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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'The one who first says I love you': same-sex love and female masculinity in postcolonial Ghana
Author:Dankwa, Serena OwusuaISNI
Periodical:Ghana Studies (ISSN 1536-5514)
Geographic term:Ghana
gender roles
Abstract:This article researches female same-sex intimacy in southern Ghana. The author uses in particular a subject, Janet, as an example of how lesbian women in Ghana see themselves and how others see them. The author follows her story and thus analyses the phenomenon of female masculinity: female born persons who understand themselves in masculine ways and engage and generate distinct modes of masculinity, on their own terms and in their own right. The term 'female masculinity' reaches further than the notion of lesbian identity, however. In addition, it is as culturally specific as the homo/heterosexual binarism. This essay argues that the antagonism between sex and gender, and in particular between the female body and masculine gender identifications, which so potently constitutes the term female masculinity, loses some of its power in the Ghanaian context. In southern Ghana there is no clear-cut homo/heterosexual binary nor a bourgeois lesbian-gay lifestyle. Historically, sexual discourse has been structured by norms of discretion and indirection. Historical prerogatives thart configure maleness/masculinity and femaleness/femininity in West Africa is explored in the article. Then, through Janet's life story, the paper focuses on embodiments and expressions of self that can be read as masculine by the Western world. The third part examines some of the binary oppositions along which some women reflect on their relationships, regardless of their physical gender presentation. These gendered and en-gendered binaries are examined here through African feminist concepts and categories of difference. Bibliogr., noters, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]