FEMINIST AESTHETICS IN OLA ROTIMI’S OUR HUSBAND HAS GONE MAD AGAIN AND FEMI OSOFISAN’S MOROUNTODUN
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Feminism as a literary theory is an ideology which tends towards female Liberace in the society. (Joseph 2003:99) describes feminism as an ideology of social commitment to the struggle for female libration in the society through conscious and collective effort. Feminism Raji (1999:228) says feminism a concerns itself with contemporary agitation by women for social economics, political and cultural equality with male counterparts”. Most feminists are especially concerned with social, political and economic inequality between men and women. First inaugurated in the sixties, feminist criticism proceeds from the assumption that “the history of all the societies is the history patriarch of male domination and exploitation of women, a situation which women clam has hundred the actualization of women’s possibilities aid potentials in all fields of human endeavour. Just as feminism clamed in murices, feminists behaves that literature represents a very strong infrastructural support of this patriarchal ideology Abram (1998;209) says:
Typically, the most highly regarded literary works on male protagonist to these, the female characters when they play a role are marginal end subordinate…………….and implicitly addressed to male readers either leave the women reader as an alien outsider or else solicit her to identify….and ways of perceiving.
Feminism like Marxism is concerned about societal inequalities. It is also a literary ideology founded on the need to develop a female tradition of creativity to cause awareness on the high of women as the oppressed, deprived, subjugated and unfulfilled gender. It is directed against patriarchal hegemony which according to Josephy (2003) “gives men confidence, subordination the female to male or treats the female as an inferior being: Marxism recognizes that women are oppressed, and attributes the oppresses to the capitalist/private property system. Thus, it insists that the only way to end the oppression of women is to overthrow the capitalism system (Christian, 1985). Marxism and feminism as schools of thought are different but they have a meeting point while Marxism deals with class stratification between the wealthy and the poor, feminism discussion gender discrimination between the oppressing male and oppressed female. The bottom line is that they are both fighting for the same cause which is liberation of the people from oppression, exploitation and domination. Feminism as an ideology later, pined a fertile ground in Africa in the 1960’s Obioma Nnaemeka (995) establishes the fundamental purpose of the discussion when she assets that:
Fermium provides the opportunity of evaluating attitudes and misconception about women which have buttressed all along both by African culture and the misogynous tradition of European colonial masters. Where are varieties of African feminism feminist writers like Acholonu behave that women should not be seen as objects to decorate the homes but they should be regarded as major contributors to the destiny of the nation without really affecting the roles as mothers and wives at home in her article titled “Buchi Emecheta” (1988) acholonu says:
Women should no longer be decorative accessories, objects to be moved about, and companions to be flattered or claimed with promises. They should see themselves as nation’s primary fundamental roots, from which all else grows and blossoms. Women must be encouraged to takes a keen interest in the destiny of the country. African feminist writers can be grouped in for the liberal and the radical Encydopeadia of feminist theory says liberal feminism “advocates equal rights for women”. The writers are gradient in their approaches to women emancipation as they portray the ability of their rural women of be at par with man in farming. Writers in these categories include flora Nwapa, Zaynab Alkali and the base most of their early works on rural protagonists who are created to realize their fund potentials as human beings and to contribute the special demine quota to the general improvement of the society. The radical feminist writer on the other hand approaches women’s literature from materialist perspective. It is an approach to feminist thinking and action which maintains that the sex gender system is the fundamental cause of women’s oppression. Writer in the category include Molara Ogundipa Leslie, Mariam Ba and Animata sowfall.
Radical and liberal as types of African feminism are different in their approach to writings. Radical feminists are harsh, militant and most forceful form of feminism. Radicalists believers that women are oppressed as a result of her sex/gender while liberal are slow and lenient in their writings in the sense that, they advocates equal rights for men.
The rebel against anything that subjugates or relegates women to the background. The radicalists relegated women to the background. The radicalists and the liberalists advocates joint efforts across gender in solving human problems, aid in developing a solid society, again, they behave in education as a weapon that women need to challenge patriarchy. On the whole the bottom line is that they are both fighting for the same cause which is the liberation of self expression, self fulfillment in a world that is male dominated. Talking about Zaynab Alkali’s the stubborn from the liberal perspective. Alkali compasses women’s need for economic independence but also the need for women to work with men to build a new society. Zaynab concerns in her works the plight of the rural woman, whose effort to satisfy the man is trivialized. The novel encloses and records the heartaches and disappointment of the women in the society the presents the values of virtue and self determination for self construction of women in a patriarchal society. She endows with trampy through her tough and indomitable determination. She becomes truly liberated from humiliation, betrayal, oppression and brutalization in the hands of Habu Adams. Li finds education as the key to her freedom from male subjugation and dehumanization and therefore puts the past behind and focuses on the future. Zaynab builds a vision of a better’s life based on economic independence, self sacrifice and solidarity between men and women. Also, we shall consider Marian Ba’s so long a letters from the radical perspective. Ba’s works treat issues of conflicts for survival in an oppressive society and freedom from subjugation. An example of this is Aissaton in so long letter who struggled to survive in African patriarchal society. Marian uses education as a weapon needed for the challenges of self determination. She creates two females friends Aissatou and Ramatoulaye who face matrimonial disappointments with their respective polygamous husbands. Aissation gets imbued with the near spirit of liberation gained through her education and intellect and refuses to accept any self made destroy to oppress her. Women are portrayed in this novel in different guises of check patriarchy. They are portrayed as friend’s enemies within to expose the effects of patriarchy on them and to put a cheek on it.
African male playwrights and other characters
African male playwrights have presented better myths and images of women in their writings writers include Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Olu Obafemi. Soyinka autobiographies inevitably presents strong women because that was how things were in reality as we are familiar with the history of Abeokuta woman as a strong force for women’s mobilization against oppression. These playwrights depict their female characters as being strong, resourceful and skillful against the mundane opinion of some writers who point to women as being second fiddle. They have presented myths and images of women in most of their works. We shall use Olu Obafemi wheals suicide syndrome and Ngug: Wa Thiong’o the Trial of Dedan Kumathi to show that they have presented more positive images of women consistently. Olu Obafemi suicide syndrome also created a positive role for women in his play. To him women have a dynamic role in the society and should not be seen as second class citizens. The market women in the play protest against the contemptible ways of the bourgeois class which claims there is austerity and declares emergency. Yeye Oja, the matriarchal head mobilizes her colleagues to fight against the ruling elite that keep them in object poverty. Also in his novel wheels, Obafemi recognizes the role which women are playing. This is conveyed through the characters of Abeke and Kemi, who both participate in their own individual significant ways in the task of nation building. Kemi is portrayed positively and given a very wholesome personality. She comes across as vivacious courageous, sensitive and highly motivated participating actively in the social transformation of her society and takes a catalytic part in the entire process. To this extent, Obafemi has recognized the potentials of the women to complement the efforts of the men to transform the society.
In the trial of Dedan Kimathi, the playwrights identify women as an integral part of the guariila movement. The role women play cannot be over emphasized Mugo and Ngugi see women in the evolutional struggle as an embodiment of unity, loyalty and faithfulness. The women in the trial of Dedan Kimath is see as the champion of the oppressed Kenyans. She mobilizes the youths, mainly the body and girl to free Kimathi, the imprisoned leader of man, man freedom fighters.
This study examiners the aesthetics of feminism in African drama through a critical study of Temi Osofisan’s Morountodun and Ola Rotimi’s our I thus bands have gone mad Again. The work focuses on conscientizing women to rise up to the challenges in the society with understanding of the roles they could play in their community to make the society a better place. It also focuses on how women have struggled side by side with their male counterparts, against the general injustice and oppression that the few privileged impose on the majority underprivileged.
The importance of women many given society can neither be underestimated nor can research on their past, present and future be exhausted. Osofisan recognized the role which women are capable of undertaking in revolutionary process. He has gone a long way to bring out the fact that women and their positions in the society are inevitable in societal development. He therefore does not leave out women in his call for revolutionary activities since he believes that everyone is to be involved in any successful revolution.
In this study, we shall adopt liberal feminism to our study. This is because liberalists recognize women as human beings and agitate for women equal opportunity, so that they can contribute their own quota to national development. On the whole, Osofisan is more of a liberal feminist than a radical feminist. The scope of the long essay covers four chapters. Chapter one is the general introduction which comprises the purpose, justification, and methodology. Chapter two will be literature review i.e the comments of some critics about the pre-occupation of Femi Osofisan’s Morountodun. Chapter three on themes, the personality of women, the role of women in the social political struggle, the contrastive study of male and female characters and the biography of another. Chapter four will be summary, finding and conclusion.
This research work will only cover aspect of feminism and areas related to it. It will be limited to the feminist concept in Femi Osofisan’s Morountodun Attension shall be focused on defining feminism as a ideology. With feminism, our scope is limited to include only works that focus on or raise issues relating to women, situations and events affecting them.