PATRIARCHY AS A HINDERANCE TO FEMINIST EQUALITY IN A TYPICAL AFRICAN SOCIETY USING EFFIONG JOHNSON’S INSTALL THE PRINCESS
1.0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
All through the years and for several millennia, from the Stone Age to the Modern age – the struggle for dominance and superiority between the two know (female and the male gender) has never abated. Patriarchy – adjudged and described by feminist as the conscious minimization and subjugation of the women folks, deploying ideologies, cultural and metaphysic and even religions of all kinds western Christianity, Islamism, Buddhism and African Traditionalism have spoken with one voice in favour of a male dominated world. Ever since, especially through the emergence of democracy, the struggle by women to negotiate their voice into main steam of participation in cultural, economic, social, vocational, and even political aspect of the society has been a permanent feature in the world’s development. As such, feminine dislocation has become a discourse in our current post-colonial society. Head opines that: The ancestors made so many errors and one of the most bitter-making things was that they relegated to men a superior position in the tribe, while women were regarded, in a congenital sense, as being an inferior form of human life. To this day, women still suffer from all the calamities that befall an inferior form of life (92).
Women all over the world, particularly in Africa have been relegated to the lowest position in the social system through oppression and subjugation which are mostly cultural based. Women constitute about half of the population of the African society and are known to play vital roles as mothers, producers, managers and so on. Their contribution to the social and economic development of the African race is also more than half as compared to that of men by virtue of their dual roles in the production and reproductive spheres. Yet their participation in formal and informal structures and processes, where decisions regarding the use of societal resources generated by both men and women are made, remains insignificant. A major feature of the African society is the practice of Patriarchy; which Aina defined as “a structure of a set of social of relations with material base which enables men to dominate women (1). Stacey adds that “it is a system of social stratification and differentiation on the basis of sex, which provides material advantages to males while simultaneously placing serve constraints on the roles and activities of females “(3).
A patriarchal society sets the parameters for women’s structural unequal positions in families and markets by condoning gender – differential terms in inheritance rights and legal adulthood, by tacitly condoning domestic and sexual violence and sanctioning differential wages for equal or comparable work salaam stresses further thus: Tradition, culture and religion have dictated men and women relationship for centuries and entrenched male domination into the structure of social organization and institution at all levels of leadership…justifies the marginalization of women in education, economy, labour market, politics, business, family, domestic matters and inheritance (5-6).
This position of women in society in relation to men and the subordination, oppression and marginalization of women has attracted the attention of scholars, activists, feminists and development workers for a very long time. Thus, dramatists, utizing a variety of subject matters had dived into gender and women issues as a strong subject matter for dramatic creation from tune immemorial. Hence, this work uses Effiong Johnson’s install the princess to present the problems confronting women of the contemporary African society on gender issues.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Patriarchy has been a source of debate in the African society, because the male gender outrightly seeks to control the female gender. By this, distinct characteristics and social roles, which apart from having negative gender relations, has reduced the development of the women folk in our contemporary society within the framework of their traditional functions as wives and mothers while the men are celebrated for valor and tenacity.