenever demanded despite your current mood.
In the United Kingdom, birth control was available in a few options and locations but through the signature granting permission by your husband.

b) Gendered Stereotypes
The stereotypical expectations of women in Adah’s world was that they should wait on their husbands hand and foot, provide children most preferably sons, up keep the home and cooking as well as being readily available for sex at any given time.
Experiences with Adah’s mother had given her such a low opinion of her own sex, due to the general outlook of women in Nigeria. Men were solid and safe, and your self worth only improved once you had a husband. “Women became a Queen from men” (14)
Women were to be paired with a husband who would be willing and could afford their bride price. Due to Adah’s education and that she had maintained her virginity for a longer period of time her price could only be afforded generally by older men. Nigerian women had no rights or entitled to an opinion in their living circumstances, how their children were raised, or how they were treated.
“No man liked his freedom curtailed, particularly by a woman, his woman” (64)
Men were superior and were entitled to an education, and the sources of income. All decisions were to be discussed and decided through the husband and his family.
“Hated being treated like a native woman who was not supposed to know important happenings in her family until they have been well discussed and analysed by the men folk”
(69). Men were allowed to sleep around, it was considered a way to give a woman a break from pregnancy.
The general thoughts of women in the UK was that they were individuals and could have jobs but were still expected and accepted to be housewives. Women had a say in how they raised their children and elements to their household. The husbands were still considered the breadwinners, and had more general rights than women at the time, though showed respect and appreciation for their wives. Romantic relationships were considered and valued to be monogamous as well as marrying for the idea of love and companionship. Employment and education (nigeria vs UK) a) Type of job a woman could get
In Nigeria it was believed that the savior of disease and poverty was education.
Adah’s mother was a seamstress, that was what was considered an acceptable job for a woman. They thought that as long as she could write her name and count, then she was ready to leave school and learn to sew. Once in England Francis was pressing Adah to work in a shirt factory despite her schooling and training to be in a library. When Adah had become pregnant with their third child she was in fear she could lose her job for being pregnant, so she needed to pass the medical examination with a written due date saying her baby was later than its actual date.
“A great mistake to bring an educated girl to London and let her mix with middle class
English women, she would soon learn her rights.”
Women in United Kingdom attended school when younger as a necessity and it was not gender biased, though few women seemed too continue onto post secondary. It was

common they worked to blue collar jobs that required less skill and education, if not being home care providers for their children and others. Family Life
a) Women’s Role
She felt she had rushed into marriage, but she needed a home and England had made it difficult for single girls to come to the UK (40). From this choice she had become a piece of her husband’s property. Her duties had become to sponsor Francis in his schooling, paying for the rent and food, sending money to help further his several sisters education back in
Nigeria, while supporting all of her children. Though despite that in this situation Adah was the source of income, Francis would still organize the money and give Adah an allowance on how much she could spend in the house, generally leaving no room for extras.
“She just had to be there, bearing his children, working for him, taking his beatings, listening to his sermons” (106)
Her role was primarily to raise her children, which involved no support from Francis. Francis had agreed to look after children, with the condition of ‘temporarily’.
“I cant go on looking after your children for you” (45)
If your children were good then they would have taken after their Father, though if they were bad they were said to have taken after their Mother. As Adah’s life progressed more in the UK and her relationship with Francis failed, Adah still maintained the responsibility of looking after the children and making ends meat for rent, food, herself and her children continuing to be without the support or presence of Francis.

b) Women’s Responsibilities
A woman’s responsibilities basically were wrapped around the idea of having children and tending to their needs, and this worked both ways in both Nigerian and British culture in some circumstances. In England there are two sets of mothers: Natal mother and Social Mother. As soon as a
Nigerian housewife in England realised she was expecting a child instead of knitting booties, and preparing for their upcoming birth etc. she would advertise for a foster mother. It was expected of Adah to send her children to a foster mother, this was supposed to better your children, by helping them with the English language and cover up bad habits they could pick up from Nigerian parents. This was supposed to be helpful to Nigerian women because it freed them up to work and be a wife. No one cared whether a woman was suitable or not or how clean her house was, all they wanted to know what that the foster mother was a white
“The concept of whiteness could cover a multitude of sins” (46). Nigerians were advised to send their children away, due to the lack of accommodation. First class citizens lived with their children, not the blacks.

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