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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Oral narrative as ideological weapon for subordinating women: the case of Jimma Oromo
Author:Alemu, AbrehamISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:oral traditions
gender inequality
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13696810701485934
Abstract:It is a widely acknowledged fact that gender inequality is a sociocultural construct, deeply rooted in collectively shared beliefs, norms and practices that define the two sexes in terms of sets of metaphorically associated binary oppositions, dictating different and unequal roles, statuses, rights, responsibilities and restrictions, as well as rewards, to each. Generally, gender categories are arranged categorically; men and the masculine attributes are positively valued, while women are considerably less valued. In oral societies like the Jimma Oromo of southwestern Ethiopia, many of the assumptions and norms underlying the gender system are embodied and expressed in the various forms of folklore. Among others, myths, historical narratives, and the like play a vital role in propagating, validating, and maintaining the subordination and marginalization of women in every aspect of Jimma Oromo life. The article examines in particular two types of oral narrative, the 'seenaa', or historical narratives, and the 'oduu durii', or humorous tales. Following D. Novitz (1997), it argues that it is in stories that 'we assert and maintain our own interests not just by advancing a particular view of ourselves, but by undermining the views that others advance of themselves'. The stories people tell about their lives and those of others are, thus, of considerable importance, for there is an intimate connection between the ways in which people construe themselves and others, and the ways in which they are likely to behave. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]