Unsex me here: Gender roles and female activism

  • Etta Julius Ndifon


The older generation of female African writers has been content with merely presenting the plight of women in patriarchal or  phallocentric societies; presenting women characters who meekly reconcile themselves to the traditional burden of womanhood. The younger generation of female writers, however, is dissatisfied with characterization that portrays women as willing and docile sacrificial lambs on the altar of patriarchal values. This essay examines how Tsitsi Dangaremgba‟s characterization in Nervous  Conditions contrasts an old generation of docile housewives with a couple of adolescent girls who are determined to subvert the gender roles and stereotypes of the female sex. Dangaremgba‟s dominant technique of contrast, while highlighting the theme of patriarchal authority and repression, forcefully illustrates the different viewpoints and attitudes of these two generations of African women as well as the tensions that prevail between them.


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eISSN: 1813-2227