Women Subjugating Women: Re-Reading Mariama Bâ's So Long a Letter and Scarlet Song

Mutunda, Sylvester
January 2007
Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies;Winter/Spring2007, Vol. 33 Issue 2/3, p90
Academic Journal
Mainstream feminist scholarship attributes the dominance of patriarchal ideology in African society to the activities of men, while regarding women as innocent victims of patriarchal authority. However a close reading of texts by some African women writers like Mariama Bâ, provides a critique of this standpoint, and examines the direct and indirect roles played by some women in the sustenance and perpetuation of patriarchal oppression. The focus is on elderly women who, often times, are so ignorant, selfish and manipulative that they make life hard for other women. Thus, this study differs from conventional feminist research, which generally emphasizes 'male-female' relations of oppression as an ideal way of understanding male dominance and female subordination.' It focuses on female-female' relations mediated by age, generation, education, exposure, and experience, in order to understand the complexities of patriarchal oppression and to contribute to the debate on the nature of patriarchy and its role in the oppression of women in African societies. This paper suggests that women should join hands and use the power available to them if they are to overcome the challenges they all face.


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