Ama Ata Aidoo’s The Girl Who Can and Other Stories: Creating Political Space for Women in Social and National Domains
AbstractThis paper focuses on the creation of political space for women in social and national domains in Ama Ata Aidoo’s collection of short stories, The Girl Who Can and Other Stories, with particular reference to “Heavy Moments;” “She–Who–Would–Be-King” and the title story, “The Girl Who Can.” That is because Aidoo believes that the improvement of the condition of women’s lives should not be separated from their contribution to nation–building through alternative roles other than those of marriage, hitherto, prescribed for them by the society. It might be natural that man and woman should copulate to bear children. However, most of the rest of the ordering of the society is man–made or artificial. Gender hierarchy, marriage, womanhood, female inferiority and the arrogance of male superiority are all socio-cultural constructs. That is why feminists like Ama Ata Aidoo and the rest strive to create political space for women in nation–building in fiction so that other women can emulate such successful female characters in everyday life. In the following short stories in this collection, Aidoo breaks down complacencies and reveals that most of those myths which tend to inhibit woman are all social constructs and can be reversed. Aidoo seems to input that if women could be so self-effacing, other-oriented and generous as to produce such achievers and rivals to men in their, hitherto, exclusive domains of life’s endeavour, then they should all be allowed to participate as collaborators in the development of Africa in alternative economic and political roles and in the enjoyment of the fruits of their labour and the natural resources of their African continent.
LWATI: A Journal of Contemporary Research, 8(3), 149-168, 2011