Friday, April 22, 2016

Thoughts on the article "Sister Outsider" on Nigerian feminism

Sister Outsider

Yemisi Aribisala rails against the new fundamentalism cresting the wave of global feminism sweeping Nigeria. She challenges the gender imperialism implicit in its aspiration to uniform ideas of celebrity, power, erudition and beauty.

I have, for a while, sensed the danger that in a globalised world, a few simplistically-articulated norms will be imposed on a wide array of people via the mass media. And that this can be so powerful that it colours what one can observe in one's own local environment. 

Yemisi Aribisala's piece attempts to re-localise the phenomenon of feminism...which is something that appeals to me. That is, bring the discussion back from the meaningless height at which the likes of Adichie jump on the bandwagon...down to a far more appropriate altitude for a topic that is, after all, cultural in nature!

The truth is that the drivers of the popular feminism movement (Europeans) have a specific historical backdrop that they are trying to redress e.g. in a relatively recent England, a man's wife was effectively his property and huge restrictions existed on aspects of life that women could engage in. In Yorubaland, I see not a discriminatory historical backdrop but one of gender roles (I recognise the types of Yoruba women mentioned in the article). One would be hard-pressed to find evidence of widespread or institutionalised gender discrimination amongst the Yoruba or ancient Egyptians for example.

In short, the article is a phenomenal piece - a logically yet passionately argued position oozing with freedom.  An eminently fuckable piece.  Recommended reading!

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