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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sexuality, fertility and male power
Author:Mager, AnneISNI
Periodical:Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:sexual offences
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10130950.1996.9675494
Abstract:In the decade following the Second World War, more and more African women were relegated to objects of sexual gratification. Broken marriages, seduction of young girls, battered wives and run-away spouses were recorded in the Eastern Cape courts, South Africa, in the 1950s. The court documents tell of men who absconded, abandoned their wives and neglected their children. This article explains this instability in marriage and violence in sexual relations. Arguing that it is not enough to put sexual violence down to migrant labour and influx control regulations, the author situates marriage and sexuality within 'gender relations of power', themselves set in a context of wider social and economic processes. She starts with a description of how in the Eastern Cape society, no less than in other societies, appropriate behaviours and meanings for males and females were socially attributed. Then she discusses the role of biology in the regulation of the status of women, marriage power relations, 'lobola' payments, and the role of mistresses and male consorts. Finally, she examines the role of sexual violence in relations between husbands/men and wives/women. The conclusion is that, while systems of meaning continued to centre on the traditional place of women in society in the 1950s, experience and individual attitudes often bore all the marks of a changing social order. Bibliogr., ref.