Male Daughters Femals Husbands Essay

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Pages: 6

Male daughters, female husbands
Ifi Amadiume
Published by Zed Books Ltd in 1987

I chose the book Male daughters, female husbands by Ifi Amadiume. The reason I chose this book is because I have always been curious about the role of women in non western countries and why they were viewed as being subservient to men by their own as well as the western world. Ifi Amadiume, a Nigerian sociologist with a London University doctorate, conducted research in her own family area to study gender and sex in an African Society. Challenging the received orthodoxies of social anthropology, Ifi Amadiume argues that in precolonial society, sex and gender did not necessarily coincide. In the book she examines the structures that enable women to achieve
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Nnobi society was based on strict sexual dualism, whereby women’s economic and political organizations were separate from those of men. Through manipulation of gender concepts and flexible gender construction in language, the dual-sex barrier is broken down or mediated.
Ideology of gender guided the Igbo people, however it was possible for men and women to share attributes. The system of few linguistic distinctions between male and female gender also makes it possible for men and women to play some social roles in which, we ( the western world) carry rigid sex and gender association. The Igbo language in comparison with the English language, has not built up rigid associations between certain adjectives or attributes and gender subjects, nor certain objects and gender possessive pronouns. There is no usage of the word ‘man’ to represent both sexes, neither is there the option of saying ‘he or she’, ’him or her’ , or ‘his or her’. This of linguistic system of few gender distinctions makes it possible to conceptualize certain social roles as separate from sex and gender, hence the possibility for either sex to fill the role. This does not mean that there is no competition between the sexes, and situations in which a particular sex monopolize roles and positions. One example of a situation in which women played roles ideally occupied by men were ‘male daughters’ and ‘female husbands’; in either role, women acted as family head. The Igbo word for family