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  COMM 5790: IDENTITY,CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY  FILM, FEMINISM AND CULTURE:EXAMINING THE REALITIES OFWIDOWHOOD IN NIGERIA ASSESSMENT 2: RESEARCH ESSAY STUDENT ID: 200991135 WORD COUNT: 6,42MODULE LEADER: DR! TRACEY MOLLET "ANUARY, 2016  COMM 5790: RESEARCH ESSAY200991135 FILM, FEMINISM AND CULTURE: EXAMINING THE REALITIES OF WIDOWHOOD IN NIGERIA INTRODUCTION The public outburst of female activists against the unfair treatment of women and disturbing patterns of gender inequality has certainly come of age. Feminist movements across the globesprang up out of a strong desire to resist various forms of socio-cultural, political, economicand intellectual marginalization perpetuated by male dominated societies. Kaplan (!!!" #$stresses that %women in different nations have periodically over the centuries resisted their silencing in patriarchal cultures.& 'omen in igeria have not been left out in this struggle.)cholars li*e Fwangyil (!##$ will argue that the peculiar needs of igerian and +fricanwomen in general have not really been articulated and accommodated in larger westernfeminist ideologies and movements. +ccording to Fwangyil (!##"$, there are uniqueaspects of +frican feminism that ma*es it totally different from what is obtainable in westernnations such as the nited )tates and this can be largely attributed to peculiarities intraditions, norms and beliefs. n this light, Ferree and Tripp (!!/"#$ corroborates that%feminism in the twenty-first century has unmista*ably global dimensions and is also ever less obviously one, single movement. 0iversity and differences, not only in race and class butalso in national culture and policy, shape the interests that women define as their own.& 1asedon this premise,  will argue that it will be out of conte2t to detach culture, traditions and beliefs from the discourse of feminism in igeria and +frica. The patriarchal nature of the igerian society draws its strength from culture (what already e2ists in the society$. 3ence,the e2periences of igerian women in the domestic and public sphere can be traceable tocertain cultural practices (traditions$ and how they are normalized in society. The igerian movie industry has no doubt been instrumental in the fight against gender inequality, violence against women and other forms of oppression. Kaplan e2plains that filmis a relevant tool for feminist practice, 4since creating art or entertainment with feminist perspectives5 may help to change how men and society treat women within specific cultures.%66in so doing, feminist film study may change cultural attitudes towards women, and maydeepen our understanding of meanings women have born in patriarchal cultures.& (!!!"$. will add that film as a feminist tool also creates a window whereby larger societies canidentify with the challenges and plights of women in a particular culture, thereby e2pandingthe scope of feminism. 1 # Pa g e  COMM 5790: RESEARCH ESSAY200991135 Furthermore, feminists5 interpretation and analysis of media te2ts including movies have been borne out of the desire to comprehend %how images and cultural constructions& are related to pervasive forms of oppression, inequality and domination (7ill !!8"9$. t is based on thisthat this essay attempts to demonstrate the intersection between culture, feminism andidentity through the analysis of a igerian movie titled T3: '0;'. The essay alsoattempts to e2amine some of these conundrums" 3ow powerful are cultural constructions of gender and identity< 'hat is the source of gender inequality and sub=ugation of widows inthe igerian conte2t< s it men that render women helpless or culture< +re the e2periences of  igerian women (especially widows$ well represented in global feminist discourse< >anwestern feminist approaches adequately incorporate the e2periences of women in developingand culture-bound countries li*e igeria< LITERATURE REVIEW The Concept of Femn!m Feminism is a broad concept that could be deconstructed and interpreted differently as itrelates to class, race, gender, culture and even a particular geographical conte2t. 7ill (!!8"$ e2plains that the term feminism can be lin*ed to concerns about the dynamics of gender inequality and in=ustice among surrounding patterns of societal oppression related to class,ethnicity, age, social status, se2uality health status and disability. ?c?anus (#@@8$ describesfeminism as %a modern movement to promote the full equality of women with men and thehigh valuation of women as human beings.& This definition of ?c?anus indirectly lashes onstructures of society that situate women as second class citizens. 3ence, one can adduce thatthe ma=or focus of feminism as an ideology is right placement of women in society. gube(!!A$ writes"6'hile feminism ta*es many forms and cannot be characterized in anyseamless way, it nonetheless encompasses the struggles of women to securetheir economic and political agency...feminism is typically associated with particular historical moments when a coalition of women succeeds in bringingissues of gender equality, se2ual oppression, and se2 discrimination into the public arena. 3owever, feminism has been defined as advocacy for socialequality for men and women. Feminism is generally opposed to patriarchy andse2. Feminist ideology contends against the sub=ugation and oppression of women. (#A$Feminism as an ideology therefore pays attention to the struggle for =ustice as it relates to theeconomic, social, legal, political and educational marginalization of women in society 2 # Pa g e  COMM 5790: RESEARCH ESSAY200991135 (:zegbo #@@/"/, +dadevoh, !!#, wuchu*wu !!/" #8$.  will argue here that this struggleis for an advantaged position in society where no gender will be favoured over another.Feminism therefore strives to protect interests and e2amine conditions of women in society.The issue of equality is central in concept of feminism as it has been argued by manyfeminists that all human beings are born equal irrespective of their gender. 3ughes (!!" BB$categorizes feminist campaigns for equality into three forms. First is the campaign for menand women to be seen as equal natures. )econd, is for women to be given treatment with menand lastly is for equal performance and reward.  will argue that this concept of equality andwhat constitutes it can differ from one cultural conte2t to another as broader culturalimplications of inequality and oppression are considered more important in specific cultures.n other words, the emphasis of the campaign for equality for some women might be on howwomen can be better treated in the domestic sphere (family$ and the priority for other movements (campaigns$ might be equal pay and fair treatment in the wor* place. For instance in igeria, women may be more concerned about the maltreatment of wives by in-laws and traditional marginalization in particular cultures. Fo"m! of Femn!m #n$ #"%&ment! )everal boo*s, articles and scholarly wor*s have tried to identify forms of feminism since themovement was brought into light in the #@/!s. 7ill (!!8"/$ highlights three approaches tofeminism namely liberal feminism, socialist feminism and radical feminism. The cru2 of theliberal approach to feminism dwells mainly on the desire of women to cross over from thedomestic sphere to public domain in terms of occupying respectable positions =ust as their male counterparts in society. The popular saying that 4what a man can do, a woman can do better5 will be appropriate in this conte2t. +ccording to 7ill %liberal feminists regardedwomen5s lives as distorted by gender stereotyping and by restrictive roles which needed to becombated by legislation and programmes and initiatives to help women catch up and moveinto domains previously dominated by men&. n fact 'ably (#@@!"A$ argues that liberalfeminists are more concerned about the totality of how women are deprived in society. Thisshe describes as the %summation of numerous small scale deprivations.& 3ence, liberalfeminists do not regard gender as a social structure. 'hile scholars do not deny the fact that there have been significant progress in the number of women occupying top positions in society and the number of legislations that have been passed to support women, there are still disparities among men and women that are yet to be 3 # Pa g e  COMM 5790: RESEARCH ESSAY200991135 resolved such as the issue of equal pay. 3ughes (!!" BB$ e2plains that %6..some of theachievements of feminism have been in terms of accessing the public realms of social life.There are more women in the 1ritish Carliament and more women in managerial positions inorganizations. n terms of legislative change, it is almost four decades ago that the :qual payact was passed. 0espite these changes, parity with men in all of these arenas is yet to beachieved. +nd, internationally, it should be remembered that such legislation is not a global phenomenon.& 3ughes argument only reinforces the current trend in society today as the battle for equal pay and the openness in salary administration is still on in countries li*e thenited Kingdom (Dheingold, !!#$.  will therefore argue that issues li*e this will stillcontinue to persist because there is no universal approach to tac*le them as they are peculiar to certain countries in the world. 1y contrast however, radical feminists are more concerned about how women can ta*econtrol of their bodies. 7ill in her boo* Gender and the Media  opines that because of thereproductive capacities of women, %women5s power, women5s culture and women5s pleasureare regarded as having been systematically controlled and dominated by men, operatingthrough patriarchal institutions.&(!!8"/$ 7ill5s argument harps on the relationship betweense2ual relations (se2uality$ and power. The focus here is se2uality as a source of maledomination. t is important to stress here that difference in se2ual composition of genders iscentral to women5s oppression.The postulations of radical feminists and liberal feminists were however re=ected by socialfeminists on the account of what 7ill (!!8$ describes as the 4essentialism of radicalfeminism and the superficiality of liberal feminism, and instead made lin*s between the class based forms of capitalist societies and women5s subordination.5 3ence, social feminists weremore concerned about how class and material conditions create oppressive structures insocieties (?c?anus, #@@8$.  will argue that as long as class and social status still e2ist insociety these oppressive structures that place women in disadvantaged positions might not beeasily subdued. evertheless, these three forms of feminism could no longer be sustained as a holisticaccount of feminism by the late #@9!s. Feminism in this era came under the attac* of blac* feminists for what they described as the 4whiteness5 of feminist ideologies at that time.3ence, feminist wor* over the years has needed to restructure itself by practically 4engaging 4 # Pa g e
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