Despite that range, it is possible to discuss some common threads, beginning with Africa as a predominantly agricultural continent where between 65 and 80 percent of African women are engaged in cultivating food for their families. The centrality of agriculture influences the control of land and of labor by kin groups and clans, usually represented by male political and religious leadership. Africa had a high incidence of matrilineal descent, a social system that placed a woman and her female relations at the center of kinship and family, though male clan leaders influenced the arrangement of families through marriage.
Yoruba, Maasai, Igbo Intro: The case studies presented herein give insight to how the shifts of power in colonial rule gave rise to deep social changes, including the meaning of gender roles and their relative behaviors. The invasive, western model shapes power around gender and sex systems Matory In both the Maasai and Igbo societies gender roles were based around interaction with natural resources such as crops and livestock products HodgsonI, II, Korieh, We intend to explain how by replacing gender systems that had logical bearing within traditional societies, colonialism caused the female role to become defined by its opposition to the male role rather than by natural resources or lineage.
The case studies will highlight how the imposed colonial gender roles did not give women a sphere of their own; therefore they become defined as a second sex, without the means to access power.
Sex is the biological difference in maleness or femaleness while gender is a socially and culturally-constructed and maintained set of ideals and standards, that are performed to define the status of maleness or femaleness.
However, she also refutes the fact of sex as well due to their need to be distinguished on the falsely gendered terms of male and female.
Therefore Butler has theorized that both sex and gender are constructed and therefore characteristics of bodies are not able to be classified by the cultural binary as it exists. Power and autonomy is a sense of volition and influence over the relationships and behaviors of the persons in a system.
If the system is simply the self, self-determination and the ability to promote decisive changes are characteristics of power.
In addition, a gender, or group of people whose importance, usefulness, or even existence is dependent on the presence of another sex or group of people, is a population without autonomy or power.
These people would not have power, just as Simone de Beauvoir describes the second sex as not having power, since a place or other person defines them.
This means there is no inherent reason or purpose for the second sex without the presence of another. The Yoruba case is a clear depiction of a society where power relations were traced through their age-grading culture. The Yoruba people are located mainly in southern Nigeria.
Until missionaries and colonialism influenced the area, most of the Yoruba were genderless beings. Instead of having a culture that was divided through gender expectations and hierarchies, the Yoruba people used seniority as an organizing system.
The newcomer, as the person would be referred to, would be ranked below all the members of the family she married in to. Although it seems like this person is now stuck on the bottom of an immovable power hierarchy, this was not the case. The newcomer has the ability to move throughout the power system by having children.
This system not only allowed for people to fill many different roles compared to western society in which people may only fill the roles allowed to their gender but it also allows for all people to have access to power in all spheres.
The Maasai of Tanzania is a case that provides a clear depiction of a pastoral society, subsisting traditionally on nomadic livestock. This way of relating to the environment seemed to express very subtle yet impactful differences in gender ideology found in the social dynamics of the culture.
These cattle would be paid to the father and the mother of the bride as well as in some instances with partitions paid to the bride herself Hodgson I, Wangui, Daughters therefore pose an important sense of wealth themselves to families due to their marriageable quality with which to acquire bridewealth for their family.
Property dynamics were largely regulated through meaningful exchanges at birth, naming ceremonies, circumcisions of males and females, marriage, status changes associated with age-grade, and peace-making ceremonies.
Cattle possession and the success and proliferation of cattle lead to power by whomever was the owner- the overseer of this process being men. Pre-colonial Igbo The Igbo people of Nigeria provide detailed accounts of agrarian subsistence methods and how their culture is regulated by such a lifestyle.
The underlying powers of the female deity Idemili Amadiume,as discussed in the Igbo case, provides a backbone to the realized belief that women have characteristic powers of industriousness as well as strong powers which maintain family structure in essential and sustaining ways. Igbo agrarian societies have traditionally followed careful gender divisions of crops such as the male yam and female cassava plants.
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Power is won within gender groups by attaining success in fruition of crops for subsistence as well as crops for trade and cash markets. These crops become the crux of social developments as the gender paradigms become reliant on the relative success of their agricultural efforts Amadiume, Land was inherited patrilineally, therefore communal developments relied on these male foundations, and individual developments of wives and offspring would be influenced by their underlying possession by men as their husbands and fathers.The Roles of Men and Women in a Society There is a complexity in understanding the role of men and women in a society.
Scientists and biologists are challenging themselves to explain the mental and behavioral processes of genders.
Because women are seen as the other, or the gendered person (Beauvoir ), the male role took over what had been non-gendered roles, leaving these newfound “women” on the outside of society and without a role that would allow them access power.
Many women in eastern African cities produce and sell beer. Gender Roles and Islam. In the largely Muslim countries of Africa, attitudes toward gender roles and sexuality have been shaped by Islam and Arab cultural traditions. In traditional Arab societies, men and women have different privileges and women are subordinate to men.
However, in traditional West African culture, power actually lies in the dynamic differences between the roles of men and women. It is within these unique characteristics that are distinctively male or female that the power emerges.
In common with most under-developed areas of the world, women in African societies are, to varying degrees, limited by their gender.
It is appropriate to generalize about patriarchal cultures and social barriers to women, who usually live as homemakers, child-bearers and wives. MEN'S HEALTH. The survival rate has been declining for Black men, while the rate for Black females and all White groups has been extended.
According to a Michigan study, "African American Male Initiative," the percentage of men expected to live until age 65 fell from 6l% in to 58% in (Bauza, ).