The End Of Male Dominance Essay

1639 words - 7 pages

Patriarchy is a form of social organization in which a male is the head of the family and has all the power to control and be a dominant individual. Male dominance is an ever present concept in society but women found a way to challenge this notion and overcome the hardships of male elitism. In “Nervous Conditions” by Tsitsi Dangarembga is focused on the colonized African clan called the Sigauke clan. The novel examines unequal power relations between men and women in the Sigauke clan which is largely steeped in tradition. The women in the story challenge the practices of male dominance; usually unsuccessful but each of these women make an effort to question some of decisions that were righteous of the patriarch. The women also break out of the role of domesticity and servility to the surprise of the men. “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin and “Things fall apart” by Chinua Achebe are very similar to the notion of woman challenging male elitism.
The narrator, Tambu is culturally restricted to roles that denied her opportunity to rise above domesticity. Tambu is trapped which is portrayed when her mother says, “and these days it’s worse, with the poverty of blackness on one side and the weight of womanhood on the other” (16). Tambu’s story traces her hardships from infancy; she has to cultivate the fields, fetch the water from Nyamarira river, look after her young siblings, and cook for the family. Many of these roles obstructed her chances of attending school, her brother, Nhamo, on the other hand is able to study. He is privileged to attend school despite the family having to eke out a living. The relationship between Tambu and Nhamo is reduced to that of the privileged and the non-privileged. Nhamo has all the opportunities because of his gender, while Tambu has to content with being groomed as a prospective bride. Nhamo tries all means to bring her down, as when he stole her maize and gave it to his friends, and to dominate over her as a male. Tambu, on the other hand grew to hate him, to the point that even when he passed away, she felt no sadness and remorse.
Miaguru is a very educated individual but feels a sense of entrapment because of male dominance. Miaguru has a master’s degree just like her husband; Babamakuru who is head of the clan starting from birth and has tremendous economic power. He is powerful and influential within his clan. Tambu, describes him thus, “he didn’t need to be bold anymore because he had made himself plenty of power. Plenty of money. A lot of education. Plenty of everything” (50). Tambu could not imagine Miaguru suffering because according to her she has everything: money, education, and decency. Miaguru finds out that to acquire a masters certificate is not enough because even when she is earning her own money, traditional Shona culture ensures that she cannot use it the way she wants without consulting Babamakuru. Miaguru is Tambu’s role model and is obedient and loyal to Babamakuru, until her depression...

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