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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Black Woman and the Problem of Gender: An African Perspective
Author:Mazrui, Ali A.ISNI
Year:1993
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Volume:24
Issue:1
Period:Spring
Pages:87-104
Language:English
Geographic terms:Africa
Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:gender relations
women
gender
literature
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3820201
Abstract:The author distinguishes three levels of sexism in the world: benevolent, benign and malignant. Benevolent sexism is defined as a form of discrimination which is protective or generous towards the otherwise underprivileged gender. As African forms of benevolent sexism he discusses matrilineal descent, bridewealth and the warrior tradition. Benign sexism acknowledges gender differences without bestowing sexual advantages or inflicting a gender cost. As examples of this harmless form of sexism the author discusses the culture of naming babies and gender-specific hair styles. The malignant version of sexism subjects women to economic manipulation, sexual exploitation, and political marginalization. In this context, the author discusses polygamy and female circumcision. The most fundamental aspects of malignant sexism concern differences in economic and political power between men and women. With regard to solving the problem of gender inequity, there are three interrelated tasks concerning the destiny of womanhood: liberating women, centring women and empowering women. The article is followed by a comment by Molara Ogundipe-Leslie (p.105-112), who sees three decades of work by the women's movements hampered by Mazrui's article.
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