Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Anatomy of female power.. By Chinweizu

This is a controversial and provocative work; it is also a scholarly and intellectual contribution. The author apparently believes that women run the gauntlet of controlling and manipulating men. A plethora of eclectic references and allusions and comments are cleverly served up to convince us of the overt and covert powers of the fairer sex. Reality, sleight of hand, or 'bunkum' so to speak? Perhaps it depends on the reader, the race, society, class etc. As an African, I'd be reluctant to believe women are as powerful as this - the facts show that even in modern times most women are not only suppressed or oppressed in the continent but are actually cruelly treated, viciously raped, kidnapped, abused, especially in war-torn areas and in many rural communities. Polygamy is fairly common in Africa too, with many educated women finding themselves part of the harem of rich, powerful, and or even average men. Would one describe such women as having unbridled powers over their men; or that they are enjoying the situation they find themselves in? Or perhaps the author has western women and their ilk in mind; liberated women wearing the trousers at home? If only it were that simple - we tend to forget that even in the "civilized" world women were certainly at least second class citizens until comparatively very recently in world history. Africans perhaps who might doubt this can examine the themes of just two classics of literature in the western world. In The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy) a western man actually sells his own wife! Also consider The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte) where what seems simple now – a western woman "closing the door" on, and leaving a most debased, shocking husband was regarded as a revolutionary deed at the time! So yes, it has not been all roses for women, even if one concedes in our modern world that ladies are (in theory at least) every inch "equal" to men. The author here takes intellectual pains in explaining, delineating types of men and women, and how some women even gloat about their power over men! One suspects that all this is exaggerated and despite the physical attractions and allure of women, men cannot be such least on a permanent level. But this is not to deny that women can be very powerful in their own way too; many men have fallen by the wayside because of the opposite sex, but it runs both ways. These days brazen, shameless female prostitution is multiplying in our societies, and can this by any stretch of the imagination be depicted as women manipulating or using men? Or are women victims; to a large extent hapless? On the whole, this work is intellectually intriguing and satisfying, a brilliant extended essay. But one has doubts about the conclusions the author apparently draws
- Malome

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